I’ve been back from Southeast Asia for almost a month now – time to review my experiences during my semester abroad. I can already say one thing: my decision to do my semester abroad in Singapore was definitely the right one. The semester abroad in Singapore will probably remain unforgettable and was a great experience that I warmly recommend to everyone.
Singapore is a gigantic city and has a lot to offer. First there are all the sights: China Town, Little India, Arab Street, Singapore Zoo, Sentosa, Clarke Quay, Raffles Place, Botanic Gardens, Gardens by the Bay, Orchard Road, Merlion and of course the Marina Bay Sands. There is definitely something for everyone and you can quickly find favorite places. What is immediately noticeable is that Singapore is incredibly green. There are many parks and huge, tall trees in the middle of the city. In the reservoirs you can also explore the rainforest and with luck you will catch a few monkeys. You definitely won’t get bored in this city. The city is also incredibly clean and safe, which of course is also due to the prohibitions and video surveillance.
Many different cultures live together in Singapore. In addition to the Chinese and Indians, there are also many Malays, but also some Westerners. In addition to Mandarin, Tamil and Malay, English is also an official language. So you don’t have to learn a new language to study in Singapore – everything is in English here. Sometimes the Singapore accent, which is also called Singlish, is not always understood that well, but basically the language is not a problem at all. What is particularly great about the coexistence of cultures is the variety of food in Singapore. In the food courts there is simply everything: from Chinese, to Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, Korean… You never get bored and you can always try new things. Absolute favorite: Indian prata – you should try it!
Since Singapore is not only a city but also a city-state, the distances are relatively long. In the city center you can reach all sights relatively easily on foot, but you have to get there first. If you live near the university you have to plan 45 minutes to reach the city center. The MRT network is well developed and the trains come frequently. There are also many bus routes. However, the buses do not have a fixed schedule, but always come every 10-20 minutes. At midnight, however, public transport is over and you have to use taxis. This is absolutely normal in Singapore and not as expensive as in Germany.
Basically, I can only recommend Singapore as a city to live in – unbelievably great city!
In addition to the high tuition fees at JCU Singapore, the cost of living is also relatively expensive. When living, you have to expect to share the room with someone and still pay 500 euros. In addition, groceries and cosmetics are very expensive in the supermarket. Partying isn’t exactly cheap either. If you want to drink a beer in a club or a bar, you definitely pay $ 12 and the entrance fees to clubs are sometimes very expensive.
The whole thing can be avoided, however, if you buy drinks in 7/11 instead of in the club and have yourself put on the club’s guest lists (easily via Facebook). Then you can get to the clubs without paying admission. And for the girls there is the Ladies’ Night every Wednesday with free entry and free drinks in many clubs.
But not everything is expensive either. Clothing and cinema, for example, are about as expensive as in Germany and eating in the food courts is definitely cheaper than eating out in Germany.
As I just said, it is not uncommon to share a room with someone. For me it turned out that this is not a problem at all and that you can come to terms with it. The university can help you find accommodation. It is actually easiest to search from Singapore itself, as you can then quickly take a look at the accommodations. Sometimes it is also offered to stay with families. I did that with two other students and can recommend it without reservation. We had all the freedom we wanted and had really great accommodation for not that much money and even only 5 minutes away from the university.
If you decide to spend a semester abroad at JCU, you can choose from many different courses. Not only do you have to choose all courses from one area, you can also choose, for example, two business and two psychology courses (of course it depends on what your home university prescribes).
The level at the JCU is definitely lower than in Germany – so it is definitely feasible for German students and it should be very difficult to fail anywhere. However, it is not always easy to get good grades because the lecturers have high standards despite the low level. I myself have almost only taken introductory business courses, where it wasn’t that difficult to get good grades. But I’ve also heard from fellow students that this is difficult in many subjects. So it all depends on the subject and the lecturers. In addition, the course is more complex than you might be used to in Germany. Many assignments (sometimes two per subject), group work and presentations, midterms and final exams are on the program. Since my home university does not credit grades, which the whole thing is not so bad for me, because I just had to pass the courses and therefore did not invest so much time in the various assignments etc. However, if you want good grades, the whole thing is a bit more complex.
- Learn more information about Singapore and Asia on ezinesports.
I thought the atmosphere at the university was pretty good. The university is very small and you always meet people you know. There are many different clubs to join if you want. The university staff also go to great lengths to help where they can. There are also Orientation Days before the beginning of the semester, during which everything is explained and you also get to know other students. The lecturers usually know you and maintain a nice relationship with the students. Sometimes information from the university came a little late or lecturers constantly changed the schedule, but in the end this is only a minor point of criticism.
If you’ve been flying this far and doing a semester abroad in Singapore, you have to take the chance and explore other countries as well. Singapore is the perfect starting point for this. There are many low cost airlines flying from Singapore to all sorts of places in Southeast Asia. You can also easily take the bus to Malaysia for little money. So the weekend trips can come!
All in all, I can only recommend a semester abroad at JCU. The tuition fees are high and so are the cost of living in Singapore, but in the end it was all worth it!