STEP 1 – KNOW IN ADVANCE WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, AND DO IT
Simple enough, sure. But, from my experience, it’s very easy to hinder yourself when you are constantly unsure of what to do and when to do it. You’ll probably already have an idea of what to expect, as well as have in mind what needs to happen. However you’re not really provided with the specifics until you’ve been accepted by NUS.
When NUS accepted my application, around the end of June, I had roughly 6 weeks or so to finalize all preparations for Singapore ( i.e flights, accommodation, visa, injections). It wasn’t a lot of time but it was just enough. Luckily, all the important information was provided via email by the NUS administration. The acceptance email contained step by step lists of what needed to be done and when they needed to be done. This is what to expect:
a) Top of the list is the link for the Student Pass application form via Singapore immigration web page. Overall the Student pass application is pretty straight forward. Firstly before you begin, you’ll need your passport handy, and a digital copy of your passport photo at 480×514 in size. Once logged into the site, all you do is fill out the form, attach the photo, and pay S$30 application fee. The application takes around 5/7 working days to be processed and when successful there is an additional insurance fee of S$60 paid. Remember to print out a copy of the application, as well as the receipts as proof of payment.
b) If you’re staying for longer than 6 month there is a compulsory medical assessment which must be completed, where you must be clear of both Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV. You can get this test done when you arrive in Singapore at the NUS Health Clinic but it is best get checked in advance so that you may be processed for your student pass immediately.
One piece of advice I’d give you is to get tested through the NHS. When I found out about the medical form it was too late to book the tests through the NHS and so I ended up paying £250 overall! If you want to save some money I’d recommend that you schedule an x-ray through the NHS via your GP. Additionally, you should book a general sexual check up where you’ll be tested for various other viruses and diseases in addition to HIV. Through NHS Scotland this would cost roughly £65 verses £125 ( an estimate) you’d be charged by a private facility. However as it takes a little longer to set up appointments through NHS, I’d advice that you book these tests soon after the initial application to NUS yet the tests must be carried out no earlier than 3 months prior to flying out. Never the less, the sooner the better. This advice also applies to any other medical issues you may need to address ( i.e injections, repeat prescriptions, etc)
c) Also the NUS admission email will encourage you to apply for accommodation via https://uhms.nus.edu.sg/Pre-Matstudents. Apply ASAP as accommodation is on a first come first serve basis! However do your research first as some student hostels don’t have WiFi or air-con, whilst others provide meal plans. When you apply there is a S$26 application fee to be paid when you complete the form, as well as a S$200 deposit once your application is successful.
Lastly, in terms of booking flights, I’d advice you shop around for prices before June – especially on websites such as https://www.studentuniverse.com which offer exclusive student prices. I booked a one way flight from Glasgow to Singapore flying with Emirates on the Student Universe website for £450! Which was actually amazing as on the Emirates website the same flight was advertised at £680.
STEP 2 : THE BALANCING ACT
Retrospectively, I’ve come to notice that the majority of the stressful situations that occurred during preparations were very much caused by my inability to distance myself from the future. No doubt when you’re putting in work to make a goal a
reality, it’s very easy to forget to be present. For instance, I put so much of myself into planning and preparing for Singapore that much so that when certain situations arose that threatened my plans I experienced anxiety and lost a lot of perspective.
I would say that the best way to stay happy, healthy and secure is to find a balance between preparing for the future and being present. For instance, for me I found that being present meant dedicating more to family and friends, as well as for myself. However if you’re the opposite, you should definitely set time aside to complete each tasks sent to you by the NUS admission team. Just take everything one step at time and before you know it, all will align.