The best decision of my life and I would want to make it again and again!
Most people ask me, why do a semester abroad in Singapore ? In all honesty: why not? I’ve never had a particular affinity for Asia, on the contrary. I chose Singapore because it is one of the most westernized cities. But then I really got to know Asia with the help of the surrounding countries and I have to say: anyone who couldn’t really find a connection to Asian culture should think about it anyway! I completely underestimated the people and the country (or the countries I visited).
I will divide my report into sections so that everyone can quickly find their relevant part.
It was supposed to start in the German winter semester – of course to escape the European cold – and also because it was the best fit with my home university. The semester actually runs from the end of October to the end of January, so only one trimester. Perhaps one should also say that I did my master’s semester abroad. In Singapore you only need one year for the Master in Economics (i.e. MBA), consisting of 3 trimesters. A negative point here is that the JCU charges higher tuition fees for the master’s degree (approx. 7,000 euros). I can imagine the reasons behind this, but purely in terms of program, course content and organization, there is no justification for a higher amount.
The application process was a bit tedious, but also clearly structured. In retrospect, I have to say, a ridiculous amount of effort for a trimester, but it worked out well. This is also a special mention for my CC consultant Sabine Jacob, without which I would absolutely overwhelmed! Thank you for your willingness and help, Sabine! Contact your agent in good time, but only because getting the necessary documents takes a lot of time. Otherwise, the application process itself is done very quickly. And make sure you plan enough travel time and money!
The search for accommodation dragged on for a week and was not as easy as we imagined. Obstacles were price / performance, lack of (correct) contacts, perfect location, etc. I have to honestly say that if you want an apartment with rental prices that are comparable to German standards, you should be prepared to get a room with at least to share with one person and to live with an acute lack of space.
Most want to live in a condo (with a gym, swimming pool, security, facility, etc.) close to the university. The beautiful apartments were reserved or paid for very early (September) and what remained were unreasonable condo apartments. So in the end we decided on a house with studios, master rooms and single rooms, which was the right choice. I paid around 510 euros for a single room (shared rooms much cheaper, sometimes available for 250 euros), which was just big enough for a bed, a foldable wardrobe and a small table. The location was good (mall, MRT, downtown), but it took me 50 minutes to get to the JCU.
Good and helpful addresses for me were gumtree.sg and the FB Group: Find your room in SG.
James Cook University in Singapore has the reputation of its Australian founders. The JCUS even offers you an offer to study at one of their Australian campuses. But it is said that the Australian requirements are significantly higher than the Singaporean ones and that studying is more difficult.
In itself, the level was no higher than ours. But because of the many homework and presentations in the rather tight period, it was more effort overall. The university is very well organized, for example I wanted to change a course after the first week – it worked flawlessly. The exams at the end of the semester were quite easy if the course content suits you. Nevertheless, as I heard before, HD’s (top grade) are very rarely given. In the assignments I had a few, but never in the final exams, so the final grade was a D (our 2).
Make sure you take the time to travel! Because a good plus point of Singapore is the good connection to Changi Airport. Although the Asian short-haul flights are not as cheap as I expected, I still had the opportunity to see Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Bintan, Langkawi, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and the Thai Islands. And those are sure to be impressions that you won’t forget for a lifetime.
- Learn more information about Singapore and Asia on cachedhealth.
Activities and other things
The classic tourist hotspots are actually quickly spotted, but if you are in Singapore for a longer period, you will notice that there is a lot more. My absolute tip is Marina Barrage. From the dam you have a view that no other place has been able to match. The place is well known among the locals (for example for kite flying), but less so among the tourists and accordingly it is much more relaxed there. The Tree Top Walk in the Singapore jungle in the north is also recommended! Let yourself be surprised by the (real) animal world;).
Of course, going to party is a must there. Wednesdays are always ladies night, so a little cheaper for the ladies (in the entrance fee or in offers). At the weekend you pay 30 to 60 S $ entry, but you don’t always have to be like that. The travel advertised above should definitely be used to be able to import duty free alcohol, because the prices in Singapore are unfortunately very high.
But not everything is ONLY expensive. For example, those who get along well with local food can save on their food. In addition, there are always offers for students or activities on FB or on the Internet that can be done completely free of charge (including Marina Barrage and Tree Top Walk, for example, see above). Unfortunately, I would advise against Universal Studios on Sentosa. Entry cost the equivalent of 53 euros, two attractions were closed, waiting times were almost always 40-100 minutes (although in our case it wasn’t even the weekend) and prices were even more expensive than in the rest of SG. We enjoyed it, but you can only do better with Movie Park Germany in Bottrop. Save your money and time, Sentosa has better things to offer.
All the regulations and bans in the small city-state can be annoying – but they don’t. The fact that you are not allowed to litter the city takes on a role model. For me as a non-smoker, the strict smoking policy was pleasant. You can also smoke shisha in the normal way (but outrageously expensive: D) in Arab Street, for example. And that people queue up to get on the subway and stand on the left on the escalators without anyone stepping out of line was rather amusing for us. You get used to this order frighteningly quickly. Back in Germany, I caught myself glaring at someone when they got in my way while overtaking. Of course, some instructions are ridiculous, e.g. that you should or may cross the street when it is green, but you should not do it when it is red. But you take these and other things with humor;). In addition, Singapore’s strict policy helps to make you feel incredibly safe at any time of the day or night and anywhere.
Enjoy your time there, with a semester abroad in Singapore you will do everything right! Overall, I was able to take away so many valuable experiences that I would never want to be without.