The Covid-19 pandemic has been hogging international headlines, and for good reason. It is the cause of rapidly shifting dynamics: With changing priorities, consumption methods and a shutdown of global borders and supply lines. Leading to what many perceive to be a deglobalising world.

Even so, students around the world are still seeking to study in a country not their own, in search of a better programme, another culture, or just the overall experience of striking out as a young individual.

Ordinarily, Singapore would stand out among Asian countries as an ideal choice for students looking to further their education in: This is for a myriad of reasons, including degree recognition and university ranking, with Singapore’s NUS and NTU both occupying spots in the top 20 universities in the world.

However, as with most other countries, the pandemic situation has caused differences in learning, teaching and global transportation.

Singapore’s Changi Airport dropped from the 7th to 58th on the world’s busiest airports list. (Image Credit:

As an inbound student, or simply someone looking to complete their university education in Singapore. it would be foolish not to acknowledge the changes higher education in Singapore has undergone considering the coronavirus.

In this article, we will look at how things have changed for inbound students in search of a Singaporean university education during these exceptional times.

Hybrid Classes for Every Student type

With Safe-distancing and safe-entry procedures in place, university courses have embraced a mix of online and face to face sessions. As of December 2020, some smaller tutorials for more rigorous subjects are conducted face to face.

The National University of Singapore terms their incarnation of this system “hybrid classes”, where students can “attend class in person, online, or both, including watching the class recording afterwards.” As described by NUS Business School Dean Professor Andrew Rose

A concept image by video communications technology company, Zoom, showing off how a Zoom-assisted hybrid class might look like (Credit: Zoom)

While specifics may vary, the hybrid system local universities like NUS and NTU gives foreign students starting their terms the chance to experience campus life while concurrently ensuring that students stuck overseas due to travel restrictions do not miss out on the curriculum. A move aimed at giving students the confidence to go through their semester both on-campus or from the comfort of home without the risk of international flight.

For those who are holding out for the full Singaporean college experience, or for those who prefer face to face sessions and a physical college experience over online lessons, universities also support students who choose to take a Leave of Absence for the affected semesters, until they can return.

Though most foreign students found their university experience deferred at the start of the global pandemic, as of end 2020, most universities have reported that their foreign students are back in Singapore and starting their terms as scheduled.

“We will continue to support the remaining international students with the submission of their applications to the relevant agencies to obtain the necessary approvals,” an NUS spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Offline Classes Essential to the University Experience

In an age where information is available freely in the worldwide web, it can be argued that the value of universities is found in its physical halls, where students can exchange views, debate and collaborate.

The exchange of ideas in a physical environment provides opportunities for students to engage with their peers and seniors. This enables them to develop communication skills essential for the workforce and to generate original ideas on problems and subjects.

Besides revealing and reinforcing the importance of technology in institutions. The pandemic has also served to highlight the essential part face-to-face classes play in the university experience.

With challenge comes evolution. The pandemic has motivated Singapore’s institutes of higher learning to embrace technology, push the envelope in innovation, as well as to relook what is important in its student’s education. These have led to structural changes and hybrid classes that are here to stay.