What should I know about Singapore?
Singapore is a thriving city state in Southeast Asia. It is a thriving global financial hub and described as one of Asia’s economic “tigers”. The currency of Singapore is the Singapore Dollar (SGD). Singapore has a population of over 5 million, primarily comprising Chinese, Malay, and Indian ethnic groups. Singapore ranks high on its national social policies, leading Asia and 11th globally, on the Human Development Index (UN), notably on key measures of education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, housing. Changi Airport is the international airport of Singapore and is one of the largest transportation hubs in Southeast Asia.
What is Orientation?
Orientation is the official start to your Yale-NUS College education. You will have the chance to get to meet your classmates and immerse yourself into the community and the larger campus life, and learn about the resources at Yale-NUS College. Orientation programmes will involve Rectors, Vice Rectors, Dean’s Fellows, and faculty members. Certain days will be devoted to introducing you to the resources on/off campus, while other days are devoted to social and community activities. Details, including a schedule, can be found on the Orientation website
What events and programmes are available for parents/families?
Orientation includes several events for families and parents scheduled between 21-23 July, including a welcome reception, a Q&A with faculty and staff, and opportunities to tour the Yale-NUS campus. Additional information, including the schedule, will be posted in early July. Please visit our Orientation website for more information.
Please note that our students will be very busy throughout Orientation and it is important that they have space to forge meaningful relationships with their peers and advisors. We encourage families to participate in all family and parent programming and to contact the Dean of Students office with any additional questions.
When can my family come visit me?
We encourage families to come for Family Weekend scheduled from 7-9 October 2016. It is a chance for families to experience the vibrant Yale-NUS campus and an opportunity to see students in their new community. Family Weekend includes panels with faculty, opportunities to meet residential staff, and a student student showcase.
Families are welcome to visit students at any point during the year. Please refer to the Yale-NUS academic calendar
for more information.
When do I need to arrive?
International students can move in anytime between 20-22 July (during office hours preferred). Singapore residents can move in on 22-23 July between 9AM and 4PM. Please note that first-year students are required to move in on the appropriate days. Please see the Orientation schedule
for specific move-in information.
What if I cannot move-in on my assigned day?
It is very important that you plan to arrive on your assigned move-in day, as it is not possible to arrive any earlier. Likewise, the Orientation programme is compulsory for all first-year students and we expect to see you on your assigned move-in date. If extenuating circumstances require you to arrive on a different date, please contact the Dean of Students Office
How do I get to Yale-NUS College?
The address is 16 College Avenue West, Singapore 138527.
If you are flying to Singapore, there are multiple options for transportation to the campus but it is easiest to use the taxi stand located in each terminal although the College will arrange a few shuttle buses from the airport. The campus is located within University Town at NUS. Enter University Town via Dover Road at Clementi junction, turn right and drive down College Avenue West through the barrier. Continue along College Avenue West until you see a circular fountain entrance (the Oculus) to Yale-NUS College on the left.
If you are taking public transportation, the airport is connected to the city by the train. The mass transit train (MRT) station is easily accessible from all the airport terminals. The closest MRT stations are Clementi and Dover on the East-West line. There are buses (196, 96, 183, 151) from both stations to University Town along Clementi Road.
You will find a Yale-NUS representative at the Oculus.
What should I bring?
VERY IMPORTANT: PLEASE bring all important documents including your passport (bring both if you have dual citizenship) and ensure it is valid for the next 6 months. Bring identification cards, citizenship certificates, and any other relevant documents (e.g. letters of admission, originals of education and qualification certificates, vaccine info) to facilitate the immigration process.
Some useful items: Singapore weather can be described as hot and rainy. Average day temperatures throughout the year are in the low 30 °C to high 20 °C. We recommend bringing summer clothes, but do pack a shawl or light jacket as this comes in handy at the movies, dinner or any air-conditioned areas such as the lecture halls and classrooms on campus. Do try to pack an adequate amount of clothes. Pillows and bed linen are not provided in the residence so bring a set of your favourite sheets, or you can buy a set of new ones here.
Umbrella: A must have in Singapore, keep it with you all the time because the weather here is rather fickle. It can be scorching hot one moment, and then thunderstorm the next. Not many people wear raincoats here.
Shoes: Open-toed shoes such as sandals and flip-flops are comfortable and suitable. A good pair of walking shoes will be very useful when walking around the city. Even though it rains a lot, there is no need to bring rain boots. Note: Flip flops/Shoes only go up to US size 10 (Men), 9 (Women) in most stores.
Formal Clothes: There will be several Yale-NUS functions and events throughout the year (Opening Dinner, semester celebrations, etc.), so do pack a few nice, semi-formal outfits.
