Fast-paced, green, and culturally diverse—these are some things you may have heard about life in Singapore. As a Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA) student at ESSEC Asia-Pacific, you’ll experience this first-hand. But your first order of business? Securing a place to live in that you can call home for the years you are here.

Read on for quick tips on what to consider when choosing your accommodation.

Where do most GBBA students live?

ESSEC Asia-Pacific is located in the West of Singapore, with the nearest MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) stations being One-North on the Circle (orange) line and Buona Vista on the East-West (green) line. As a first-time Singapore visitor, staying in the immediate area would be the most convenient, but if you can’t, don’t worry.

Anywhere along those lines will be equally accessible. The bus network in Singapore is also quite extensive—and checking the bus routes here or using Google Maps can help you narrow your search to locations near the school.

Popular neighborhoods for GBBA students? According to third-year student Jiayin Cai, it’s Holland Village or Botanic Gardens, both found along the Circle (yellow) line.

What housing options are available?

Singapore’s two main housing types are government apartments, known locally as HDB flats, and private condominiums, often with in-built facilities. Private landed houses are also available for rental, but they are much costlier and lack the amenities that both HDB housing and condominiums offer.

“HDBs in Singapore are much more affordable, have better access to transportation, and are located nearer hawker centers and other places to eat,” observes Jiayin, who had explored various housing options before deciding on her current place. “My friends and I decided to only focus on condominiums despite the higher cost because of the amenities within the estate, such as the swimming pool and gym.”

How much can you afford?

Rental costs would vary for location and type of housing; typically, areas nearer City Hall, Orchard, Marina Bay, and Bukit Timah are the most expensive, with prices dropping further out. Homes nearer MRT stations tend to cost more, too. Additionally, across the board, HDBs are cheaper than condos.

One trick to keeping rental costs lower is renting a unit in your location of choice with a few friends, which is precisely what Jiayin did.

“Looking at accommodations with friends is great because not only is it fun to stay together, it’s also more affordable because you can share the cost of living together,” she advises.

Curious about other housing options like co-living spaces, serviced apartments, and hostels? Look out for the second part of this series, where we will explore more housing options!