One of the most common fixtures in Singapore's Starbucks and fast food outlets are the phenomenon of students hogging seats for hours on end to study, often nursing only a single drink. Some of them can even be spotted sleeping.
Did you know you can save up to $766 a year by foregoing your usual Starbucks drink? Instead of hogging the tables at eating places with books and lecture notes strewn everywhere, here are 6 free or cheap places where students can study at.
Libraries these days are getting pretty swanky with aesthetically pleasing interiors and plush seats. Library@Orchard has stylish reading corners, while the main National Library branch has a dedicated study room and a rooftop garden where students can take a breather in-between cram sessions.
They also have numerous power points for laptop/phone charging, and some libraries like Ang Mo Kio Public Library and Woodlands Regional Library even have Cafe Galilee outlets inside so you can easily get a cuppa as you study.
If you can fight the urge to stop and pose for fancy Instagram selfies, these are really conducive spaces to get lost in your lecture notes.
2. Community Clubs
No, community clubs (CCs) are not just places for senior citizens to go and learn sewing or do taichi, neither are they just places for you to meet your MPs during Chinese New Year. Most CCs have conducive, well-equipped study rooms.
In Nee Soon South CC, there's an air-conditioned study room with about 20 seats opened from 9am to 10pm daily. They charge a membership fee of $12 per year. Comparatively, that's the equivalent of 2 trips to Starbucks!
Bishan CC also has a study room with about 15 tables, open from 9am to 10pm daily. During exam periods, it opens 24 hours, with snacks and drinks available for free.
Ranked one of the world's best airports, and in the eyes of local students, also ranked the most popular study haunts in Singapore. It's open 24/7, has free Wi-Fi, and not to mention free air-conditioning too. There are also multiple eateries for you to find comfort food when you're feeling peckish from exam stress.
There are many peaceful common areas, like the aviation gallery at Terminal 3, where you can find students sprawled on the carpets concentrating on their Ten Year Series.
Just remember to never to leave your belongings unattended because with the high security in the area, people might notify the police if they feel your belongings are suspicious. Wouldn't want to lose that laptop three days before an exam, would you?
Studying here would make total sense, because these buildings are literally meant for education. Most people do not know this, but some parts of university grounds are open to public access.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) has numerous study spots. One of the more popular spots is the area in front of the Basement 1 Starbucks. It's technically the Education Resource Centre and not owned by Starbucks, so you don't really have to buy a drink to sit at the tables.
Another favourite (possibly since it's situated in the heart of town) is Singapore Management University (SMU). At the ground level and basement level, there are empty chairs and tables all around the public access areas with power plugs and Wi-Fi. So grab a table, blend in, and study away.
5. Pay-per-use study areas
Pay-per-use study areas such as Desk Next Door and The Study Area have sprung up recently, with entrepreneurs tapping on the increasing competition among students vying for good study spaces. For a flat fee, students can book a desk space to study for hours at a stretch, and have access to Wi-Fi and power points, and even beverages and snacks.
Most of the services charge an average of $1 an hour, with cheaper rates if you book a seat for longer stretches of time. This can spur students on to study more, since the longer you sit there the less you pay.
So I learnt this recently for myself while visiting a sick relative at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Yishun. There were students all around the ground level hanging out and studying at the available tables. I guess they enjoyed the quietness and sense of calm and serenity. If you're not germophobic about catching a virus, the area can be quite conducive and beautiful with the sprawling view of Yishun Pond stretching into the distance.
Hospitals are also open round the clock. While there's no convenient access to power plugs, there’s usually free Wi-Fi courtesy of Wireless@SG.