When I came to Singapore for the first time, I was quite unfamiliar with the new ways of the populous country. I was still quite young so I did not really care about the fact that it was a totally new scenario for me. I took the challenge head-on regarding it as an adventure. My stay here would be at least six years. This is the period I would take to complete my medicine course, so I simply had to adjust. Luckily, I had all the time on my hands.
I had already heard many stories about Singapore and how the country was different in terms of weather, cultures, traditions, food, and customs. I was eager to experience the new environment.
Luckily for me, I had someone who could take me around on my first days after arrival. I had a long distance cousin who was working in the University Town. He had been in Singapore for six years now and was well acquainted with the area. He had even married a Malay lady and they had two children. He was quite at home in Singapore.
I had learnt that housing in Singapore was not really much of a problem. The government had long since ensured that the people of Singapore would not suffer a housing shortage. As such, there are many housing flats in the country where people can afford cheap residence. Being a foreigner can make it tricky to rent or purchase these houses known as Housing and Development Board (HDB) houses. However, having a student pass would make me eligible for a HDB rental.
Initially I would first live with my cousin who had already purchased a HDB flat having acquired citizen ship. I would use his house as we sought for a convenient rental that would be close to my college.
I was not sure whether there were special arrangements for college students in the University I was joining. I suspected that there were some rooms which were provided by the university for students, especially foreign students. Getting a room within the campus would be more convenient for me since I would be close to my lecture halls. The environment would also be conducive for studying compared to the environment around any common room for rent.
I did not need a very big room since I had very few personal effects. I expected to acquire furniture locally; such as a bed, a wardrobe, and a reading desk. I hoped that the room that I got would have ready installed furniture that would save me the trouble of buying furniture that I would probably discard after my study period.
Food was the other big issue that was clouding my mind. I was aware that there were all kinds of foods in Singapore. I was however assured that I could still get foods that I was accustomed to. I did not mind trying the new cuisine though. The issue was getting the food conveniently. I did not want to be depending on my own cooking while still studying. As such it was important that I would get a rental house that was in the proximity of a cheap dependable eating spot.