"The people I met at CP became my family (in Singapore)."
Fairy lights dotted the terrace while balloons swayed gently in the wind. In the warm glow of candlelight, Hajar Belhaje and her friends had gathered to celebrate one of their birthdays.
Lounging in comfy sofas on the rooftop terrace of their CP apartment with drinks in their hands, the four exchange students ate and chatted late into the night.
This idyllic experience would always be Hajar’s favourite memory of her time in Singapore. The 21-year-old, who had already graduated with a law degree at Leiden University in the Netherlands, was here on a four-month exchange programme that ended in April 2022. She had come to take on additional modules at the Singapore Management University (SMU).
But a futile hunt for a suitable apartment nearly thwarted her plans. “Everything was either too far away from school or too expensive,” she recounted. Just as she and another German exchange student were about to give up hope, they stumbled upon the CP website. Within a few days, an apartment was arranged for the two and they arrived in December 2021, brimming with excitement.
more than a house – A HOME
To Hajar, the two-bedroom apartment in River Valley was not just a place to rest her head at night. Staying with CP also opened the door to a whole new community. “Co-living helped me to make lots of friends and gave me a place to hang out with them,” she said.
Her favourite spot in the apartment was, of course, the rooftop terrace, where she and her flatmates spent many fun and memorable moments together.
“It’s a nice open space to chill and have meals together,” she said.
Besides her three flatmates, Hajar also found a friend in CP community manager Elizaveta Sukhomlinova, better known as Eliza. “We had some struggles early on with our apartment, but Eliza was a great help.”
When a bulb blew in their apartment, for instance, Eliza quickly arranged for a handyman to go down the next day. Needless to say, Eliza made Hajar feel even more at home.
“I thought I would miss my family but I didn’t in the end. The people I met at CP became my family (in Singapore).”