Navigate Up
Sign In
Travel Resources
Approx. Time Difference
Apr - Oct: +15 hrs
Nov - Mar: +16 hrs
Science & Engineering Internship, Agency for Science, Technology & Research

- Summer

This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network

Local UCEAP Support

Campus EAP Office

The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.

UCEAP Systemwide Office

The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Specialists advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).

Contact Information

Program Advisor
Ann Rotlisberger
Phone: (805) 893-2831; E-mail:
Operations Specialist
May Pothongsunun
Phone: (805) 893-6152; E-mail:
Academic Specialist
Eva Bilandzia
Phone: (805) 893-2598; E-mail:
Student Finance Accountant
Annie Sikora
Phone: (805) 893-5928; E-mail:
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583

UCEAP Online

Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP Singapore page.

Study Center Abroad

Programs are managed by a UCEAP Administrative Coordinator and a National University of Singapore (NUS) faculty member serving as the UCEAP Liaison Officer. They will advise you on academic matters, coordinate cultural activities, assist with program logistics, and provide support for personal matters.
Prof. Albert Teo, Liaison Officer
Ms. Daisy Ling, Administrative Coordinator
EAP Singapore Study Center
National University of Singapore
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011 65) 6774-2109
Phone (calling from Singapore): 6774-2109

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code . . . . . . . . . . .011   (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Singapore code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

Approximate Time Difference

April–October: Add 15 hours
November–March: Add 16 hours
Academic Information
Program Overview
During this 8-week summer program, you will participate in a full-time research internship and earn 10 UC quarter units of internship credit. You will be responsible for following all policies, procedures, and requirements set forth by A*STAR in addition to UCEAP policies.
You may choose either the P/NP or letter grade option for your internship.
You will receive information on MyEAP course registration after arrival.
Grade submission varies depending on your A*STAR internship provider. 
For additional information, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Academic Culture
Course Information
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
Get acquainted with Singapore and its culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as
Lonely Planet are excellent resources.
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. You will also need to understand the local culture and history.


Like MapQuest for Singapore except that it will tell you how to get to different places using public transport and how long it will take. Especially useful if you are concerned about where to go upon arriving in Singapore; you can look up your dorms within the university.
Site set up for tourists by the Singapore tourism board. It has all the attractions and dining in Singapore and allows you to arrange them into a handy itinerary and gives a great description of each place. Great for people who have not purchased a guidebook for Singapore as it gives you most of the same info for free online.
Social Conduct
In Singaporean society, public good may take precedence over personal rights. You must take Singaporean laws and regulations seriously. The following are examples of Singapore laws. Singapore, Portland: Graphic Arts Center Pub Co., 1996.

Illegal Substances

Do not engage in drug use, possession, or trafficking. Drug-related offenses have serious penalties throughout Southeast Asia. Unauthorized consumption of any quantity of drugs can result in imprisonment and/or a fine. Evidence of trafficking is punishable by death. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor UCEAP will be able to help if you are arrested.


Smoking is prohibited in public buses, taxis, elevators, theaters, cinemas, government offices, air-conditioned restaurants, shopping centers, and universities. Offenders may be fined.

Chewing Gum

There has been some misconception of the restriction on chewing gum in Singapore. The biggest myth is that chewing gum is illegal. While you can chew gum, it is not for sale in Singapore. Local law forbids the sale, import, and manufacture of chewing gum. Do not bring large quantities of chewing gum into Singapore or you may be mistaken as a seller.
"If you do chew gum, do not spit it on the ground. There are huge penalties for spitting." - UCEAP Student 


Singapore’s clean and green image is the result of decades of public education campaigns and strict laws against litter. Littering of any kind is subject to a fine.


The Vandalism Act criminalizes any damage to public and private property (e.g., stealing, destroying or damaging public property,etc.).

Media Censorship

Though the regulations are slowly loosening, there are still some forms of media censorship. Do not take materials with violent or sexual themes into Singapore.
Cultural Differences
 "Remember to be open, tolerant, and respectful of other cultures and you will have the time of your life!" - UCEAP Student
The external Western appearance of Singapore contradicts the deep cultural influences that exist at the core of the country’s cultural mores and expectations. Singapore’s cultural diversity combines at least three ancient cultures: Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Important distinctions exist within each of these cultures and religious practices.
 "It’s amazing how and why the layered culture of Singapore works." - UCEAP Student
Common cultural distinctions include the following:
  • Singaporeans tend to have strong loyalties to their country companies, and any associated groups.
  • Public displays of affection are uncommon and may make others uneasy. Aside from shaking hands, people of the opposite sex generally do not touch. However, it may be common to see friends of the same sex walking arm in arm.
  • Do not use your forefinger to point or signal someone. This will be considered an insult.