You can basically find anything in Singapore so do not worry too much! However, there are items that are harder to come by or more expensive.
Expensive Items in Singapore
• Vitamins, supplements
• Hydrocortisone (anti-itch creams you are probably used to; there are ‘alternatives’ here you can try…)
• Sneakers/athletic shoes (large sizes are hard to find, size 10+)
• Special health food items
• Electronics! Amazon has started delivering some items to Singapore if you purchase anything above $125. Electronics that require a battery do not fall in that category so you may want to purchase your gadgets. However, remember to bring an adaptor.
Difficult to Find Items in Singapore
• Workout supplements (pre-workout powder, creatine, BCAAs, etc)
• Prescription drugs for the first few months
• Printed photos of family and friends for your room
• Any prescriptions: medications and glasses
Note: Prescription and over-the-counter drugs: Advil, Tylenol, Aleve, Benadryl, etc. are only available through a doctor’s prescription and some brands may be available under alternate names. Please check HSA for the current guidelines on bringing personal medications into Singapore.
What Not To Bring
• Large electronic items (e.g. TVs, microwaves)
• Appliances: The voltage in Singapore is 220 V (US is 110V) and the plugs are different. Unless your electrical equipment is ‘multi-region’ or you can switch the voltage between 110 and 220 it is best to plan on buying new when you get here.
Note: High wattage items require big and expensive converters that you can buy here if you must bring them with you. All Apple items have dual voltages and are fine.
• Large/heavy books. You’ll probably be able to find them here and shipping/carrying them back will be a pain.
• Winter clothes! However, as mentioned before, please bring a few sweaters for over air-conditioned rooms.
Please note that there are stores that students can visit to purchase essentials. There is an IKEA near campus as well as several other large stores and a mall down the road, all easily accessible by public transit or taxi.
What about a mobile/cell/handphone?
You can purchase one in Singapore. However, if you already have an unlocked cell phone, please bring it with you. As for SIM cards, you have two options. The first option is a pre-paid SIM card, easily procured at the Cheers Convenience store in University Town (UTown). You can also buy a pre-paid SIM card at many other places like 7-11 or supermarkets. The cost of one ranges from S$8 to S$10 or S$15 to S$18 for a 3G-enabled card. Some SIMs may cost more – it is S$38 for a nano SIM. This option works on a top-up basis, meaning you put more money on the card once your credit runs out.If you foresee heavy phone usage, we advise you to look into a phone plan with one of the 3 telecomm providers: Singtel, Starhub and or M1. Their plans are all very similar. You will need your Student Pass to get a cell phone plan. You can sign up with any of these companies on your own at the mall closest to campus, the Clementi Mall.
More information will be communicated in mid-July about options to purchase SIM cards on campus.
How much money do I need to bring? How can I access money before I open a bank account?
Daily meals are provided on-campus, but if you plan to occasionally eat off-campus, grab a cup of coffee, or shop – you may want between S$50-S$100 per week. Most banks allow you to use an international network of ATMs, so you may be able to withdraw funds from your current account at any of the ATMs on campus. You can also bring currency to exchange in the airport or use an international credit card at stores and restaurants. Please check with your bank regarding international transaction and ATM fees.
IMPORTANT: Please bring sufficient funds to purchase textbooks and school supplies.
How can I purchase the course textbooks?
Textbooks are available at the bookstore in University Town, Bookhaven. Many students find it more affordable to purchase their books either online or via local bookstores. Additional textbook information will be provided during Orientation.
What if I have been awarded book allowance by Yale-NUS? How do I make use of this?
The Yale-NUS Registry office will send all first-year students details about the necessary books, so you can determine which purchasing option makes the most sense to you. If you have questions about your book allowance, please contact the Financial Aid office.
Where can I purchase school and personal supplies?
There are grocery and convenience stores within walking distance of campus. There is also an IKEA within a ten-minute bus ride from Yale-NUS. Additionally, there are two malls within five-minute bus rides from campus.
Should I open a bank account in Singapore?
Most of the international banks have branches in Singapore and some of them have ATMs on campus. If you don’t already have an account with a bank that allows international ATM usage, it makes sense to get a local account. DBS
, and UOB are the biggest local banks and all have ATMs on campus. DBS has the most ATMs on campus. One perk of a local bank is NETS
, essentially a debit card which allows your ATM card to serve many other functions, including paying for all bus fares and MRT (subway) fares. Please note that you only need your IPA letter and your passport to open a bank account – so you can open your bank account before you get your student pass.
It is advisable to arrive in Singapore with enough cash for the first 1-2 weeks for any personal expenses, while you await your Student Pass.
What facilities are available on campus?
