Pre-departure Tips for SMU

By Emma Phillips, Singapore Management University, Singapore.

I have now been in Singapore for six months, so I have had time to reflect upon the application process. Here are my top tips for anyone who is moving to Singapore, and more specifically attending SMU.


Unfortunately, SMU only has a tiny amount of accommodation open to exchange students. This means that finding suitable accommodation can be quite the task, especially when you have to find it from the other side of the globe. Due to the fact that Singapore is the most expensive city in the world finding housing that does not go over budget is near impossible.

Some tips to make the process slightly easier:

  • Find other people from Manchester that are going to Singapore. You may be able to share an apartment with them.
  • Join the SMU Facebook group chat. Many other students who have already secured accommodation post that they are looking for an extra flatmate. This is also a good way to make friends with people who are not from the UK. All part of the exchange experience!
  • Consider sharing a room. I have shared a room for six months and it has been lots of fun. You will most likely hardly be in your room anyway so there is no point in paying more rent to have your own room. I’d recommend setting up a zoom call beforehand to see if you get along!
  • The closest MRT stations to SMU are Bencoolen, Dhoby Ghaut and Bras Basah. A lot of students live near Little India or Geylang. To be honest, Singapore’s MRT is so efficient, it does not really matter where abouts on the island you stay (but the closer to the centre the better).

Some useful websites are:

  • Property Guru.
  • Ohmyhome.
  • Roomies.

Some places people I know have stayed in:

  • Eton Hall Residential.
  • Sturdee Residences.
  • Caliwoo.
  • Marina Bay @ Sail.
  • City Square Residences.
  • Atrium Residences.
  • Cove.
  • Lyf.
  • Sunshine Plaza.


Unlike Manchester allocation of courses is not done on a first come first served basis. Each student is given 100 e$ to bid on the modules they would like to take. There are three windows, so if you do not get the required amount of courses on the first round, you get refunded and you have to try again.

On the BOSS website you are able to look at bids from previous semesters. To do this go to Quick Links > Overall BOSS Results. This can give you an idea of how popular the course is and how high you need to bid. Remember to change the setting to the round you are bidding in. The first exchange student round is 1C.

Most importantly I recommend you organise your classes so that you get a long weekend. When you are bidding for modules you will be able to see the day and time of the class. Use this to your advantage and organise your schedule so you have more time for travelling! Ranoh Island, Kuala Lumpur and Bintan are some of the places I have been to over the weekends.


Some items you should bring:

  • Hoodies – Air conditioning can make lectures very cold.
  • Lots of nice evening clothes – The nightlife is very classy.
  • Adapter – Although Singapore uses UK plugs, many of the countries surrounding it use European plugs.
  • Umbrella – It rains (A LOT).
  • Sun cream – Very expensive in Singapore.

Some items you do not need:

  • More than two pairs of jeans – The average daily temperature is around 30 degrees.
  • A puffer jacket – Again, it is very hot.
  • Heels – There are opportunities to wear them but I opt for flats every time.

I hope this helps!

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