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The universities in Singapore consistently rank among the best in Asia, attracting international students from across the world. Statistics reveal that close to 76,100 students were enrolled in programs in Singapore in the academic year of 2020-2021. The Government of Singapore also continues to place significant emphasis on the role of higher education in the development of the nation. As a result of the government’s financial investments and resources, Singapore is one of the best countries for specialized studies. However, Singapore is a nation with a considerably high cost of living.
If you are a student considering becoming a part of the city’s booming educational industry, understanding the cost of living in Singapore can be helpful. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about expenses and living costs in this island nation!
1. Why is Singapore an expensive city to live in?
Singapore has been named as the world’s most expensive city to live in 6 times in the last 7 years. Estimations have revealed that monthly living costs can go up to SGD 2560. There are several reasons why Singapore is such an expensive city. Some of these reasons include –
Scarcity of Land
One of the most significant factors contributing to the high cost of living in Singapore is the scarcity of land. With a land area of 728.3 square kilometers and a total population of nearly 5.7 million, the city holds the third rank in population density globally.
The lack of land space has resulted in very high costs of accommodation, given that land is a valued commodity. With the demand increasing and the supply being limited, the prices continue to increase at astonishing rates. This contributes to the high cost of living in Singapore.
Limited Availability of Natural Resources
Singapore has very few natural resources available. However, this island nation has the competitive advantage of being located in a strategic location on the world map. The Port of Singapore is the second busiest port in the world and is primarily responsible for the country’s sustenance through the years.
Moreover, Singapore requires 430 million gallons of water a day, of which 250 million gallons come from Indonesia and Malaysia. This contributes to the high water costs in Singapore. 95% of electricity is generated from natural gas which is also an import from these countries.
2. Accommodation costs in Singapore for students
The average tuition fee for programs in Singapore costs around SGD 20,000 per year. This may or may not include the cost of the hostel or related accommodation facilities. As an international student, you can expect to shell out SGD 400 to SGD 800 for accommodation costs as a part of your cost of living in Singapore. The amount you spend on accommodation will vary depending on the following factors –
- The number of people you are sharing the accommodation with
- The location of accommodation
- The type of accommodation
You may even opt for off-campus housing, or stay in rented accommodation. Rented accommodations can cost approximately SGD 265 per month. If you are someone who considers student housing, then Singapore has excellent student hostels. These are single and four-bedded rooms with facilities for internet, television, laundry, and meals. The price of such hostels ranges from SGD 140 to SGD 440 per month. On the other hand, opting for a privately rented flat will be the most expensive option to consider, with rent starting at a price of SGD 1000 per month.
3. Costs of travelling in Singapore
One of the benefits of travelling in Singapore is that the cost of public transport is concessional for students. This helps save a lot of money for students when calculating their cost of living in Singapore. Bus transport can cost an average of SGD 52 per month while travelling by public train can cost SGD 45 per month. Transportation fares depend on the distance you travel. If you choose to travel in the air-conditioned carriage of the metro, you can expect to pay slightly higher.
4. Cost of food in Singapore?
University hostels provide meals for students and include the costs in the overall tuition fees itself. The meals can cost around SGD 350. If you opt to eat at food courts, you can expect to shell out SGD 10 to SGD 15 per day for 3 meals a day. Supermarket and grocery shopping as well as cooking for yourself can significantly cut the amount of money you spend on food in Singapore on a monthly basis.
5. What additional expenses should you keep in mind?
Any additional expenses you may have are dependent on the kind of lifestyle you live. Adjusting your finances to have an additional SGD 100 to SGD 200 in hand can help you easily accommodate any additional cost of living in Singapore.
A great way to save money is by using your student card (issued by your university) to avail discounts at clothing stores, museums, cinemas, and restaurants. Downloading soft copies of textbooks or purchasing used books from seniors instead of brand-new textbooks is another way of cutting costs.
- Singapore is recognized for the educational infrastructure and quality of its universities. This makes it among the top locations for students across the world.
- The island nation, is one of the most expensive cities to live in owing to reasons such as scarcity of land and lack of natural resources.
- Understanding the cost of living in Singapore can help students make the right financial preparations before committing to a program.
- There are several helpful tips that help students cut the cost of living in Singapore and allow them to experience the joys of living and studying in this city!
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Q1. How much does mobile data cost in Singapore?
Answer – While this depends on packages and service providers, mobile data typically costs between SGD 30 and SGD 50 per month.
Q2. Are there discounts on healthcare services for students in Singapore?
Answer – Students can receive discounts on medicine in Singapore. A short visit to a private doctor can cost around SGD 58 for a student.
Q3. Can students work part-time in Singapore?
Answer – Yes, students do have opportunities to work part-time in Singapore. This can help them support themselves financially.