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.
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 Staff 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 Pre-Departure Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Study Center Abroad
Once abroad, a host university faculty or staff member assisting UCEAP will be your first point of contact for all matters. Among other things, the designated person provides support with academic matters, program logistics, and personal issues.
The International Relations Office
provides on-site support for all international students at NUS.
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 NUS and at UC).
Ms. Shona Gilles-Grant
Manager, USA Exchange
International Relations Office
National University of Singapore
3rd Storey, Unit 03-03, Shaw Foundation Alumni House
11 Kent Ridge Drive, Singapore 119244
Phone (calling from the US): (011-65) 6516-4084
Phone (calling from Singapore): 6516-4084
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
The National University of Singapore (NUS) offers a full range of coursework taught in English. Some departments have enrollment limitations that will be listed on the NUS website. You will be fully immersed into academic and social life at the National University of Singapore.
- 24 UC quarter units each term; four NUS modules (courses) of 6 UC quarter units each; a maximum of 5 courses is allowed.
- One course may be taken P/NP. This is done in MyEAP only.
- Concentration in your major field of study (although not exclusively)
- A strong record of class attendance (to be eligible to sit for final exams)
- NUS and MyEAP course registration
Sample MyEAP Study Lists
UC quarter units are based on NUS credits.
4 NUS credits = 6 UC quarter units = 4 UC semester units
16 NUS credits = 24 UC quarter units = 16 UC semester units
A few courses are 5 NUS credits. These are 7.5 UC quarter/5 UC semester units.
Relationship with Faculty
Adjustment to and appreciation of different pedagogy and learning styles are part of studying abroad. Teachers in Singapore are highly respected, and relationships between students and teachers are different from those at UC. Students are expected to be polite, never confrontational or demanding. At the same time, however, many professors in Singapore have been trained in U.S. and European universities; if you approach them after class, you probably will find them friendly and interested in providing help. If you have a difference of opinion or want to make suggestions, speak respectfully with the professor privately, out of class.
NUS courses are called modules. Most modules at NUS are 4 credits (6 UC quarter units). Each module has a unique code consisting of a two- or three- letter discipline prefix and four digits; the first digit indicates the course level:
- 1000 level-one modules are UC lower-division credit
- 2000 level-two and 3000 level-three modules are upper-division credit (except for language courses). These are recommended.
- 4000 level modules are graduate level and are rarely open to undergraduates. To take these courses, you must get approval from the instructor and submit a UCEAP General Petition for approval from the UCEAP Systemwide Office.
Some course will have two course numbers, such as SSA2215/GES1004. The higher number is used when assigning UC credit.
The majority of courses are conducted over a semester, with an exam at the end of the semester; however, there are some year-long courses with an exam at the end of the academic year. If you are in the fall program do not enroll in year-long courses.
Instruction is in English, except in studies that have language prerequisites (for example, Chinese studies). Courses are academically solid and you will need strong academic skills and writing ability as well as personal initiative and independence. Most courses consist of lectures and required tutorials or discussion sections. Syllabi and reading lists are normally provided; the use of PowerPoint is widespread and students frequently bring laptops to class. More out-of-class reading is required and the reading is of a greater breadth than you may be accustomed to at UC. Attendance and paper writing are important components of the courses. Participation is expected in the tutorials and is considered in the final grade.
NUS requires more student group work than UC. This may require meetings in the evening and on weekends. Out of respect for your NUS counterparts, take this work and time commitment seriously. Be available to meet with fellow students as needed.
Not all courses have prerequisites. You will need to look at the individual courses to determine prerequisites.
NUS will check your UC transcript for prerequisites; however, our partner institutions understand that exchange (UCEAP) students may not have the exact prerequisites that are listed for a particular course. NUS will be looking at your UC transcript to see if you have taken courses that will have prepared you for the desired course. In some cases you may need to meet with the course instructor during the add/drop period after arrival to prove you have the requisite knowledge to succeed in the desired course. Since you might have taken additional courses that are not sent to NUS with your application, make sure you take your most current transcript (unofficial is fine) with you to Singapore and even syllabi of courses you have taken may be useful in gaining entrance to upper-division courses.
