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Helpful Tips For Co-op Students Going to Singapore

Purpose: This document was created to help you prepare the necessary documents and funds
BEFORE your departure to Singapore. This information may help to prevent some difficulties with
paperwork and make it an easier transition for you.



There are several things to consider when doing a work term in a different country. Here are some tips to make this experience as successful as it can be.

*The information below has either been provided by Co-op students who have previously gone to Singapore, or has been collected from various websites. UBC Science Co-op is not responsible for the quality of service provided by these vendors.


There are numerous banking institutions in Singapore and all offer different services. Opening a bank account is generally easy, although it is worth checking what the requirements of individual banks are. As a general rule, you will need your passport, proof of address and your student’s pass/visa to open an account. A minimum deposit amount (S$500-1000) may also be required.



Health Insurance: It is absolutely necessary that all students travelling abroad should have extended health travel insurance or health insurance coverage in their own country (i.e. students returning to their home countries for a co-op work term). Your provincial health care may not be enough to cover emergencies that could happen while you are abroad. Coverage can be through your existing health insurance provider. It is important that you read through your policy in order to be aware of what is included (i.e. most insurance policies will not cover high-risk activities such as sky diving, scuba diving, etc). Ensure that your insurance has all the services that you will need including access to multilingual staff, medical evacuation to Canada or the nearest location, a medical escort and emergency dental care, etc. Also, remember to bring a copy of your health insurance contract, and policy number with you. Talk to your insurance provider about additional insurance that you might need.


Housing costs can vary greatly and will be your greatest cost while living in Singapore. The below information was collected from various websites and is an estimate of rental housing costs. To save on housing costs, most students opt to live in shared accommodations with a shared bathroom. Usually this type of housing does not have a full kitchen so students will need to eat out for most meals.

Average costs found on various websites:

Costs according to previous Co-op students:

  • Room in private condo/apartment: SGD 800-1300/month
  • Room in house: SGD 800-900/month
  • If you are on a tight budget, living in a government housing flat (called HDB flats) is a very reasonable option. Most HDB flats are within close proximity to basic facilities such as banks, local schools, markets, polyclinics, libraries, shopping malls and train and bus stations. These apartments do not usually come with luxury amenities like swimming pools or gyms. Rental costs for HDB units depend on the location and size of the unit.
  • Renting a room - Rent for a room in a private apartment in prime districts such as East Coast, River Valley and Chinatown costs approximately S$800 – S$1,800. Monthly room rental in an HDB flat can range anywhere between S$500 to S$800 depending upon the location and size of the room.
  • A*Star Award Program – Employer may provide a list of recommended places to stay Housing resources:

    Things to consider when making your decision:


    Bus: You can pay your bus fare using an EZ-Link stored-value card or the Singapore Tourist Pass (STP), which you tap on the card reader located next to the driver as you board. Do remember to tap your card again, on the reader located at the rear exit, when you exit. You can also pay in cash but you will need to have exact change.

    Train: The train (MRT) system is an efficient and affordable way to get around the island. You can buy tickets for single trips, but if you intend to use the MRT and basic bus services frequently during your visit, you can buy a Singapore Tourist Pass (STP), a special EZ-Link stored-value card which will allow you unlimited travel for one day (S$10), two days (S$16) or three days (S$20). The cards can be bought at various TransitLink Ticket Offices or at Automated STP Kiosks at Changi Airport MRT.

    Document Preparation

    Medical exam: Students may need to complete a medical exam (~$100) in Vancouver prior to departure.

    Visa Type: Temporary Employment Pass (TEP) – this Visa is required in order to work in Singapore

    Additional Advice

    Food: Hawker Centers, Food Courts, and “Kopi-tiams” are great places to sample local cuisine affordably.

    Social: Singapore Exchange Students Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OneBigFamily.SG/

    Traveler tips websites:

    Flights: http://singpromos.com