The basics
Singapore: Applying to University - Must read

Understanding Singaporeans

Before you embark on your studies in Singapore, it’s essential that you understand Singaporeans as you’ll be living with them for quite a long duration. In that case, you won’t get too much of a culture shock and you’ll be well-prepared!

Fact 1: Singaporeans are typically known for being ‘cheap’

It’s not necessarily a bad thing! In fact, as a student, being cheap is probably the best way forward. Every time there’s a bargain or free gifts, you’ll find a long queue of people waiting although some may not even know what they’re queuing for! All they know is – there’s free stuff to take! So why not!

Fact 2: Singaporeans make you feel uncomfortable on public transport

Singaporeans are quite an impatient lot. They often stand right in front of the train doors to rush in for a seat. They hardly give way to people and sometimes resort to shoving others. Don’t be too surprised if you see people putting their shopping bags on seats next to them. It’s common, so if you really want one, just ask the person to remove his things...nicely.

Fact 3: Singapore’s a brand conscious society

Look around and you’ll notice that nearly everyone has a designer bag. Everyone! It’s easy to feel a little out of place if you haven’t got one, especially if you’re a cash strapped student. While image is important and Singaporeans don’t like the idea of ‘losing out or face’ to their friends, just keep true to yourself. Spending your allowances on a branded bag to fit in is a bad idea if you’re going to go hungry for the next 2 months!

Fact 4: Singaporeans are stressed...period!

Singapore is one of the most advanced countries in Asia and that wouldn’t have been possible if its manpower wasn’t hardworking and ambitious. You can expect to find yourself in very stressful and pressured environments. You’ll see other students competing with each other; both academically and physically in sports. Don’t feel intimidated. Work hard, get help from friends and always remember to take a break when it gets stressful.

At the end of the day, you’re there to study and Singapore is a great place to pursue your education. These may just be common stereotypes, but, there are also a lot of positives to this forward-moving nation.


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An aspiring journalist with a passion for investigative journalistic work. Also a self-declared masterchef.

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