University Scholars Programme
Regular courses at NUS are already demanding; however, if you are seeking truly challenging interdisciplinary study, consider first-tier modules (courses) in the University Scholars Programme
. This program provides a rigorous multidisciplinary curriculum for active learners who like to think and write critically and make connections among different disciplines.
NUS offers innovative study opportunities. For example, you may take part in a program on information and communications management that combines the arts with information technology. There are also multidisciplinary studies that combine business and law, and a “Technopreneurship”
program that trains science and engineering students to take advantage of commercial opportunities.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programs (UROP) are offered by the School of Computing
, the Faculty of Engineering
, and the Faculty of Science
. You can view the available research projects on the NUS website now and then register for a particular project after you arrive at NUS and obtain a matriculation number. You may e-mail the project supervisor and request written approval for a space in the UROP. You then submit this approval as part of the application documents. If you obtain an approved reservation, contact the supervisor personally upon arrival at NUS to officially register in the UROP course.
Research courses are also available through many departments and are listed on the module catalog.
The NUS Business School MBA Program has been ranked among the top three in the Asia-Pacific region by Asia, Inc. UC graduate students admitted as exchange students will participate in the second year of the MBA program and take the elective courses. Courses in this program are not open to undergraduate exchange students (UCEAP). The curriculum is characterized by an Asian focus and offers concentrations in the areas of accounting, finance, management, marketing, logistics and operations management, and decision sciences. Additional information is available on the NUS MBA website
Pre Registration and Course Restrictions
Before departure you will complete an NUS application that includes a list of the courses you wish to take. You will find out
which courses have been preapproved with your NUS admission notice approximately one month before departure. UC students are accepted into faculties based on the classes they request on the application. You may take courses outside your major provided you meet prerequisites.
Certain courses or departments have restrictions
for non-graduating students (UCEAP exchange). See restrictions on the NUS website
prior to completing your NUS application. Due to high demand, students will at most only be able to take one business/economics course. Other areas with many restrictions include the school of computing and the department of computer science.
When listing classes on the NUS application, sign up for at least ten (10) classes, then drop courses later. The classes should be in many different faculties. Do not focus all of your selections in impacted faculties (ex. Business, Economics, Psychology).
Acceptance into classes (modules) is not automatic. Take your most recent transcript with you to Singapore to verify completed coursework. In addition you must be able to provide documentation for the UC classes that you have taken recently that are not on the transcript submitted with your application. A letter of introduction from a UC faculty member in your home department could be useful to help in securing a space in an oversubscribed course. A document showing courses required for your UC degree may also be useful.
You will register twice: once for UCEAP in MyEAP and once for your host university. In addition to enrolling in host university classes, you must fill out your MyEAP Study List each term.
It is important that you adhere to the established deadlines for adding and dropping courses at your host university and for submitting your MyEAP Study List. Be sure to review your MyEAP Study List carefully; the course information listed—subject area, title, and units—is what will appear on your UC transcript.
The process can be difficult; however, assistance is available after arrival during the add/drop period.
NUS allows students to audit certain courses. UCEAP does not award credit for audited courses and these courses do not count toward your minimum unit requirement.
- You must take all exams at the host university.
- The exam schedule is not flexible.
Arrangements for early exams are not allowed. Unless there is an emergency situation, such as an extreme health situation, a safety or security threat, or closure of the university, you may not take final exams in the US or leave the program before completing final assessments.
Most exams at NUS are two-hour essay exams. Be prepared to write many essays quickly and cogently. Multiple-choice exams are rare. Exams can be either open or closed book. The writing styles of UC and NUS students are different. NUS students typically rely on memorization and support their topics with many facts, charts, and graphs. Instructors are not just looking for broad concepts; they want specifics.
You may look up past exams on file at the library, study the questions, and request feedback from the teaching staff. It is important for you to request such feedback early in the semester, as the teaching staff is likely to be less sympathetic and responsive just before the exams. Instructors generally do not give the feedback, evaluation, and explanation of grading that is common at UC.
Final course grades depend heavily upon the results of a final exam. Exams are administered in large halls with up to 2,000 students and are graded by examiners, not necessarily the course instructor. You must attend tutorials and sign up for the finals according to NUS procedures. If you miss 20 percent or more of a class, you will not be permitted to take the final exam and your course grade will reflect that failure. Final assessments may also be based on group projects, presentations, reports, laboratory assignments, research, participation and attendance, and any other criteria relevant to the course.