The four official languages of Singapore are Mandarin, Malay, Tamil, and English. English use is widespread and considered the language that unites the various ethnic groups. English spoken by locals may have unique accents or syntax that can lead to misunderstandings.
Singlish is a local dialect derived from clipped forms of English mixed with Chinese, Indian, and Malay. Previous participants mention that it can take some time to adjust to Singlish. Refer to A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English.


Local Friendships

Many previous participants had the first impression that local students are shy and distant. It is uncommon in local culture to greet strangers; therefore, taking the first step to get to know someone is difficult.
In order to socially, academically, and culturally integrate into the local student population, you must pursue local friendships and participate in student activities. While it may take some time and effort, UCEAP students have been treated with great hospitality and made lifelong friendships.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation

Official UCEAP Start Date

Pre-Program Travel

Do not plan to travel outside of the U.S. after finals at UC and before the program begins. Each year, the host universities send acceptance letters and visa documents on different dates, sometimes only a short time before the program’s Official Start Date. You need to be in the U.S. to receive the materials. 
The dates of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges incurred for independent travel arrangements.
In order to keep informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes to your contact information.
Failure to arrive before the Official Start Date is cause for dismissal from the program (Student Agreement, Section 10). More detailed arrival information and directions to the check-in point are provided in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist online.

On-site Orientation

At the beginning of your program, you will attend an orientation that covers information related to the host institution as well as UCEAP. Participation in all orientation sessions is mandatory.
The following topics are covered:
  • academic affairs, including MyEAP course registration
  • banking
  • transportation
  • medical care
  • safety
  • social activities
Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
There is no group flight to Singapore. You must make your own travel arrangements to Singapore. Even if you are on full financial aid, you are responsible for reserving and purchasing your ticket. You are strongly urged to purchase a changeable roundtrip airline ticket (standby tickets are not appropriate). Your Financial Aid Office will not purchase tickets for you. You are responsible for arriving in Singapore before the Official Start Date. Review the program calendar located on your Participants program page for the Official Start Date.
Additional arrival information is provided in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.

Financial Aid Students

Your financial aid package is based partly on the UCEAP Student Budget for the program. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student fare to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Student Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Travel Documents
Additional information about passports and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.

​Passport & Work Holiday Pass

To enter Singapore, a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of your intended stay is required.
Students participating in the A*STAR internship program must apply for a Work Holiday Pass. Like a work visa, the Work Holiday Pass will allow you to reside in Singapore for the purpose of completing an internship. The Work Holiday Pass is issued by the Ministry of Manpower.

Special Travel Notifications

If you are not a U.S. citizen, special travel restrictions or entry requirements may affect you. Contact the Singapore Consulate-General in San Francisco for details.
Male Singapore citizens and permanent residents are liable for compulsory military service. If you hold dual U.S. and Singapore citizenship you are also subject to this law. If this situation applies to you, research this further with the Singapore Consulate-General in San Francisco and the Singapore Ministry of Defense.

U.S. Travel Registration

As soon as you know your flight plans prior to departure, register online with the U.S. Department of State. Registration is free and allows for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to be a source of assistance and information in case of difficulty or an emergency while traveling abroad.


It is easier to replace lost or stolen documents when you have photocopies. Photocopy all important documents in duplicate, including passport photo pages, visa pages, vaccination certificates, travelers checks receipts, airline tickets, student ID, birth certificate, credit cards (front and back), etc., then leave a copy at home with a parent or guardian and pack a set in various pieces of luggage. Spending a few moments copying documents now will save you time if you lose important documents in Singapore.

AB540 Students

AB540 students should consult an immigration attorney to evaluate the risks of potentially being unable to re-enter the United States and any impact that participation in UCEAP might have on any deferred action applications.
Packing Tips
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
Singapore is well developed in terms of the availability of consumer goods. Therefore, limit your baggage to a reasonable amount. You are also advised to identify each item of luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination.


