As of 1 Dec 2005, the foreign student population is 66,000. This is a 16,000 increase over the last 3 years. Students from China form the biggest group at 33,000, follows by Malaysians and Indonesians at 8,000 each. Vietnam and India are relatively new in this market but their student population have grown rapidly to 4,000 each. Myanmar has about 1,800 and South Korea with 7,000.
The rest of the students in smaller groups come from the Phillippines, Thailand, Kampuchea, Pakistan, Taiwan, Maldives, Madagascar, Nigeria, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. There are also students coming from Europe and America.
The attraction of Singapore as an education hub is the relatively cheaper cost and quality education provided by reputable local and international universities. For the asian students, many quoted a east west environment as the most important consideration, to be able to learn English in an asian society and in the presence of asian languages like Chinese, Indian, and of course Malay. European or American students see Singapore as a stepping stone to learn Chinese and Chinese culture.
And the presence of top notch universities, and brand name post graduate courses are also important factor for these students.
Then there is the generally safe and peaceful environment where students can move around and socialise freely and feeling very at ease with the local people. Government agencies and support for students also help to make Singapore a choice location for students wanting an international envirionment with English as a medium of instruction.
With more government encouragement, the student population is set to grow and more foreign universities will also open their campus here.