Fall grades are usually available in late January to early February and spring grades are usually available in early July.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Independent research opportunities may be available through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROPS) in many areas. Predeparture preparation is required. Students need to research the NUS Staff Research Directory System to identify a research supervisor then gain approval from that supervisor to conduct research. This approval will be needed when completing your NUS application with the Pre-Departure Checklist.
Internships for academic credit are not available to exchange (UCEAP) students. Exchange students (UCEAP) are not allowed to work in Singapore.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Extending your UCEAP participation is possible. If you are considering an extension, submit a Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA)
form prior to departure. Once abroad, make an appointment with your Study Center to initiate the extension. The Study Center submits a Request for Final Approval (RFA)
form to the UCEAP Systemwide Office. UCEAP must receive the RFA by the deadline indicated on the form. If you do not submit an approved DPA before departure, then you must submit a Petition to Extend
form, which requires campus and department approval, and can take up to eight weeks to process.
Both UCEAP and the Study Center must approve your extension request. Approval is based on a number of factors including program criteria, academic performance, the support of your UC campus department, and available space.
Once your extension has been approved, UCEAP will notify your UC campus registrar, Financial Aid Office, and Campus UCEAP Office. For information about the steps you need to take with regard to finances, see the Extension of Participation chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
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 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.
Travel to the Host University
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. More detailed arrival information and directions to the check-in point are provided in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist online.
If you plan to arrive in Singapore early you will need to make your own hotel reservations. UCEAP cannot make arrangements for you to move into the dormitory earlier than the established move-in date.
Not all taxi drivers are familiar with the campus residences. Look up the location of your destination ahead of time. Provide the driver with the address of your housing assignment and have a campus 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:
- academic affairs
- 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 tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. 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.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. 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.
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 calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket 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 & Student Pass
To enter Singapore, a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of your intended stay is required.
Although U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a visa to enter Singapore, all NUS international exchange students are required to apply for the Student Pass after registering at NUS. The Student Pass serves a similar purpose to a visa by granting permission to reside in Singapore for the purpose of study. The Student Pass is issued by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore
If you will be studying in Singapore for more than six months (i.e. participating in the year program), you are required to complete a medical report, which includes compulsory HIV and TB chest X-ray tests. The Singapore Immigration and Security Checkpoints Authority requires this medical report to issue specific immigration documents.
While you have the option of completing the medical report at the NUS University Health and Wellness Center upon arrival in Singapore, it is better for you to complete the medical report in the U.S. before departure in order to receive your Student Pass immediately upon registration at NUS and avoid hassle. It will cost approximately U.S.$50 to complete the medical report at NUS.
The Singapore Immigration and Security Checkpoints Authority views medical reports as valid for three months after completion. Do not complete the medical report more than three months prior to your arrival at NUS.
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.
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
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
- Electronic cigarettes
- 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 fairly 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 protection for your property. 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 Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. UCEAP strongly recommends that you examine the details of the UCEAP Travel Insurance benefits and purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, Smartphones, tablets, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling 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. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions. 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.
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).
Internet is available in dorm rooms, as well as throughout the NUS campus.
NUS students will have access to the NUS Computer Center, NUSNET, and several computer labs on campus. NUSNET is a campus-wide network that interconnects 100+ academic departments at NUS. It provides a wealth of network services with gateways to the Internet, e-journal, NUScast, newsfeed, CD-ROM databases, and more. In addition, you will receive an NUS e-mail account.
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.
Messenging apps (e.g. WhatsApp, Line, WeChat) are also increasing in popularity.
"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
There are multiple dormitory options. 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.
The housing application is incorporated into the NUS online student application. You will find additional instructions in the UCEAP online Pre-Departure Checklist.
The cost of university housing is a fraction of what it costs to rent a single room in Singapore. It provides very basic amenities and facilities at a low price and is most likely less comfortable than the dorm rooms offered by American universities.
Students can apply to live in the NUS Halls of Residences and Student Residences.
The Halls generally offer more interaction with local students and the opportunity to participate in campus activities. Halls vary in distance but there is a campus shuttle system that runs continuously every few minutes, so it is easy to get around campus. There is no charge for students to use the campus shuttle.