  • A casual and easy-to-care-for wardrobe
  • Flip-flops and comfortable walking shoes
  • One formal outfit for dinners and special events
  • Swimsuit, sunglasses, and sunscreen
  • Personal care and hygiene products, e.g., deodorant (especially if you have preferred brands)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Vitamins and medications (see the Health chapter for more information)


  • Bed linens and towels
  • Camera
  • Unlocked cell phone
  • Laptop
  • Converter and plug adapters
  • Gifts for foreign hosts and new friends (ex. Frisbees, T-shirts, UC pens or decals, California nuts or scenic calendars)
  • Pictures of home, family, and friends
  • Small backpack or travel bag

Do Not Pack

  • Cigarette and pocket lighters
  • Controlled drugs and substances
  • Endangered species of wildlife and their byproducts
  • Firecrackers
  • Obscene articles and publications
  • Reproductions of copyrighted publications, videotapes, DVDs, CDs, or cassettes
  • Toy coins and currency notes

Climate and Dress

Singapore’s climate includes uniformly warm temperatures, humidity, and abundant rainfall due to the maritime exposure of the island and its close proximity to the equator. Most buildings are air-conditioned, so you may need to dress for both the warm weather and chilly air-conditioned buildings.
Despite the hot and humid conditions, Singaporeans dress conservatively. Avoid excessively revealing clothing. Sleeveless and backless tops with low necklines or clothing with vulgar words and pictures are unacceptable.

Electrical Items

The electrical current in Singapore is 230V/50Hz; therefore, American electrical items running on 120V/60Hz will not work without a converter.
Insurance for Personal Posessions
The UCEAP Insurance Plan includes limited personal property coverage. Review the plan carefully before departure. Determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions. Talk to your parents, they may already have insurance coverage for personal possessions. Find out if their insurance will cover your items while in transit and while abroad, and also inquire about deductibles.
You may decide to purchase additional coverage, especially for high-value electronics (e.g., computer, tablets, camera, etc.). If you decide to do so, purchase supplemental coverage before departure because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. You can safeguard your belongings from damage or theft by locking your room and securing money, travelers checks, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
Return Transportation
If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase a ticket that allows changes to the return date.
The estimated airfare amount in the UCEAP Student Budget is based on the cost of a changeable round-trip student ticket.
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.

Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad:
  • Contact information for finance questions
  • How to estimate the cost of your program
  • Budget instructions and information
  • How to and who can make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information
  • Banking before and after arrival
  • Fees and penalties
  • Loan information
  • How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
  • Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Student Budget Payment Voucher located on the second page of your UCEAP Student Budget. Program fees are subject to change.
Carefully review your UCEAP Student Budget.
Your UCEAP Student Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Student Budget frequently. The Payment vouchers are on the second page of the UCEAP Student Budget.


  • Download and print your UCEAP Student Budget and Payment Vouchers.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Vouchers.
  • Give the UCEAP Student Budget and Payment Vouchers to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.
Handling Money Abroad
Before departure, exchange U.S. $300 into Singaporean dollars. This will give you an opportunity to become familiar with the currency. In addition, the funds will be useful for transportation and other purchases immediately after arrival. You can arrange to purchase foreign currency through your local U.S. bank, although the process may take a week or more. You can also easily exchange money upon arrival at Changi Airport.
After orientation, you will learn where to obtain good exchange rates and you can begin using nearby banks and money changing facilities. Take enough cash or travelers checks to cover your initial expenses while you decide where to open an account.

ATM Card

Students often use their ATM card and PIN from a U.S. bank to withdraw money in Singapore. ATMs are available in banks, MRT stations, shopping centers, and other locations throughout Singapore.
Check with your bank prior to departure regarding service charges and networks; the Cirrus or Plus networks are the most common. Charles Schwab account holders can withdraw money from international ATMs and be reimbursed for fees incurred. However, there may be a minimum balance requirement.

Credit Cards

It is a good idea to take a credit card abroad. Major international credit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted. Credit cards can be used at most hotels, restaurants, and department stores, as well as for cash advances. Check with your bank and credit card providers to determine fees and services that will be available to you abroad.