Our campus is designed to be a 24/7 residential community, with all amenities and conveniences you will need. There is a dining hall, laundry facilities, a student-run cafe, and common rooms in each of the three Residential Colleges. There is also a on-campus cafe, performing arts spaces, a gym, a comprehensive Learning Commons, and a Multi Purpose Hall. In addition, there are plenty of communal study and activity spaces. All Yale-NUS courses will be taught within the campus.
What will my room be like?
You will have a single room that comes with a bed, bedside table, desk, chair, tall shelf, wardrobe, AC and ceiling fan. Each room has a big open window and the walls are white so you will have plenty of opportunity to decorate and make it your own space. The rooms are situated within 4- or 6- person suites that overlook a sky garden. First-year students are assigned to their Residential Colleges and their suites before their arrival.
What kind of internet access is available in the residence?
There is wireless access throughout the campus. In addition, all individual rooms are equipped with a LAN port if you prefer.
I’ve heard about the hot weather. Do we have air conditioning?
Yes. Students will need to purchase air conditioning credits. More information will be shared during Orientation. Common spaces, including study areas, dining halls, and the learning commons are always air-conditioned. Estimated approximate cost for nominal usage of aircon is about S$20-30 a month.
Where can I find single stall bathrooms on campus?
There are multiple single stall (not gender specific) restrooms throughout campus. These include:
- Cendana Tower A, Floor 1
- Walk past the elevators, and make a right into the hallway. The door will be on your left.
- Saga College
- Walk to the bottom of the Saga courtyard. Make a right at the laundry room/vending machines. Make a left into the next hallway, and the stalls will be there.
- Next to Classroom 5
- HR/Admissions building all floors
- The building is located at 16 College Avenue West. To get there from Saga/Elm, exit the Elm gate towards the library, and make a left. Continue on the path until you reach the building. To get there from Cendana, walk towards the library, and either follow the stone pathway or the main path to get to the fountain. The building is on your left.
- Residential College offices
As a first-year, when do I get to select an elective course and how often do I meet with my academic advisor?
During Orientation, you will meet with your academic advisor (your Vice Rector) and your faculty advisor. Both advisors offer guidance with regards to your curricular choices. However, all first-year students are enrolled in the Yale-NUS Common Curriculum for their first semester. Students will have the option to add one elective course in the second semester of their first year. There will be many opportunities to consult with your advisors as you make that decision.
What are the students organisations like? Can I create my own?
One of the most exciting aspects of college is the opportunity to join and lead student organisations. Yale-NUS is home to over 50 different student organisations and it’s possible to pitch ideas for new groups throughout the year. Yale-NUS students are also able to join NUS student organisations and athletic teams.
How do I get around Singapore?
The best way to get around is using the public transportation system. Yale-NUS is located on several bus lines that can take you directly to many areas downtown. The 196 bus will take you to the Buona Vista MRT (subway) station while the 96 bus will take you to the Clementi MRT station. Both stations are located on the East-West line. To use the bus or subway, you can pay with cash or with an EZ-Link card. (All students will receive an EZ-Link card during Orientation). Once you set-up a bank account here, you can also enable your bank card to pay for the MRT or bus. Public transport is very inexpensive and there are several different smart phone applications you can use to monitor the bus schedules and routes.
Taxis are another popular way to get around Singapore. You can often flag a taxi down from Dover Road or summon one via text message or smart phone app to pick you up at the Yale-NUS entrance. Taxis in Singapore are less expensive than many major cities, but the fees can add up – especially if you use one at night.
You can also use transportation apps such as Uber or Grab which allow you to book taxi’s on demand but also provide the option of private cars and online payment.
What if I need a job during the semester?
Your student pass entitles you to seek part-time jobs and internships in Singapore. You can work outside the college, however the best place to work is at Yale-NUS College. The Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE)’s Student Associate Programme helps to connect you with potential work opportunities around campus; students are hired to assist with faculty research, work in administrative offices, and plan events. You will receive details from the CIPE staff later in the summer.
What about health insurance?
As a Yale-NUS student, you are enrolled in the NUS Student Undergraduate Health Scheme. The insurance plan includes general outpatient care at the NUS University Health Centre (UHC) and specialist and inpatient care at public hospitals throughout Singapore.
For emergency situations, students are typically taken to National University Hospital (NUH). When travelling outside of Singapore, students are covered on a reimbursement basis for accidental medical issues. When travelling on a Yale-NUS programme, students are provided with additional travel and liability insurance.
Singapore has a world renowned healthcare system and offers high quality medical care. To learn more about the health insurance scheme, please review the details online.
On-campus, students have access to several dedicated mental health professionals, free of charge. Please visit our Wellness site for more information.