Student Residences offer a more private, independent housing experience. Residents are usually international students. Current students prefer the residences at University Town for its newer rooms and facilities.
"Living in the dorms is an honor, and local residents have to earn the right to stay there each year." - UCEAP Student
Due to a shortage of on-campus housing, NUS determines final housing assignments. Student enrollment and demand for on-campus housing has been steadily increasing at NUS. NUS receives more applications for housing than available spaces. Continuing local students are granted priority for housing assignments. Exchange applicants are not guaranteed housing.
Linens and pillows are not provided. While most students purchase these items after arrival, you may want to bring a twin-size sheet set and a towel to get started.
You will be responsible for cleaning your own room. While the university’s facilities are generally modern and convenient, it takes time to adjust to the new living conditions. Rooms are kept in sanitary condition but may not be as clean and well furnished as facilities at UC.
Your Housing Assignment
You will be notified of your housing assignment about one month prior to the program. Notification is sent directly from NUS via e-mail.
Once you receive your housing notification, you are required to accept the housing assignment, register, and submit a payment; or decline the offer by their stipulated deadlines. NUS is very strict with housing deadlines. Miss one deadline and your housing assignment will be given to another student.
You will receive an e-mail from the NUS housing office if you did not get an on-campus assignment as well. In this situation, they will provide you with information about off-campus housing, or you may opt for your own independent housing.
Check-in Date and Move-in Procedures
If you are assigned on-campus accommodations, the check-in date and move- in procedures will be included in the housing notification e-mail. You may also contact your assigned residence
for additional details.
Inform your residence about your arrival date and time at least three weeks in advance. Move-in dates vary by location and you may be required to submit an application to move-in early in order to attend orientation. Check-in is usually available Monday through Friday, from 9am to 5pm. If you will be arriving outside regular business hours, ask for someone to be available to assist you with check-in.
If you are securing off-campus housing arrangements, you will need to ask about the check-in date and move-in procedures in advance.
Payment for the entire program is due about two months before the start of the program. You are responsible for making your housing payment directly to NUS online with a credit card. Payment instructions and details will be included in the NUS housing allocation e-mail.
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
Eating at NUS
You can prepare your own food in the housing kitchenettes. You can also eat in the numerous canteens on campus, at hawker centers, or in the cafeterias, where a few dollars will buy a hearty meal.
"Even if you eat at a different place everyday, you still won’t be able to hit all the restaurants, not to mention all the stalls in the hawker centers." - UCEAP Student
There are five canteens and two take-away kiosks on campus. All of the canteens and cafés operate on a self-serve system, so be sure you deposit your plates and cutlery after meals in the appropriate trolleys.
Students living in one of the Halls of Residence or Residential Colleges must enroll in a mandatory meal plan
, which includes breakfast and dinner.
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.– midnight). 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!
"Volunteering was one of the most rewarding activities. Not only do you meet a lot of amazing people outside of NUS, you are also exposed to another side of Singapore that isn’t the government promoted, squeaky clean image of economic prosperity and racial harmony." - UCEAP Student
NUS Student Societies and Organizations
There are several NUS student societies for recreational, religious, and cultural purposes. Examples include Outdoor Activities Club, Catholic Students Society, and Southeast Asian Studies Society. A complete listing is provided on the NUS Office of Student Affairs
"My advice for any incoming UCEAP students to Singapore is to fully appreciate all the academic and club activities available on campus. There many clubs that will allow UCEAP students to really immerse with the local students."
- UCEAP Student
NUS Buddy Program
During the semester, the NUS Office of Student Affairs offers a buddy program to assist exchange students with adapting to the Singaporean lifestyle and culture. The program offers relationship-building opportunities with local students and access to cultural exchange activities.
"The NUS student I was paired with showed me many of the sights in Singapore and even took me as a guest to a Malay wedding in Malay attire." - UCEAP Student
NUS Residence Hall Activities
The residence halls organize a variety of activities that range from team sports to acting in a play. These are excellent ways for you to integrate into the local student culture. NUS students express a great deal of enthusiasm about participating in residence hall activities.
"All of the students are involved in service committees, culture groups, and sports teams. The students have tremendous spirit; during our intramural basketball games, the whole dorm would come to watch." - UCEAP Student
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. There are a great variety of sports you can choose from, and most of the teams welcome exchange students. There are judo, tae kwon do, wushu, tai chi, soccer, track and field, volleyball, basketball, tennis, swimming, diving, kayaking, biking, handball, triathlon, biathlon, and more.
