For students looking for a world-class education, Singapore undoubtedly qualifies as a home away from home for thousands of Indonesians studying there.
Education in Singapore
Singapore is the premier education hub, a “Global Schoolhouse” offering a diverse and distinctive mix of educational services in a safe, cosmopolitan and comfortable environment.
Available are affordable, quality and well-rounded educational options with a broad-based curriculum and global perspective to equip students with the relevant qualifications and training that serves as a springboard to a brighter future.
Tuition fees are affordable and the cost of living in Singapore is still significantly lower than many developed countries. And when it’s time to put away the books, sports, entertainment and myriad fascinating sights and sounds beckon.
The city-state’s proximity encourages students to visit home during academic breaks and also gives the experience of living away from home in preparation for university to develop independence or English language skills. For most Indonesian students in Singapore, studying hard is the key to surviving in the “very competitive” multicultural educational environment.
Other than being very strong in mathematics and sciences, Singapore education also excels in teaching of English and Chinese, particularly attractive to students of Chinese descent in Indonesia. In addition, the co-curriculum activities ensure that students build leadership potential, and also pursue their talents in music, the performing arts and sports.
International Student Accommodation
When parents pick an overseas education for their children, accommodation often becomes a very complicated and difficult decision. The issues include not merely the financial costs, and geographic location, but also the requirement of a conducive and safe environment, where students can study and live comfortably.
The choice of the right accommodation depends on budget, length of stay and personal circumstances. Options available are boardinghouses, home stays and even rented housing. Most boarding hostels offer rooms ranging from single to two and four-bedded rooms. Standard services include laundry, meals, computer facilities, television, sporting facilities on site, etc. The boardinghouses are usually located close to popular schools with easy access to public transport.
Student boardinghouses in Singapore brand themselves as “one-stop” service providers for international students aged 10 to 18, including full-time guardianship, accommodation with meals and laundry, counseling and after-school care. Other services offered include government and international school admission services. They function at a high level of professionalism and excellence in guardianship, boarding and educational services.
Some other key benefits of a staying in a boardinghouse are the development of students’ self-confidence and self-management skills while still providing a safety net of guardianship. Additional general services provided by the boarding houses are airport pick up, orientation and healthcare. Boardinghouse rules safeguard student’s safety and well-being.
Studies show the routines of a boardinghouse ensure students have a balance between academic and leisure pursuits, resulting in dedicated time for homework and other interests such as sport, music or community service.
Students also vouch for the benefits of boardinghouse living. ‘The boardinghouse is definitely something I will never forget! I’ve been in boarding since Year 10 and must say that it has been the smooth sailing part of my life,” said Michael Wong, who recently finished his schooling in Singapore.
“If you really think about it, boarding is basically living in a big house surrounded by your closest friends. Every night is a social event and whilst all this is happening your homework seems a lot simpler when you have 70 other brothers and sisters to help you with it. The staff in the boardinghouse become your parents so if you ever have any problems you can just go to see them to sort things out. I honestly love the boardinghouse.”
Home stay is another option available to students, and is generally a better option for younger students compared to dormitories. Here a family provides family-style living. This reduces stress and anxiety for students, who can concentrate on their studies. The caregiver family monitors the child’s progress and provides feedback to parents.
There are 33 long-term student accommodations available according to a 2012 study of the Singapore Education which included boardinghouses and home stays. An international student in Singapore spends on average of about S$750 to S$2,000 a month on living expenses. The amount, of course, varies depending on the student’s individual lifestyle and course of study.
As students such as Michael attest, suitable boardinghouses, home stays or student hostels in Singapore can provide an integrative environment and a rich and varied experience for international school students to learn and grow together.
It teachers them to become independent, inspired and enriched both socially and intellectually.