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Study in Singapore: Language & Culture

Singapore has four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Singaporeans are usually multilingual. That being said, it can be tricky for international students to communicate with locals at the beginning. Indeed, English is the official and commonly used language, but Singaporeans mostly use Singaporean English.

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Colloquially referred to as “Singlish,” it derives from British English, yet it borrows words from Chinese, Malay and some languages spoken in India. Singlish is still English after all, once you get used to the dialect, you'll be able to chat away with ease. After English, Mandarin is the second most-widely used language. This gives you the perfect opportunity to get to grips with one of the world's most important languages.

Singapore is also known for its strict laws regarding the environment. This includes littering, spitting or damaging public spaces. If you break these laws, you could face heavy fines. It's important that you familiarize yourself with these laws before you arrive in Singapore.

street in singapore

Due to its long history of cross-cultural influence, seaside ports, and immigration, Singaporean cuisine is a fascinating fusion of different tastes and ingredients. Food has become important to the national identity in Singapore. Don’t be surprised if food becomes a topic of conversation or if you’re invited to share meals with friends and acquaintances. With many cultures coming together, Singaporeans are also very sensitive to dietary restrictions. So, whether you’re vegetarian or don't eat certain foods based on your religion, you'll still be able to find a restaurant that can cater to you.

The top dishes to try while studying abroad in Singapore include Hainanese Chicken Rice, Chili Crab, Laksa, and Hokkien Prawn Mee. Char Kauy Teow, a dish made up on fried noodles with soy sauce, fish cake, and sausage, is also very common, and most importantly, delicious!

International students in Singapore often like to take trips to other nearby countries. Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand are all popular. But these countries all have their own visa requirements. Make sure you meet them before planning any adventures outside of Singapore.

Overview

Singapore is a hub of technology, science and finance in South-East Asia. This section gives you an overview of Singapore and what it's like to study there.

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Education in Singapore

Singapore offers world-class education. It even has three different types of school to help you find a program that suits you. Find out more about how education works in this section.

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Student Visas & Permits

Do you need a visa to enter Singapore to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizen status. You will also be required to bring certain documents with you to passport control at the airport, which we cover as well.

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Housing & Living Costs

Singapore can be quite expensive compared to other countries in Asia. We’ve detailed average living and housing costs, so you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in Singapore.

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Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for Singaporean programs vary based on the school as well as your nationality. Usually citizens will have a different tuition fee than non-Singaporean students. There are also scholarships available.

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Application Process

All countries have specific admissions requirements for students to enter their universities. Learn more about the ins and outs of admission to programs in Singapore, and what you need to do to apply, depending on your citizenship.

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Programs

Ready to look at education in Singapore? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in Singapore today!

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Last update: 15 Jun 2021

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