Tropical Futures Institute (TFI) - JCU Singapore 2

Study at James Cook University Singapore (10)

For a long time it was clear to me that I wanted to do a semester abroad as part of my studies, but I decided on Singapore very spontaneously. MicroEDU was recommended to me by my university’s Study Abroad Office and was a great help throughout the application process.

Why James Cook University Singapore Campus?

Since I am very interested in cultures and the Asian culture differs most clearly from the European one, it was clear to me that I would like to study a semester in Asia. I was fascinated by the fact that in Singapore it is seemingly possible to reconcile different cultures. Singapore has the advantage of being a mix of Eastern and Western standards. Another reason was that English is the official language in Singapore. This was important for me, because on the one hand I wanted to make sure that I really understand the material and can communicate and on the other hand I wanted to improve my English.

During the introductory week, all new students had to come to the university to sign the contract again. This was unorganized, so I had to wait 4 hours before it was my turn. That was annoying, but you could already make friends with “fellow sufferers”. Afterwards immigration formalities were clarified, which was already faster and then older students showed us the campus and then there was a buffet for everyone. During the week, James Cook University also donated us a Singapore excursion with our fellow students. A school bus took us to the main sights of Singapore (Flyer, Marina Bay, Sentosa…) This was another good opportunity to make new contacts and to find out more about the country and the university from the older students.

When I arrived at James Cook University Singapore in October 2010, the campus was just expanding and expanding. We were told it would take 2 weeks to complete, but in fact the construction took the whole trimester and when I visited again in March it didn’t look much different. The campus is very manageable (1500 students). This manageable size has advantages and disadvantages in my opinion. Personally, I didn’t like being just a “number”, campus employees knew me by name after a very short time. The care is very good. All of the staff are friendly, patient and very helpful. Unfortunately, however, they also seemed a little overwhelmed and unable to solve my problems with my student ID etc. This was mainly because that not only the lectures are taken over by James Cook University in Australia, but also that many organizational (student ID, learning platform etc.) have to be organized from Australia. Student Service was often unable to respond to problems, so unfortunately I had to wait almost a month for my ID and the access data for the lecture documents, which made it much more difficult for me to get started.

The lectures and seminars are small and good support is guaranteed. The lecturers were very competent and helpful. The lectures were very interesting and wide-ranging. In addition, JCU offers various free workshops and leisure activities (e.g. yoga, archery, football, etc.). Because the lectures are taken over and organized by the university in Australia, a very good level is guaranteed. However, most of my fellow students were not really proficient in English, so group work and presentations were a little problematic. But with the help of patience and a lot of interest in other cultures, that is not a problem either.

In Singapore, at least for business students, it is compulsory to spend 6-8 hours per day on campus. A fingerprint system has been installed for this purpose, which is used to log in and out every day. However, this system did not work when I was there and therefore the obligation did not exist.

Living in Singapore:

Space is one of the most precious commodities in Singapore, so accommodation is expensive and often not exactly comfortable. The university has an Accommodation Service and offers hostel agencies and information on finding accommodation. Since I was only in Singapore for a trimester, I decided on a hostel and booked and paid for a room on the Singapore International Campus with the university in advance. The hostel is not very good but cheap by Singapore standards and the location is very central and the area (Bukit Timah) is one of the best in Singapore. Since the end of February, the hostel has also been offering a free shuttle to the James Cook Campus. Cooking is a bit difficult in the hostel, but microwaves and refrigerators at least ensure that a small hunger is satisfied in between meals. In the immediate vicinity of the hostel there are also supermarkets, hairdressers, small snacks, copy shops, Starbucks, Mc Donald’s and even a totally overpriced German Market. Also a 7/11 and one of the hawker centers known for Singapore, where you can eat very cheaply.)J(provided you don’t let the crowd and one or the other cockroach scare you off.

Singapore is a concrete jungle and the phrase “Singapore is a fine city” really applies in every way. Sinapur is safe and clean. You don’t have to worry too much about tropical diseases like malaria or crime. There is camera surveillance everywhere and therefore even as a woman you can safely walk through the streets at night. However, you have to be able to live with many restrictions and disregarding prohibitions such as not being allowed to eat or drink in buses and MRT’s can have dire consequences for your own wallet (1000 Singapore dollar fine).
Singapore can be explored in no time and there are plenty of opportunities to party and spend money in Singapore. Singapore is rich and commercialized and on closer inspection it seemed a bit “soulless” compared to its neighbors. However, the location of Singapore is ideal as an introduction to Southeast Asia and traveling to surrounding countries, especially Malaysia and Indonesia, is cheap and uncomplicated and highly recommended.


All in all, I had a great trimester abroad in Singapore and I couldn’t have made a better choice. I also liked the university very much and learned a lot, not only in class, but also with regard to the different cultures.

James Cook University Institute of Higher Learning is also a good university with qualified and very helpful lecturers.

Tropical Futures Institute (TFI) - JCU Singapore 2

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