Post-departure Tips for SMU

By Emma Phillips, Singapore Management University, Singapore.

Since I have now been in Singapore for over six months, here are some of the things you should be aware of when you arrive.

The view from LeVeL 33.


When you arrive I would recommend heading straight to 7-Eleven to get a Sim. I use Singtel but I have heard that Starhub and Simba are also good. I pay $15/month to get 10GB of data and it has worked really well.

Grab / Gojek:

When you arrive in Singapore, get a Grab from the airport to your accommodation (Gojek is usually cheaper, but some people have found that the app requires a Singaporean phone number). The other alternative is the MRT, but unless your accommodation is close to the green line this can be a tiresome commute, especially after a long plane journey! The Grab will also allow you to see some of Singapore.


The EZ-Link card is a rechargeable contactless smart card and electronic money system that is primarily used as a payment method for public transport such as bus and rail lines in Singapore. They can be bought for $5 in most MRT stations and 7-Elevens. I got mine for free when I bought a hoodie from the SMU shop! You can also scan in and out with your bank card, but this is slightly more expensive.

No Knives:

This is quite random but it was a massive culture shock to all of us when we arrived. Learning to eat katsu curry at SMU connexion without one has been a struggle but we have finally learned to adapt. I have definitely got better at using chop sticks too!


Singapore had repeatedly been ranked as one of the safest cities in the world. I have quite happily walked home late at night alone with no issues. This is just a reminder not to take this for granted. I would suggest sharing your location with your friends / family and messaging them when you are home.

The Weather:

The climate is Singapore is very hot and humid all year round (I could probably count the number of days it has been colder than 27°C on one hand). Despite this, you will get cold inside due to the excessive use of air conditioning. A month or so in I was wearing trousers and hoodies to university.

One final tip, leave your umbrella at home at your own risk! Even if you wake up and there is not one cloud in the sky, it is pretty likely that it will rain later in the day. That said, if you actually have your umbrella with you, it probably will not end up raining.

Good luck!!

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