Transfer of Funds

Most students also use ATM cards to transfer money. However, travelers checks and telegraphic transfers are other secure options. You may process funds using international bank drafts made out in Singaporean dollars. These can be credited to accounts and withdrawn in several days. UCEAP discourages using personal checks to transfer money.

Banking Facilities

Many banks in Singapore offer a wide range of services. Examples include the Development Bank of Singapore, a Post Office Savings Bank, Overseas Union Bank Ltd., and United Overseas Bank Ltd. Each bank has their own account policies (ex.minimum balance).
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
Computer access for A*STAR students will depend on where you decide to live. Internet cafés that charge an hourly rate are available in Singapore, but are geared more towards tourists.
Dial 100 for 24/7 English directory and operator assistance.
In Singapore almost everyone has a cell phone, also known as a hand phone. You can purchase a cell phone after arrival or bring your unlocked cell phone to use with a local SIM card. SIM cards for use in Singapore are sold at the Changi Airport.
Pay phones are widely available. Phone cards can be purchased in multiple denominations and are sold at post offices, the co-op store on campus, convenience stores, newsstands, and other authorized agencies. If you live on the NUS campus, you can request private phone service in your room after you register.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the technology for transmitting voice conversations via the Internet, is popular with students who take a laptop abroad. Students and travelers of all kinds use social networking software such as Skype to make free or low-cost calls over the Internet.
"Bug your friends and family members to get a free Internet calling service. Then you can hear their beautiful, wonderful voices from the other side of the globe." - UCEAP Student
Mail & Shipments
The Chinese system of putting family (last) names first when addressing mail is standard practice. All mail that is addressed to you should read “[Last name], [First name]” or have your last name underlined. In the past, the mail sorters have not known which box to put mail into, resulting in mail being returned to the senders.
Housing & Meals
A*STAR internships are offered at various locations throughout Singapore. You can start researching housing options as soon as you are informed of your internship location.
Students are responsible for making their own housing arrangements and rent payments to management.
You can find additional information in the UCEAP online Pre-Departure Checklist.
"Live at a student hostel for affordable rent and to meet international students from all over the world!" - UCEAP Student
Tipping is not a customary practice; it is superseded by a 10 percent service charge and a 7 percent Goods and Services Tax (GST) at restaurants and hotels that is included in the bill.
Singapore is a culinary heaven and is considered the food capital of Asia. Tasty Chinese, Indian, Malay, Indonesian, and Western foods are sold from the many street stalls at reasonable prices. Singapore is also home to many fine, expensive restaurants as well as many American fast-food restaurants.
“The variety of Southeast Asian cuisines was excellent. I had the pleasure of trying many foods that I had never encountered before." - UCEAP Student
A normal meal in a “hawker center” (food stall on the street) costs about as much as a snack in the U.S. You can try out many varieties of food, such as prata and laksa, as well as other varieties that cannot be found anywhere else.
"Once you get used to the food, you’ll realize how delicious most of the food in Singapore actually is. I know I’m definitely gonna be missing this all when I go back home." - UCEAP Student

Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
An efficient public transportation network of taxis, buses, and the modern mass transit system ensures that getting around is hassle-free and affordable.
UCEAP students recommend obtaining an Ez-Link transportation card upon arrival in Singapore. It can be used to pay for buses, the MRT, and some taxis.


SBS Transit manages most of the bus services in Singapore. Bus fares will range based on distance and type. You will need exact change or an Ez-Link transportation card.


The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a modern, air-conditioned passenger train service with stations all over the island. This MRT system is one of the most modern in the world.
There are multiple lines that operate at regular intervals daily. The train system extends north-south and east-west with trains every two to eight minutes daily (5:30 a.m.–12:30 a.m.). You can purchase an Ez-Link transportation card at MRT stations and reload your card at TransitLink machines in every station.
Visit the SMRT website for additional information.


Taxis are available everywhere in Singapore and can be flagged down 24 hours a day on most roads. Major shopping centers and hotels have well marked taxi stands. All taxis are metered with a basic fee, but there may be surcharges for certain circumstances (e.g., late-night rides).
"You basically will be using a lot of public transportation while here, but it’s good and cheap! MRT and the buses. The card is called the EZ-Link card and you can get it at the MRT station." - UCEAP Student
Extracurricular Activities

Get Involved

Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while abroad is an excellent way to meet people and integrate more fully into the community. Join sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations; attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles; and get the most out of your time abroad!

