Instead of Hogging Seats at Fastfood and Coffee Joints, Students Can Study at These 5 Free or Cheap Places


Joanne Poh



Think Starbucks and images of people reading books while sipping on frappucinos spring to mind. Think McDonald’s and greasy burgers getting wolfed down by teenagers in trendy streetwear are the first thing you think of.

Uh… unless you’re in Singapore. The most common fixtures at our local Starbucks and McDonalds are students occupying tables for upwards of five hours with a single drink, textbooks and lecture notes strewn everywhere. Some of them can even be spotted sleeping.

Instead of hogging the tables at coffee and fast food joints, here are five cheap places where students can study.



You might not want to hang around your own school longer than you have to, but remember that that’s not the only place in Singapore with a library. Those who need silence or prefer to study solo can head to one of the numerous National Library branches. There are libraries in many neighbourhoods, so you don’t have to travel far if that’s an issue.

[email protected] has stylish reading nooks, while the main National Library branch has a dedicated study room and a rooftop garden where students are often seen catching Pokemon in between cram sessions. The only drawback is that most libraries close around 9pm.

Free: Yes

Wifi: Yes

24 hours: No



There have been reports of Singaporeans making the airport their home, and it’s really not that surprising. The airport is the country’s pride and joy, and probably a lot nicer than many of our actual homes. There’s free wifi, F&B outlets open around the clock, and many peaceful common areas you where you can concentrate on that Ten Year Series, like the aviation gallery at Terminal 3. It’s also open 24/7, which makes it perfect for students who want to burn the midnight oil and take the first train home.

Free: Yes

Wifi: Yes

24 hours: Yes



To be honest, the idea of studying while dead bodies are being wheeled in behind you doesn’t sound very appealing. But some students choose to study at hospitals because they’re open round the clock, and there are often common areas or F&B outlets with tables they can use. Oh, and there’s usually also free wireless courtesy of [email protected] Hospitals tend to be deathly quiet, well except on the rare occasion someone’s wheeled in screaming in pain.

Free: Yes

Wifi: Yes

24 hours: Yes


HDB void decks and condo reading rooms

Many students complain about not being able to study at home, whether due to the presence of noisy family members or the twin temptations of the computer and the TV. Since most Singaporeans live in high rise buildings, they have the option of simply nipping downstairs to the void deck, where there is almost always some form of seating, or to the common areas of their condos.

Free: Yes

Wifi: No

24 hours: Yes for HDB void decks, no for condo reading rooms


Pay-to-use study spaces

Adults who work from home can turn to (often costly) coworking spaces. And now students can enjoy the same sort of facilities, but at a much lower price. Pay-to-use study spaces like Desk Next Door and The Study Area enable students to book a desk and enjoy the use of facilities such as wifi and charging stations. These cost an average of $1 an hour, which can spur students to study more efficiently, since the longer they sit there the more they pay.

Free: No

Wifi: Yes

24 hours: Sometimes

As a student, where do you usually study? Tell us in the comments!

Keep updated with all the news!

Tags: ,

Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.