Swimming and water sport activities are also 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:
It is relatively easy and inexpensive to travel from Singapore to other destinations in Southeast Asia.
"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
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.
Due to immigration regulations, students are not permitted to work in Singapore. Working illegally is not endorsed or supported by UCEAP and can result in your arrest and prosecution for breaking the law.
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.
The UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
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 Chubb 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 consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim proces
or about non-medical claims
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 your 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 Status
ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the mandatory UCEAP Insurance Plan, NUS requires all students to have a specified amount of medical insurance coverage. You must pay the premium for the insurance policy offered through NUS, Group Medical Insurance Scheme (GMIS). Additional information is provided with the NUS Offer Package.
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 NUS.
National University Hospital
5 Lower Kent Ridge Road
Phone: (65) 6779-5555
24-Hour Emergency Hotline: (65) 6772-5000
The NUS University Health Center, open during regular business hours, offers services such as medical examinations, general health screenings, lab tests, and women’s wellness for NUS students.
NUS University Health Center
20 Lower Kent Ridge Road
Phone: (65) 6601-5035
After hours, you can go to the Clementi Clinic, which is located 15 minutes from campus and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Central 24-Hour Clinic (Clementi)
Blk 450 Clementi Ave 3
#01-291 Singapore 120450
Phone: (65) 6773-2925
“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.
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.
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).
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the International Office immediately. 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.
- Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor to get a similar prescription. 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 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 traveling with a 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, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is in liquid form, consult the US Transportation Security Administration., Traveling with Medications.
- 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 to monitor side effects. 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) 6866-3522
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.
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., discuss your UCEAP program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for going abroad. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Your mental health is important to us all. Create a plan with your treating doctor. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition – 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.
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.
You may feel homesick or sad. Feeling down, anxious, homesick, depressed or stressed might be your body’s reaction to the new environment and different life away from your usual support network. Don't cope alone. Reach out for help to the local UCEAP program staff and your friends. If you have been feeling unhappy for longer than a few days, or it is staring to affect your enjoyment of
life and/or your studies, then you should see a doctor immediately.
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. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process
. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although university life in Singapore can be rewarding and exciting, it can also be stressful and challenging as you adjust to the increased academic demands and new environment. Seek professional help and guidance from NUS Counselling and Psychological Services (CPS)
when you are feeling overwhelmed or if your concerns persist for an extended period of time. Counseling provides a safe and private space to talk with someone about your goals and concerns. Counselors will help you clarify your goals, and explore options to achieving them.
At CPS, a team of counselors and psychologists offer students short-term individual counseling. Students facing psychological emergencies can walk in during office hours for a same day appointment. Last walk-in appointments are available 30 minutes before closing.
CPS also provides a 24-hour hotline for students facing life-threatening psychological emergencies. This hotline is answered by counselors and can be accessed by calling Lifeline NUS at (65) 6516-7777.
NUS Counselling and Psychological Services
University Health Centre
20 Lower Kent Ridge Road
Phone: (65) 6516-2376
Monday - Wednesday: 8:30 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
Friday: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Lunch Break: 12:30pm - 1:30 pm
Closed on Sat/Sun/Public Holidays
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.
09-04 Thong Teck Building
15 Scotts Road
Phone: (65) 6733-9249
Fax: (65) 6733-9321
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.
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:
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Health chapter
, Allergies section.
Check the Singapore National Environmental Agency website for information about air quality and health advisories.
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
You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Consider an action plan.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Take time to assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety.
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.
Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety
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.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University
prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other
prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or
University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively
to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to
prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that
violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to
UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these
behaviors has occurred.
Travel Advisories & UCEAP Policy
Fire Emergency - Dial 995
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
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 Advisory 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, UC security provider, 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 evacuation 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 and its security providers, is covered by UCEAP itravel nsurance. 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:
NUS International Relations Office Crisis & Emergency Line (office hours only): (65) 6777-5547
NUS Campus Security Emergency Hotline (24 hour): (65) 6874-1616
NUS Lifeline Emergency Hotline (24 hour): (65) 6516-7777
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.