Community Projects

The National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre organizes and recruits volunteers for community projects. The UCEAP Liaison Officer is also actively involved with several local volunteer projects and can provide you with additional information.

Local Attractions

Singapore has many local attractions worth exploring, including world- renowned botanical gardens and several ethnic neighborhoods.


Singapore celebrates a number of festivals and events throughout the year. Festivals are a wonderful opportunity to experience the Chinese, Hindu, and Muslim cultures that come together in Singapore. Most celebrations are based on a lunar calendar, so the dates vary. For a current calendar of events, refer to the Singapore Tourism Board website.

Performing Arts

Esplanade hosts a variety of performing arts events. Jazz enthusiasts should also look into the monthly jazz concerts at Chijmes, which are usually held every third Sunday of the month. For those hoping to be directly involved in a music activity, the University Symphony accepts qualified students.
"Pay attention to the festivals held near the Singapore River. I attended the Buskers’ Festival, which had street performers from all over the world. Just before I left, I also got to see the annual duck race, which had 10,000 rubber ducks float in the river. It was quite a sight." - UCEAP Student

Sports & Outdoor Activities

Singaporeans are active in sports. Swimming and water sport activities are easily accessible along the beaches. There are several parks and nature reserves, such as Bukit Timah, that are optimal locations for hiking and mountain biking. 
Students with Disabilities
The Disabled People’s Association of Singapore is a nonprofit organization that coordinates services, promotes awareness, and publishes useful information about disability accommodations.
Disabled People’s Association of Singapore
#04-77 German Centre
25 International Business Park
Singapore 609916
Phone: (65) 6899-1220
Fax: (65) 6899-1232
The National Council of Social Services sponsors the Disability Portal, a comprehensive resource for persons with disabilities and service providers.
For more information, refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Students with Disabilities chapter.
Travel Sign-out Form
When you leave your host city for more than 24 hours, you must complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account. Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP officials to know where to reach you promptly.
The UCEAP student budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
It is relatively easy and inexpensive to travel from Singapore to other destinations in Southeast Asia. Previous participants have found the following travel books to be particularly useful: Lonely Planet Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei; Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring; The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia; and To Asia with Love: A Connoisseurs’ Guide to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad. Refer to the UCEAP Student Travel Policy.
"Southeast Asia has a lot of cool things such as jungles, monkeys, temples, and floating markets. But, there’s also civil unrest, typhoons, illegal sex slavery, and military coups. Be a responsible  and safe traveler and check the travel alerts on the U.S. Department of State website often." - UCEAP Student 
LGBTIQ Students
Singapore remains conservative regarding LGBT rights. Social acceptance of homosexuality varies, with the majority of the population opposed to decriminalization of anti-gay laws. The LGBT community faces legal challenges and restrictions, as well as overt and implicit discrimination. Such laws are rarely enforced, and there is a grassroots movement to abolish them, though currently, the government and Parliament show no indication of repealing restrictions.
Multiple laws criminalize homosexual behavior in Singapore. Men are a particular target of the law, which criminalizes homosexual relations between men.

Risk Mitigation Strategies

  • Exercise caution during LGBT Pride events and festivals.
  • Evaluate the city and surrounding neighborhoods for prevailing social attitudes before deciding on what public behavior is appropriate.
  • Be cautious when engaging others in conversations about sexuality or LGBT issues.

For information on LGBT travel,

UCEAP Insurance
Before you travel:
Print and carry your insurance card at all times.
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy.  It is not the same as your campus or private insurance and it is not ACA compliant for domestic coverage.  The premium cost is paid by the University of California for UC students.  In addition to the previous link, you can read Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage and eligibility criteria
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the insurance works on a reimbursement basis. Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance.  Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies.  It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.  You can submit a claim for a refund of covered expenses to the UCEAP insurance carrier.
Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
A high level of medical care comparable to that in other industrialized countries is available throughout the country. 
Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash. The Study Center specifically recommends the National University Hospital.
If you experience a medical emergency, go to National University Hospital. It is located approximately 15 minutes from the National University of Singapore.
National University Hospital
5 Lower Kent Ridge Road
Phone: (65) 6779-5555
24-Hour Hotline: (65) 6772-5000
Fax: (65) 6779-5678
“If you receive health care, be sure to keep receipts and you can get reimbursed through your UCEAP insurance."
 - UCEAP Student

Ambulance Services

Public and private ambulance services are professional and well equipped in Singapore. To contact a public ambulance service,
dial 995.

