A guide to living in, for international students in China

A guide to living in, for international students in China

There are various reasons why you should study in China. It’s a great opportunity to study in the world’s most populous country. You can experience and enjoy a mixture of ancient and modern civilizations both in one country which is full of different cultures and dialects.

China exudes both tradition and modernity, its rich history spanning over 5000 years, seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Forbidden City, and thriving cities such as Shanghai are some of the reasons why you should come to China.

Being the second-largest economy in the world, working and studying in China would be extremely rewarding.

That’s why many students around the world choose to study in China they have the chance to meet people from all over the world and expand their network. If you are in China, you have the strong chance to meet the company’s executives from different industries, it will definitely polish your skills.

In addition, Chinese prices are very affordable; the cost of living and tuition fees are on average much lower compared to other continents.

In addition, the Chinese government is investing heavily in education in order to gain more international recognition. You will therefore be able to get the best education at a price you can afford.

Learn the language: China has different dialects. Two main languages are spoken in China: Mandarin and Cantonese. Students are usually faced with the dilemma of which language to learn. It is recommended to learn Mandarin as it is the official language of China and Taiwan and is used in most Chinese schools, colleges, and universities. Although it is a bit difficult to practice. However, if you plan to study in China for the next three/or four years, you need to know the basics of the language to orient yourself and also to enrich your knowledge.

Find out about your universities: The top three universities in China are Tsinghua University, Peking University (both in Beijing), and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. Tsinghua and Zhejiang Universities are general universities with an emphasis on engineering, while Peking University focuses more on natural sciences and humanities. As per report by QS World Ranking, Zhejiang University has recently been overtook the more famous Tsinghua University to become the highest-ranked university in China. However, the best university to study can be chosen as per your preferred study and the specialization to pursue.

Adapt to the culture: Chinese language and culture are very different from those of other countries, but you may find some similarities between the two places. Although it will be difficult to get used to their eating habits and general way of life, once you start to get a feel for it, you will love it. You should get along with the local students and learn more about their culture, traditions, festivals, films, society, etc.

Keeping in touch: Although the internet is the most convenient way to keep in touch with family and friends, students still have reservations about the internet because of censorship problems in China. The mobile phone is another way to keep in touch with family. There are two ways to use a mobile phone in China:

(1) Students who wish to use the phone numbers allocated by local telecommunications operators should make sure that the local mobile operator has switched on the “international roaming service” before entering China. If you want to use your phone from home, make sure you have a compatible GSM/GPRS 900/1800 dual-band mobile phone with you (the phone must be unlocked). This can be expensive.

(2) International students may also purchase SIM phone cards and prepaid phone cards to use all services provided by local mobile operators. China Mobile prepaid phone cards are available in different price categories. When your prepaid SIM card credit runs out, you can conveniently purchase a top-up card at any newsagent.

Accommodation/Security: There are mainly two ways to find information about renting apartments. Firstly, you can go to any real estate agency and use their services or visit a real estate website. The commission is the same as one month’s rent. Secondly, you can find information on the internet, but most advertisements are placed by agents. In Beijing, signing a tenancy agreement with the landlord is common and you should ask the landlord to show your property ownership certificate to avoid fraud. Although most universities in Beijing are located in the western part of the city, students usually consider living in the eastern part. This is because most of the restaurants, bars, clubs, as well as international hospitals and foreign beauty salons etc., are located on the east side.


Living in one of the largest countries with the largest population in the world, living in China can be an overwhelming experience for most people. When international students decide to study in China, many of them worry that the lifestyle in China is completely different from their home country and they may find it difficult to adjust to their new study life in China.

The number of higher education institutions in China has doubled in the last decade and there are now nearly 3,000 institutions in China. China, committed to building some of the best universities in the world, launched Project 211 in 1995 to rank 100 of its universities among the world’s top institutions. An additional project was the creation of a league called “C9”, specifically for institutions designed to provide elite education. This investment and the modernization of higher education in China have made the institution a more popular choice for foreign students wishing to study abroad.

Finally, to be on the safer side in a foreign country, students need to be cautious and take care of their belongings both inside and outside their dormitories to avoid becoming victims of theft or robbery. Keep your money and the most important and confidential documents in a safe place. Make sure you keep photocopies of relevant pages of your passport and other important documents in a separate place. Always carry your identity documents and information on who to contact in an emergency.

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