Everything you need to know before joining
Students come from all over the world – 30+ countries at last count – to study business at S P Jain School of Global Management in Singapore. Of course, it is most convenient to live at our heritage campus off Alexandra Road. But if they decide not to do this, they start an immediate search for somewhere to live. Here are the top criteria we tell them to consider:
Our college requires lots of group work outside of class. So the closer that a student lives to campus, the better. Yes, public transportation is very convenient in Singapore. But even a 30-minute commute makes it much harder to get to class or meetings on time. It’s often worth it to pay a little extra to minimize travel time.
Most college students are on a very tight budget, and want to save a penny however they can. But cost isn’t everything. If you feel unhappy in your accommodation, it will ruin your entire college experience. Don’t accept something just because it’s cheap.
Will you have to share a bedroom with someone else? The bedrooms in many HDB’s (government-built housing flats) may be very cramped for two people, and you may end up in a bunk bed.
Some rentals include utilities in the monthly fee. Most require you to share in the utilities. Make sure that the place has high-speed wifi, so you can do your research assignments easily. You won’t want to all of your work in the college library.
Will you be allowed to use the kitchen and living area? If you are renting a room from a family, you may (or may not). Are you allowed to smoke in the room? Have a microwave or hot plate? Are there limitations on when you can come home at night, or leave in the morning? Can you have friends spend the night? Ask before you sign a lease, so you know what you’re getting into.
S P Jain students live in Singapore for only eight months, before they move on to experience our campus in Dubai. But many landlords require a two-year lease. Check the fine print, so you’re not responsible for paying for months when you’ll be somewhere else.
Singaporean landlords can be finnicky in what they ask of tennants. For instance, they might specify that you must remove your shoes before entering the house, or mop the floors at least twice a week. They almost always require that you get the air conditioning serviced (usually at your own expense) every three months. Again, read the fine print.
Theft is very rare in Singapore – except when it comes to bicycles. If you ride a bike, check how difficult it will be to park it safely. Even a heavy chain won’t prevent theives from taking your bicycle from downstairs in an HDB.
Where will you wash your clothes? Is there a washing machine in your unit? Singapore’s climate is hot and humid, so you will end up laundering clothes frequently. Make sure the facilities are convenient and affordable.
What’s nearby? Check out where the grocery store, hawker centers, coffee shops, and community centers are. Having somewhere close to get food is worth a lot. Most importantly, where are the bus and MRT connections? You’ll end up using them every day, and even a few blocks of proximity will make a big difference in your comfort level.
To get all of these criteria in your Singapore student rental, work with a reputable agent. Living off-campus can be amazing, and more affordable than using university hostels. But there can be many complications, too. So choose an agent carefully. Ask for references. Tell your agent what’s important to you. Then trust their expertise.