Medical Records

Privacy laws pertaining to medical records differ from those in the U.S. The Ministry of Health auditors may, under certain circumstances, grant permission to retrieve a patient’s medical records without the consent of the patient.
Physical Health
Observe basic hygiene standards:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Drink bottled water.
  • Protect yourself from insect bites (mosquito-borne diseases are a nationwide and year-round risk).
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. Study Center staff can recommend health care facilities to visit, help you complete the necessary medical insurance claim forms, and assist with arrangements if you expect to be absent from classes for an extended period of time.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page for health risks present in the country where you will be studying. Know what to do if you get sick.
Good basic personal hygiene and hand washing are critical to help prevent the spread of illness and disease. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating.
Prescription Medications
Plan ahead and verify that your prescription medications are legal in Singapore. The Singapore Health Science Authority determines medication regulations. Verify whether your prescriptions are legal before departure.
Health Sciences Authority
11 Biopolis Way #11-03 Helios
Singapore 138667
Phone: (65) 68663522
If your prescriptions do not contain banned substances, you may take a three- month supply to Singapore. Generally, banned substances are narcoticcs and amphetamines.
Take a copy of the prescription and a letter from your physician with a detailed explanation (including the generic name, dosage, and purpose), your diagnosis, and treatment, for any prescription medication entering Singapore. All medications should always be packed in your carry-on luggage. You are not required to declare medicines on arrival in Singapore; however, medications and related documents may be inspected by customs authorities.
If you need additional medication or prescription refills after arrival in Singapore, seek guidance from a local pharmacist or physician. Pharmacies are generally located in all hospitals. Over-the-counter medications are available in chain drug stores throughout Singapore.


Although you should always travel with a copy of your prescription from your U.S. doctor, many pharmacies in other countries will only fill prescriptions written in that country.
If you need a refill while abroad, you will need to see a doctor in that country to get a similar prescription that a local pharmacy will fill. It will be critical, to have a letter from U.S. doctor, during this appointment,  explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.
In some cases, the local physician will need to confirm your diagnosis before issuing a prescription. Note that a doctor's visit to get refills may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.

Before Departure

  • Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program.
  • Always carry medications in their original containers.
  • Have a letter from the prescribing physician indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regime.

Carrying Medicines through Local Customs

  • Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries.  Talk to your doctor immediately to switch you to another medication. 
  • Although medications in amounts clearly related to personal use (30 days) are rarely inspected or questioned, customs officials can become suspicious of medications in much larger quantities. Reduce the likelihood of difficulty by following these recommendations:
    • Keep medicines in their original, labeled, pharmacy packaging when possible. The label should include your name.
    • Obtain and carry a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery, appropriately signed and dated, stating medical diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.
    • If intending to travel with a controlled drug for personal use, review medication regulations in official government websites or the International Narcotics Board website. Addresses for most countries can be found at
    • Rules on amphetamine-based medications used for attention deficit disorders should always be checked ahead of time.
    • Embassies are generally not a good source of information.
    • Rules on amphetamine-based medications used for attention deficit disorders should always be checked ahead of time. 
    • If you have diabetes, or are using injectable heparin, obtain and carry at all times a doctor’s letter explaining the need to carry needles and syringes.
    • Personal first aid kits, especially those with needles and syringes, should be accompanied by an official document endorsing their use as a medical kit. 

Read your UCEAP Program Guide, Medications chapter for information on local official government website.

