Singapore Study Abroad Country Profile

Singapore Overview

Study abroad programs in Singapore will expose students to the diversity of this island city-state. Singapore is the smallest country in the region of Southeast Asia, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in variety. This 275 square mile country is home to just under five million people with four official languages, dozens of countries of origin, and nearly as many practiced religions. Different parts of the country reflect these widely varied influences, from the Neo-classical buildings that mark the impact of British colonialism, to Arab Street, Little India, and Chinatown. Colorful, vibrant festivals marking major cultural and religious traditions for various groups are celebrated throughout the year.

Cultural Highlights

Because of its incredible ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity, there is no one culture that is truly typical of Singapore. When it comes to language, Chinese language groups are the most predominant at nearly 75%, though Malays, Indians, Europeans, and Arabs are also represented linguistically. When it comes to religion, Buddhism and Taoism are dominant, with just over 50% of the population practicing one of the two. Muslims comprise another major religious group at 15% of the population. Other religions practiced in Singapore include Christianity, with various denominations from Catholicism to Protestantism. Sikhs, Hindus, and other religions are present in the country, though practiced by small minorities.

As you might imagine, the cuisine of Singapore has been greatly influenced by this high cultural diversity, and one would be hard pressed not to find something that appeals to them. Singapore’s high level of diversity permeates nearly every aspect of life in the city-state.

Popular Fields of Study

Since Singapore is not very large, study abroad programs there will often allow students the chance to travel elsewhere in the region, typically across the border to Malaysia. There are a variety of Singapore study abroad programs for students interested in Singapore, many associated with colleges or universities here in the United States. Singapore is a good destination for studies of Southeast Asia. Programs on topics like Asian business and global economics are popular, as are programs in engineering or technology in one of Singapore’s several universities. Language programs are also popular; Singapore recognizes four languages – English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil – as national languages.

Why Study Abroad in Singapore?

Singapore has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Singapore.

1. Languages

Despite being a small country, Singapore recognizes four languages as national languages – English, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Tamil. English speaking students without proficiency in these other languages will be able to get around.

2. Diversity

Almost every aspect of life in Singapore shows evidence of its phenomenal diversity. Students will meet people from all walks of life and religious backgrounds.

3. Cuisine

Foodies will be right at home in Singapore. Its food is ass diverse as its people, and you can taste the flavors of an entire geographic region in one place.

4. Regional Access

An immediate neighbor of Malaysia and in close proximity to a number of other countries, Singapore study abroad participants will have a great starting point for travels around Southeast Asia.

5. Festivals

Because so many cultures converge in one place in Singapore, the city-state is host to a variety of different festivals throughout the year.

6. Friendly People

The people you will meet in Singapore are friendly and eager to help you find your way.

7. Burkit Timar Nature Reserve

Lowland rainforest in the middle of the city! A great place to explore and get some exercise.

8. Clean

Despite being a major metropolis, Singapore is incredibly clean. A high standard of cleanliness carries through from street vendors to public bathrooms.

9. Shopping

With such a wide variety of goods and the sheer abundance of stores, there is something for everyone in Singapore.

10. Basics Are Inexpensive

Basics like food and public transportation are inexpensive. A filling meal can be had for $3 USD.

Singapore Study Abroad Statistics

Singapore Country Ranking: 30+

(based on estimated total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: less than 1%
  • Total US Students 2009/10: less than 1,000
  • Total US Students 2008/09: less than 1,000
  • Yearly 2009/10 Trend: N/A
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