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Singapore: Destination Guides - Must read

Why study in Singapore?

Why should you study abroad in Singapore? Discover why the nation is such a popular study abroad destination

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A communications and technology powerhouse, Singapore is a global city-state whose dynamism leaves nothing to be desired. A keen choice for expats, workers and international students, metropolitan life in Singapore is at once cosmopolitan, fast-paced and diverse, with virtually endless opportunities for students to build strong international networks and grow professionally. But why exactly should you study in Singapore? Read our overview of some of the nation’s key selling points to find out.

Graduate prospects  

Affectionately dubbed one of the four ‘Asian Tiger’ economies, Singapore excels for its strong economy. The Port of Singapore is one of the world’s busiest, with key industrial focus on electronics, trade, technology, banking and finance. Coming off a recent period of sharp growth, Singapore’s GDP has nearly doubled from 2000-2010, and was recently named the world’s third most competitive city behind New York and London. Known for its political stability, in 2014 Singapore was named to have the highest quality of living in Asia, ranking 25th worldwide.

With a burgeoning media sector, strong trading ties, booming electronics industry and a cool unemployment rate of just 2.10% in the first quarter of 2014, career prospects in Singapore are bright. There is strong demand for international talent and skilled graduates across a number of key sectors, with many companies beginning the scouting process before even before you’re set to graduate. It’s common fare for companies to offer scholarship or funding schemes where students are obliged to work for them for a set amount of time after completing their studies. This is called a ‘bond’ agreement, and as well as financing your studies can act as a terrific launching pad for graduates just setting out.

Food

Often called a ‘nation of foodies’, Singapore is famed for its rich and dynamic food culture. In fact, greeting each other  with ‘have you eaten?’ (‘sudah makan?’) takes the place of ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’ between locals. For most, the best and snappiest way to enjoy a meal is via one of the city’s many Hawker centres, a kind of enclosed marketplace hosting rows and rows of different food stalls. These stalls are nothing like what you’d find in a food court in the UK or the US: they’re each equipped with a tiny kitchen, where your food will be made to order right in front of you. And, above all, food you’ll find here is generally quite cheap.

Influenced by spades of different cultures from the Middle East to Japan to the West, food in Singapore is ever-inventive and often wrought from different fusions of tastes, flavours and ingredients. Try Char kway teo- flat rice noodles stir-fried with lard, soy sauce, chilli, Chinese sausage, cockles, prawns and egg- or munch on a chilli crab, a national favourite and popular dish amongst visitors.

Cultural melting pot

It’s not just in the kitchen where Singapore’s international influences shine. Hailed as a leading global city, almost one third of the nation’s workforce is made up of foreigners, making it second only to Dubai in proportion of expat workers.  A central hub for global trade, flows of people, ideas and capital, Singapore houses a number of multinational offices that not only offer a range of employment and professional development opportunities, but create a unique, hybridised ‘east-meets-west’ cultural melting pot. Global giants Shell Eastern Trading, BP and Wilmar International are just a few of the nation’s international offices. Against many different ethnic groups settled in the city, living, studying or working in Singapore is truly an internationalised experience.

With four official languages, English is also spoken and understood by 75% of the population, and is the official language used in education. For a real cross-section of Singapore’s diversity, head through the city’s several, distinctly ethnic neighbourhoods such as ‘Little India,’ ‘Chinatown’ or ‘Kampong Glam’ to get a first-hand taste of the different traditions that underpin the city’s modern façade.

Research and innovation

A beacon of modernity, Singapore is also a hot-bed of technological and IT invention and innovation. A whopping 40% of total global output of hard disk media comes from Singapore, whilst the electronics sector contributed 5.2% of the nation’s GDP in 2012. Responsible for the USB stick, online dating phenomenon Match.com and capsule mini-speakers, Singapore has been named the most innovative city throughout the entire Asia Pacific region. In 2013, Singapore ranked 8th in the INSEAD Global Innovation Index, and 5th in the IMD’s World Competitiveness Rankings.

Research status of the nation’s universities are also on the rise, with Nangyang Technological University recently ranking 5th in Times Higher Education’s top 100 universities under 50 years old. The nation’s highest-ranking institution, the National University of Singapore (25th) hosts three of Singapore’s five Research Centres of Excellence, specialising in quantum technologies, cancer and mechanobiology. With all these resources at your fingertips, your potential to grow, create and realise your ideas as a student in Singapore are virtually endless.

 

Ready to discover Singapore for yourself? Browse courses in Singapore now and unlock your potential!

 

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About Author

Singapore architecture

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.