  • Pack your prescription medications, in original containers, in your carry-on luggage. Do not pack the medications in your checked luggage. 
  • Carry copies of all prescriptions, including the generic names for medications.
  • Have a letter on letterhead stationery from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen.  This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill.
  • Leave a copy of the written prescriptions at home with a friend or relative.
If your doctor cannot issue a supply to last through your stay your US doctor's letter can help a local physician to assess you and consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country.
Mental Health
The UCEAP Insurance Policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor.
Contact the UCEAP local representative for information on local doctors who can treat you if you are sick or injured.
Speak with returnees and gather as much information as possible before you leave for Singapore.
Culture shock and homesick feelings are normal. Most students who experience culture shock function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life. However, any situation entailing a high level of stress can cause unusually strong emotional reactions and can interfere with effective functioning either at that time or later. Such reactions are normal responses to abnormal situations and are to be expected under the circumstances. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope.
Eat well, stay hydrated, get plenty of rest, share concerns with the local representative, especially if your feelings last longer than two weeks, and be open and accepting of the differences you encounter. It will make your stay more enjoyable as you adapt to the new environment.
The Singapore American Community Action Council (SACAC) is a nonprofit organization providing services to the local and expatriate community. SACAC offers psychological counseling, mental health resources, and support groups. They have counselors who were trained and licensed in the U.S. and practice different areas of specialty.
SACAC Counseling
The American Club
10 Claymore Hill
Phone: (65) 6733-9249
Fax: (65) 6733-9321
Health Risks
The risk of travelers diarrhea is minimal throughout the country. Community sanitation is generally good, and health concerns related to food and beverages are minimal. Hand, foot, and mouth disease occurs throughout the year. Frequent handwashing with water and soap is recommended.
For more information about health risks while in Singapore and any other travel destination, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travelers’ Health website.
If you plan on traveling to neighboring countries, consider vaccinations and health risks specific to the areas you will be visiting.

Mosquito Bites

Mosquitoes may transmit diseases such as dengue fever and malaria. While the Singapore Ministry of Environment has an active mosquito abatement program, take precautions against mosquito bites. Use insect repellent containing DEET or similar chemicals, wear appropriate clothing, and take malaria prophylactic pills if visiting high-risk areas. For more information, refer to the U.S. CDC website.
Food Allergies
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.

Precautions to take include:

  • Research the local cuisine
  • Discuss the risks with your doctor
  • Carry symptom-reducing medications at all times, including epinephrine
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet with instructions for assistance in both English and the local language
  • Carry a card written in the local language that will warn food preparers about the allergy and possible reaction
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter, Allergies section.
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk
​Staying safe in another country is similar to staying safe in a large U.S. city. Understand the potential threats, know which neighborhoods to avoid, and remain vigilant. If you will be traveling, think about how you are getting to your destination and/or any travel inside a country.  Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.  Car accidents are often a high risk in developing countries. Be proactive about your safety. Be prepared.
The University of California Education Abroad Program has established policies and procedures and contracted with emergency service and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. 
Steps to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime:
  • Stop and think.
  • Remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Be conscious of what is unusual or threatening. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, leave the area immediately and find somewhere more secure.
  • Research potential risks you can encounter while traveling. Read the UCEAP in the Guide to Study Abroad and the Program Guide. Also, you can find online information on the country through the U.S. Department of State.
  • Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking.
  • Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety.  This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other.  Choose your buddy wisely.  The ideal buddy should feel that the buddy system is very important. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call on site if you are facing an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Putting yourself, fellow students, or the reputation of the program at risk is cause for dismissal from UCEAP.
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
Crime & Prevention
The crime rate is one of the lowest in the world. The U.S. Embassy’s assessment remains that Singapore’s rating of being “Low” threat for crime is accurate but notes that “low” crime does not mean no crime, and individuals should still take common sense precautions to avoid being victimized.
Singaporeans enjoy a high standard of living and the government vigorously promotes a sense of civic responsibility that helps deter crime. Strict legal penalties for even minor offenses and excellent policing also serve as significant crime deterrents.
Pick-pocketing and petty thefts occur but are not widespread problems. This is especially the case in tourist areas, such as hotels and airports. Hand phones (cell phones) have in the past been the primary target for robbers and snatch thieves. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) advised that hand phone-related crimes dropped due to increased public education and stricter enforcement against used hand phone dealers who break laws or regulations. The SPF Commercial Affairs Department has implemented an online database of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers of stolen hand phones for easy screening by purchasers. Observing logical security precautions will minimize crime threats. The SPF advises that most phone scams in Singapore attempt to persuade people to make advance payments to claim a prize. Sometimes the prize used to lure victims may be the promise of a luxury car and other valuables. Scammers contact victims via SMS messages to inform them that they won a “lucky draw.”
Violent crime is rare, and criminals rarely target Westerners. Burglaries, robberies, and vehicle thefts are uncommon. Crime in Singapore is generally non-confrontational, and usually opportunistic in nature. If you are the victim of a crime while in Singapore, immediately report it to the Study Center, local police, and U.S. embassy.

