A lecture by a JCU employee at our university in Germany gave me the spontaneous idea that I would like to spend my semester abroad in Singapore. I was so enthusiastic about the lecture that I and a friend decided to apply to this university. Since the JCU is not a partner university of our university at home, we had to take care of by ourselves. As a rule, you look for an agency that can help you with all questions and problems. This agency is then the mediator between the student and the university. In our case, we made a very good choice with MicroEDU and were able to easily handle all the paperwork – and it was really a lot and took a lot of time. By sending the documents back and forth, we finally got the approval after a few weeks.
Arrival and accommodation
The JCU offers exchange students the possibility, free of charge, for a driver to wait on arrival at the airport and bring them to the appropriate accommodation. This offer is very helpful so that you do not have to stand alone at the airport with heavy suitcases and not know where exactly you have to go. Our driver was very communicative and told us the most important things about Singapore that one should know. In addition, the JCU offers the opportunity to live in a hostel for two weeks free of charge, so that you can start looking for an apartment in Singapore. Anyone who has not yet found a room from home should definitely take this opportunity, because the living conditions in Singapore differ from German standards. It is therefore not bad to get a personal impression of the apartments.
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There are several choices for a room. Since Singapore is an island and therefore only has limited building options, these are often not particularly cheap.
From the university there is a kind of student residence where you share a room with 1-3 people, which is relatively cheap by Singapore standards. But there is no kitchen.
Other options are, for example, the state HDBs, where you have an apartment in high-rise buildings. These are often quite simply equipped.
The most expensive option is to take an apartment in a condo. These condos are equipped with a swimming pool and sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts, a fitness room, etc. For these rooms you pay from SGD 900 upwards, depending on the size. With the climatic conditions in Singapore it is very pleasant to have a pool and often you just want to jump into the water quickly to cool off.
If you are looking for a room in advance or would like to make your first viewing appointments, you can either inquire at the university or look on the Internet at sites like easyroommate.com.sg or Facebook groups like Germans-in-Singapore. From my own experience I can say that it is very helpful to have a few viewing appointments for the first few days in order to find something as quickly as possible and to settle in before the university starts.
The JCU is a private university with two different campuses in Singapore and two other locations in Australia. Since it is a private university, the tuition fees are correspondingly high with around 5000 euros per semester for a bachelor’s degree and a little more for a master’s degree. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed when I first went to university. My university at home is very modern, which cannot be said of the JCU. Over time, however, my impression has improved. Above all, you have to consider that the JCU will move to a new campus from March 2015, which is more modern.
The first week was an orientation week in which you had to fill out a lot of paperwork, but also got a lot of explanations about the process. There were also older students everywhere who were always ready to help. Due to the relatively small number of students, you have very personal contact with professors and other students who come from all over the world. I found it very good that the majority of the students were also exchange students and that you got to know a lot of different cultures. During group work, however, this could often be very exhausting, due to the fact that you had a different attitude towards punctuality and working methods.