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. With such a large diversity of ethnic communities, common languages include: English, Malay, Mandarin, Singlish, and Tamil. 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.
Depending on your home country, Singapore may have a multitude of cultural norms and practices that may differ from your own. We recommend reading local websites and blogs to learn more before you arrive.
Orientation is the official start to your Yale-NUS College education and is a mandatory two-week long program that includes a three-day excursion to another country. 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.
Orientation includes several events for families and parents scheduled between 29-30 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.
We encourage families to come for Family Weekend scheduled from 13-15 October 2017. 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.
We do not sponsor families members of students for a Singapore visa. However, we will provide an invitation letter to Family Orientation for families, in case this might help them in their visa application process. Please contact email@example.com to request for an invitation letter.
International students can move in anytime between 29-30 July (during office hours preferred). Singapore residents can move in on 29-30 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.
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. Sign-ups for the free Yale-NUS airport shuttle service will be done through the First Year Forum.
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. Depending on time, your taxi ride can cost between S$30-50.
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. A potential public transit route would be to take the East-West line to ‘Buona Vista’ and then the 196 bus to ‘aft Dover Rd.’ Campus is right along this bus route.
You will find a Yale-NUS representative at the Oculus.
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
• Certain cosmetic items can be more expensive here compared to your home country
• 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
• Illegal items include: large amounts of chewing gum, chewing tobacco, anything of pistol or revolver shape, firecrackers, controlled drugs, among others. Find more information here.
• 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.
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: a pre-paid top-up sim card plan or a monthly phone plan. The four telecomm providers are: Singtel, StarHub, Circles.Life, and M1.
The first option is a pre-paid SIM card, easily procured at the Cheers Convenience store in University Town (UTown) or other convenience stores and markets. 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. You will need your Passport to purchase a sim card if you are an international student.
If you foresee heavy phone usage, we advise you to look into a phone plan with one of the telecomm providers. Many of the plans involve a monthly payment, a 1-2 year commitment, and can include cellphone updates. Their plans are all very similar. You will need your Passport and 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.
It is very common to use a top-up plan as many students only use data and a smartphone app called WhatsApp to text each other. However, please use the option most suited to your mobile needs.
More information will be communicated in mid-July about options to purchase sim cards on campus.
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.
Most of the international banks have branches in Singapore and some of them have ATMs on campus. We advise you check with your home bank to see if you can use their services here. Some banks will also allow you to open up an international account prior to arriving in Singapore.
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, OCBC, 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. For many of these banks, they will require your Student Pass, Passport, and a Yale-NUS proof of residence letter in order to open an account.
To get your Yale-NUS proof of residence letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 (butteries), 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. You are also able to use the public facilities at NUS with a NUS matriculation card, such as: the UTown pool, recreation centre, food courts (FoodClique and Koufu among others), library, and museum.
Students can mail packages addressed to themselves at their Residential College Office:
Saga: 10 College Ave West, #01-101, Singapore 138609
Elm: 12 College Ave West, #01-201, Singapore 138610
Cendana: 28 College Ave West (RC3), #01-501, Singapore 138533
You will receive an email if you have a package waiting for you.
There are multiple single stall (not gender specific) restrooms throughout campus. These include:
We have designed the meal plan to accommodate a variety of palates and dietary restrictions. Please let the Dean of Students office know if you have any serious dietary restrictions and we will do our best to assist.
The dining halls are halal-certified and the Saga buttery is halal-friendly.
All of your rooms are enabled with wired internet and there is wireless throughout the campus. You will have to purchase your own LAN cable. Wireless connection is available in the residential lounge, in your classrooms and across campus.
Along with the Yale-NUS campus, the wireless connection includes the NUS campus as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.