Approx. Time Difference
Apr - Oct: +15 hrs
Nov - Mar: +16 hrs
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.
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
Click a heading below to see section content.
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).
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583
Bookmark your Participants
program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Pred-Departure Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Study Center Abroad
UCEAP is working closely with the Academic Internship Council (AIC), which will provide on-site student support, including an orientation and cultural activities.
It is critical that you understand the role of each person involved with program, logistic, and academic issues, and remember to communicate your concerns with all parties (both at AIC and at UC).
Academic Internship Council:
Singapore Site Director
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
During this 8-week summer program, you will participate in a full-time research internship.
You will be responsible for following all policies, procedures, and requirements set forth by A*STAR
in addition to UCEAP policies.
All UCEAP students in the program will receive 10.0 quarter/6.7 semester UC units of upper-division research internship credit. It will be reported as Research Internship 197 S to the UC Offices of the Registrar. The subject areas will vary depending on the student's individual internship placements. Past internships have been under the areas of biological sciences, biochemistry, bioengineering, chemical engineering, computer science, engineering, and physics.
Other subject areas are possible.
You may choose either the P/NP or letter grade option for your internship.
You will receive information on MyEAP course registration after arrival.
You may choose either the P/NP or letter grade option for your internship. You will need to choose by the end of the third week of the program.
Grade submission varies depending on the A*STAR internship provider.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Get acquainted with Singapore and its culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites such as
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 housing.
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.
"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.
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.
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
In Singaporean society, public good may take precedence over personal rights. You must take Singaporean laws and regulations seriously.
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.
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.).
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.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Official UCEAP Start Date
Do not plan to travel outside of the U.S. after finals at UC and before the program begins. Each year, the Research Institutions 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.
Travel to the Research Institution
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 Pre-Departure Checklist online.
Not all taxi drivers are familiar with residences. Look up the location of your destination ahead of time. Provide the driver with the address of your housing and have a map with you to show the driver exactly where you want to go.
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:
- medical care
- social activities
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip fares, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
There is no UCEAP group flight to Singapore. You are responsible for making your own flight arrangements. It is recommended that you arrive during regular business hours.
Additional arrival information is provided in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is based partly on the UCEAP Program 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 Program 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.
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 (WHP)
or Training Employment Pass (TEP)
. Like a work visa, the WHP/TEP will allow you to reside in Singapore for the purpose of completing an internship. The WHP/TEP is issued by the Ministry of Manpower
. Application instructions will be provided by your Research Institution.
If given the option, you should apply for the WHP over the TEP. The WHP process is started by the applicant and is usually quicker.
Both the WHP and TEP will require you to complete the registration process in person at the Ministry of Manpower after arrival. You must have your WHP/TEP by the start date of your internship. Any delays will affect your end date and program eligibility.
Special Travel Notifications
Notify UCEAP immediately if you are or have ever held Singaporean citizenship. You may be required to submit additional documents.
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.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
Students who are granted DACA are strongly encouraged to 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 application. If you are undocumented and have not been granted DACA, we strongly encourage you not to leave the country.
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
Identify all luggage on both the outside and inside with your name, home address, and destination.
When traveling always carry your passport, visa, airline tickets, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
Singapore is well developed in terms of the availability of consumer goods. Therefore, limit your baggage to a reasonable amount.
- 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 Staying Healthy section for more information)
- Bed linens and towels
- Unlocked cell phone
- 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
- 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.
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 Possessions
Consider having additional protections for your property, as in spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
UCEAP's travel insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. UCEAP strongly recommends you to examine the details of the UCEAP travel insurance benefits and to purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, MP3 players, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
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.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip fares, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. 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 Program Budget is based on the cost of a changeable round-trip student ticket.
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
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- 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 Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program 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 Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule 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.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
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.
If you plan on using your U.S. ATM and/or credit card while abroad, be sure to notify your bank ahead of time. Otherwise, they may freeze your account on suspicion of fraud.
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.
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.
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).
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
You will receive your mailing address after arrival in Singapore.
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.
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.
While you look for housing to cover the duration of your program, you have the option of reserving temporary housing at the National University of Singapore (NUS)
. Rooms at U-Town and Prince George’s Park Residences are available in June. UCEAP students are eligible for the Non-NUS student rate.
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
The UCEAP program 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.
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.
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
"I often socialized with my Singaporean peers. That’s the best way to get to know the country; they show you their culture." - UCEAP Student
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!
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.
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
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
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:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to 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 how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program 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.
"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
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 more information,
Know Before you Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. 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. Your UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance and it is does not meet ACA requirements for domestic coverage as required by U.S. law
. Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823. It is underwritten by ACE American Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. You can submit a claim for a refund of covered expenses to the UCEAP insurance carrier.
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 (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). 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.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims
ACI at email@example.com.
Good medical care is widely available. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate payment for health services by credit card or cash.
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 need information about the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy benefits and claims process, contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org
“If you receive health care, be sure to keep receipts and you can get reimbursed through your UCEAP insurance."
- UCEAP Student
Public and private ambulance services are professional and well equipped in Singapore. To contact a public ambulance service,
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.
Arriving in a new country is a very busy time and there are a lot of changes to go through. There are differences in food, weather and customs to cope with. In this type of situation, with all its stresses, you may find yourself paying less attention than usual to your health.
Existing health problems can also be made worse by the effects of adjusting to unfamiliar food, a different climate and the emotional strains of being away from home. It can be easy to concentrate on your studies and forget about taking care of yourself. Travel health is about prevention and common sense: Being aware of health issues that may arise and taking the appropriate measures to prevent illnesses and injuries when you are travelling not only for your own well-being, but for the people and communities you encounter during your trip.
Know Before you Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
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).
- Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- 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 must see a local doctor to get a similar prescription that a pharmacy will fill. Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance. It may be covered if you are insured through your campus health insurance plan. It will be critical to have a letter from a U.S. doctor during this appointment explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name.
- If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at email@example.com. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
- Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.
- If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication prescribed by a licensed physician when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
- Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
- If intending to travel with prescription containing controlled substances, review international agreements governing the transportation of medications across borders check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
- 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. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
- Get a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.
Traveling with prescription medications
- Keep the medication in its original packaging. Ensure that it is clearly labelled with your full passport name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage. Do not pack the medications in your checked luggage.
- Carry copies of all original prescriptions.
- Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.
If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country in quantities to last through your stay, talk to your doctor. If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure, so you can have time to consult with your doctor on any resulting complications. The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.
Prescription Medications in Singapore:
You are responsible for confirming in advance that your prescription medications are legal in Singapore.
The Singapore Health Science Authority determines medication regulations.
Health Sciences Authority
11 Biopolis Way #11-03 Helios
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.
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.
Do not plan on mailing medications to Singapore as they may be confiscated.
Your mental health is important to us all. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a history of anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home. Read the Mobility International tips, Ups and Downs of International Travel
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., it is extremely important to discuss your study abroad plans and program details with your doctor. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician well in advance about getting the supply you need for going abroad. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
The UCEAP travel 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. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process
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.
The American Club
10 Claymore Hill
Phone: (65) 6733-9249
Fax: (65) 6733-9321
Institute of Mental Health Helpline - 24 hour Hotline for Mental Health Crisis Emergencies
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.
Dengue fever activity continues in Singapore. Disease activity has occurred throughout the island, but clusters of new cases during early 2016 have been largest in central, southeast, and northwest areas.
Dengue fever is a nationwide, year-round risk in Singapore, with disease activity usually highest June-August. The recent surge in activity is likely due to the exceptionally strong El Nino weather pattern, which has caused prolonged high temperatures and high humidity. Such conditions provide the ideal environment for enhanced mosquito breeding and increased dengue fever transmission. Dengue fever is a potentially fatal virus transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Infection produces a spectrum of clinical symptoms four to 10 days after exposure, ranging from influenza-like illness to severe and potentially fatal hemorrhagic fever. No vaccine is currently available to prevent dengue infection.
Take precautions against mosquito bites. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks, and use insect protection containing DEET, picaridin, or another approved repellent.
Do not use aspirin or ibuprofen products if you suspect you may have dengue, as these could exacerbate bleeding tendencies associated with the disease.
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
If you plan on traveling to neighboring countries, consider vaccinations and health risks specific to the areas you will be visiting.
Keep Cool in Hot Weather
Singapore is 1 degree north of the equator. Singapore's climate is classified as tropical rainforest climate, with no true distinct seasons.
- Carry around a bottle of water to help with rehydration.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing, preferably of a light color.
- Cotton clothing will keep you cooler than many synthetics.
- Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
- Fans can help circulate air and make you feel cooler even in an air-conditioned house.
- Try storing lotions or cosmetic toners in the refrigerator to use on hot, overtired feet.
- Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you're ready to go outside. As the ice melts, you'll have a supply of cold water with you.
- Take frequent baths or showers with cool or tepid water.
- Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water along with sports drinks or coconut water, a natural replacement of electrolytes.
If you have 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:
- Ask for a waiter/waitress who speaks English to help you choose a safe menu item. Some restaurants will have menus in English, but it varies.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Health chapter
, Allergies section.
Check the air quality index at AsiaOne.
You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being.
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 (pay attention to your surroundings; do not walk around while talking on the phone or while listening to music).
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. Be proactive about your safety. Be prepared.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and contracted with emergency service and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime:
- Assess your surroundings.
- Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.
- Be attentive to 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.
- 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?
Know what to do in a possible risk scenario
Locate the nearest emergency exits. If evacuated in a group, remain in the center of the group with as many people around you as possible. Don’t take the lead or straggle behind.
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.
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.
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.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty for many offenses. Singapore police have the authority to compel both residents and non-residents to submit to random drug analysis. In applying local laws, the police do not distinguish between drugs consumed before or after entering Singapore. In Singapore, detained U.S. citizens have been surprised when they were arrested for violations that would not have resulted in arrest in the United States.
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.
Outrage of Modesty
Singapore enforces strict laws pertaining to the propriety of behavior between people and the modesty of individuals. The Singaporean law “Outrage of Modesty” is defined as an assault or use of criminal force on any person with the intent to, or the knowledge that it may, outrage the modesty of that person.
Penalties may include imprisonment for up to two years, a fine, caning, or a combination thereof. Men are sometimes accused of inappropriately touching other people, often women, resulting in their prosecution and punishment under this Singaporean law.
Scams involving a claim of outrage of modesty are thought to exist, and male travelers should be very cautious when frequenting popular nightspots.
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 good 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.
- 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.
E-cigarettes are strictly prohibited in Singapore.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) prohibits the import, distribution, sale or offer for sale of any article that is designed to resemble a tobacco product; this includes vaporizers such as e-cigarettes, e-pipes, e-cigars, etc. Any person who is convicted of an offense is liable to a fine not exceeding $5,000 for a first offense and a fine not exceeding $10,000 for a second or subsequent offense and any e-cigarettes imported will be seized and confiscated.
Information pertaining to the prohibition of e-cigarettes in Singapore is available on HSA's website
Travel Warnings and UCEAP Policy
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. 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 UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
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.
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. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
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 at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
If you are abroad
Carry the local emergency contact information at all times:
U.S. Embassy in Singapore
American Citizen Services
27 Napier Road
Phone: (65) 6476-9100
Fax: (65) 6476-9232
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
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.