4,987,600 people (2009 estimate)
Chinese (75%), Malays (14%), Indians (9%), Eurasians and others (2%)
Common Languages Spoken:
English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil
31.1?C (Max); 24.7?C (Min)
The Singapore dollar (SG$), SG$1 = RMB4.8; SG$1 = US$0.7
The Republic of Singapore sits at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula, directly on the equator. The overall area of the entire island measures approximately 710 square kilometers, and the Singaporean government has been reclaiming land from the ocean in recent years to make up for the city-state’s lack of surface area.
A former British colony, Singapore achieved independence from the British empire in 1963, and joined the then newly-formed neighboring Federation of Malaysia that same year.
It seceded from the Federation in 1965, however, due to ideological conflicts between the city-state’s ruling governmental party and the federal government of Malaysia. Singapore thus achieved sovereignty on August 9, 1965, and has been an independent nation ever since.
Despite limited land space and natural resources, the city-state has become one of the wealthiest trading ports in the Asia Pacific region and one of the busiest in the world.
Contrary to its highly-urbanized make-up, Singapore is surprisingly unpolluted, and the island is peppered with numerous strategically-placed green lungs. This is mostly due to the government’s well-known obsession with cleanliness and environmentally-sustainable living.
The entire island is covered by an extensive, efficient public transport network, and getting around via subways, monorails, public buses, and taxis is easy. Purchasing a car of your own, however, can be somewhat pricey due to various initiatives to discourage private vehicles.
Be warned. Singapore has very stringent immigration laws, and this is reflected in the multi-layered process of applying for a student visa.
Individuals applying for a Singaporean student visa (also known as a Student’s Pass) can only submit their application two months before the commencement of their course (no earlier), and at least one month before the course commences.
Here are the basic steps to apply for a Student’s Pass.
1. Apply online via the Student’s Pass On-Line Application and Registration (SOLAR) system at www.ica.gov.sg and fill in eForm 16.
2. Submit the form online. Print out a copy and attach a recent passport-sized photo to it.
3. If your application is approved, an In-Principle Approvement (IPA) letter will be sent to you via your university along with a temporary visitor’s visa. This will grant you entry into Singapore.
4. Upon arrival at Singapore, your university may conduct an offsite enrollment session for international students, depending on their arrangements with you. Provide them with your printout of the eForm 16 and any necessary documents that they ask for, and they will handle the remainder of the process for you.
But… If your university does not host an offsite enrolment session, or if you miss the session altogether, you will have to complete the formalities for a Student’s Pass yourself. Consult www.ica.gov.sg for the proper procedures.