Police Response

Singapore has been ranked consistently in the top five positions in the Global Competitiveness Report in terms of its reliability of police services. Police response to crime incidents is professional and generally effective. The police remain professional, and any report involving a criminal incident will be handled in accordance with the prescribed regulations.

Drug-related Crimes

Visitors should be knowledgeable of the severe penalties for narcotics trafficking, up to and including the death penalty. Despite these laws, drugs can still be found, and individuals frequenting nightclubs should be particularly vigilant and remain aware of their surroundings.
Incidents of individuals unknowingly ingesting a drug placed in a drink occasionally occur, and visitors should again exercise the same amount of caution as they would in any major U.S. city
Civil Unrest
Although Singaporean law allows for permits of assembly, the reality is that permits are generally not issued for any demonstration or gathering, regardless of the nature. Singapore’s laws prohibit gatherings of five or more persons for demonstration/gathering purposes without a permit, and the law was recently expanded to allow the police to apprehend individuals assembling in smaller groups if the intent is to circumvent the permit requirement.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Singapore is a left-hand drive nation, with first-world road conditions that include well-lit, well-paved, English language thoroughfares and expressways spanning the island.
Public transportation and taxis are abundant, inexpensive, and reliable.
Do not drive a motorized vehicle of any kind. Involvement in a traffic accident can lead to major safety, legal, and financial problems.
Strict law enforcement and well-developed public transportation systems make travel by public transportation in Singapore very secure. Regardless, maintain general security precautions while using buses, trains, and subways. Buses, commuter trains, the subway, and their associated stations attract thieves, pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Carry all bags and purses in front of you and keep an eye on luggage at all times.
Taxis provide a secure means of transport.

Pedestrian Safety

  •  Be careful. Cross the road at designated pedestrian crossings, overhead bridges, underpasses or zebra crossings.ross the road at designated pedestrian crossings, overhead bridges, underpasses or zebra crossings.
  • Be alert for inattentive drivers even at signalized crossings.
  • Use footpaths and other walkways when possible.
  • Hold on to handrails on the bus to avoid being thrown off balance during sudden swerves or brakes.
  • Wait for the bus to stop fully before boarding or alighting.
  • Be alert for any oncoming cyclists.
  • Use light colored clothing when you are walking at night, or carry some reflective materials so that drivers can see you from a distance.
Travel Warnings and UCEAP Policy
Refer to the current travel warnings with the U.S. Department of State and the UCEAP Student Travel Policy in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Warning after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy voluntary departure on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP, is covered by UCEAP insurance (there is no cost to the student). UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
Fire Safety
The National University of Singapore (NUS) Fire Safety Policy is established for the purpose of minimizing the risk of fire and in the event of a fire, to limit its spread, ensuring the safety of all the University personnel and visitors, minimizing the potential of fire from disrupting teaching and research, and lastly minimizing property and environmental damage.
Your Responsibilities Regarding Fire Safety at NUS:
  • Cooperate and comply with the NUS Fire Safety Policy and instructions you receive regarding fire safety and any other fire procedures
  • Know what to do in the event of a fire, including being familiar with the escape routes from your location
  • Consider the risk of fire from your activities and reduce or control that risk
  • Do not interfere with or abuse any equipment provided for fire safety
  • Report any observed shortcoming in fire precautions to the Office of Estate and Development

Fire Emergency - Dial 995

Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S., are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
  • Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation to purchase Fire Safety Kits and Passport to Safety. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
  • Have an escape plan and practice it.
  • Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
  • Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
  • Refer to the Fire Safety section of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad for life-saving information.
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:

If you are in the U.S.

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone number at (805) 893-4762

If you are abroad

Carry the local emergency contact information at all times:
Ambulance . . . . . . . . . . . 995
Fire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .995
Police . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . .999
If you have a health or safety emergency and do not have access to local or UCEAP representative emergency information, contact the UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance/USA, available 24/7:

U.S. Embassy in Singapore

American Citizen Services
27 Napier Road
Singapore 258508
Phone: (65) 6476-9100
Fax: (65) 6476-9232
Regular Hours:
8:30 a.m.–noon (Monday–Friday);
1:30–3 p.m. (Monday–Friday, except Thursday)
The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.