Note: this article is most relevant to students undergoing exchange at Singapore Management University (SMU), or students at NUS/NTU whose preference is to live in the city

1. Finding housemates
Apartment living in Singapore is cosy. Generally, a three bedroom apartment would be shared between six students. My initial response to this was apprehension – sharing a room with a stranger for four months could go sour. My concerns were relieved after speaking with a friend. His experience was that the people who shared a room formed the strongest bonds – and that those who had a room to themselves missed out on this opportunity. My experience has confirmed this – here’s a photo of SMU campus with my roommates Ced, from Germany, and Marjorie, from Brazil.


As an exchange student at SMU, finding housemates is relatively straightforward. About three months prior to your exchange, the university will create a Facebook group for exchange students. You can post in here to introduce yourself, or wait for others to post and find a group that you think you will fit. I’ve attached an example below of my introduction post.


I wanted a multicultural household – my housemates are from Brazil, Germany, Finland and the Netherlands. Two of us are male, and four female, which made it easier to divide up the rooms. By scrolling through others’ posts, you will be able to select housemates who you think will match.


2. Finding an apartment
The first tip is to work out your priorities for finding an apartment. This could be cost, proximity to university, or the fit out of the apartment.

Be prepared to fork out – most three-bedroom apartments will cost between roughly $AUD1000-1100 per month. The biggest housing company for exchange students is Singapore Housing Company. They essentially rent out hundreds of apartments on long term leases at favourable rates and sublease them to exchange students on four month terms. The apartments are furnished and the company is very responsive to requests.

Alternatively, you can seek out local agents. You will be able to find them through local booking sites like http://www.propertyguru.com.sg. Regardless of where you shop for an apartment, it is standard practice in Singapore to charge steep, non-refundable administration fees – usually around $SGD2400.

For me, my main priority was proximity to SMU campus and the city. I found that accommodation further from campus was not much less expensive. If proximity is also important to you, there are four residences I would consider: Sunshine Plaza, Sophia Residence, 8 Mount Sophia, or Citron Residences.

All of these apartments are about a five-minute walk from SMU campus. There are lots of great food options around, including the Little India precinct (10-minute walk), as well as local attractions like the National Museum, Clarke Quay, Bugis Street markets, and Little Arabia. Marina Bay Sands is a 20-30 minute walk or a short trip via the metro.

outside my apartment


Most apartments will have a pool and some will have a gym. Sunshine Plaza, where I am living, has a fantastic pool but a very simple gym (there is also a free university gym on SMU campus). Because so many SMU exchange students live at Sunshine Plaza, the pool is often a place where we meet and hang out.

Congratulations on choosing Singapore for exchange and best of luck securing your accommodation!