Living in China

China is located on the east coast of the largest continent(Eurasia)as well as the western margin of the largest ocean (Pacific). It has a land area of about 9.6 million square km, occupying 6.5 percent of the total land area of the world. From the confluence of the Heilong River and its tributary, the Wusuli River, westward to the Pamir Plateau, the distance is more than 5200 km. From midstream of the Heilong River north of Mohe, southward.

China is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to the traditional international student cities of London, New York or Paris. With ambitious plans to significantly increase the number of international students in the country, the Chinese government seems committed to showing a new side of an ancient country.

But What Exactly Should you Expect from Going to University in China?

Images of China in your mind may lead to thoughts of smog, pollution or densely populated cities. While this is true in some parts of China, the country is in the midst of big changes, including in its higher education sector. Year on year, the number of international students in the country has been rising since 2011. By 2020 it is expected that more than half a million foreign students will be studying at a Chinese university. This is because of a number of government initiatives such as “One Belt, One Road”, which aims to attract international students to the country.

For decades China has been a one-way departure lounge for its young population heading out into the world. During the last 35 years, it’s estimated that more than 4.5 million Chinese studied outside the country. Twenty years ago a mere 3.4 million students were enrolled within Chinese universities: now there are more than 26 million, with about half a million overseas students.

What to Expect When you First Arrive?

The streets of any major city are full of noise, dirt, hustle, and bustle and this is something that does not change no matter where you are in the world. With one of the lowest English speaking populations in the world, it can be tough at first for those lacking basic Mandarin – even more so if you plan on traveling into areas with local dialects. Making Chinese friends can help enormously as you come to grips with one of the hardest languages in the world to learn. However, while on campus this issue shouldn’t be too prevalent, because international students often club together to support each other.

China offers a number of scholarships for overseas students looking to study there. Even without this, tuition fees are significantly cheaper compared to the cost in the US, UK and elsewhere in Asia. Fees can be as low as £1,300 ($1,710) per academic year. Even if you add a language crash course on top for a couple hundred pounds more, plus food and living expenses, you still struggle to get near the £9,000+ charges at British institutions or the $25,000 at US institutions. Day to day living costs are low, too: tube tickets in Beijing start as low as 23 pence, while cheap (but questionable) clothing can be picked up at local markets for the frugal spender.

Upon arrival, there will also be a few legal matters to take care of. From the time you land in China, you have 30 days to obtain a residency permit from the local public security office or police station. If you haven’t already done so you must also arrange healthcare covering care, personal injuries, and treatment up to £60,000.

Lifestyle Changes

China is diverse and each province has its own cultural norms, local foods, drinks, and customs. With its size and reasonably cheap travel costs, there is the opportunity to explore the entire country, from modern sights such as ice cold Harbin or Shanghai’s city life to ancient wonders including the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

Student clubs exist in universities across China and each campus will offer their own choices based on their situation and environment. Peking University in Beijing hosts hundreds of clubs ranging from mountain climbing, cycling groups, musical instruments and even stray cat caring associations. However, there is a cultural difference between the Far East and western universities, with a greater emphasis on study rather than social activities.

On-campus dorms have curfews at which point electricity is cut off and checks are carried out to ensure students are sleeping. These dorms are mandatory for Chinese students and while they can be convenient there is no strict requirement for international students to live in halls.

You may also be thinking of working while studying. International students in China are forbidden from working while in the country because of legislation passed by the government. Some universities can help find specific part-time work or internships but these opportunities are not common and highly sought after. More prevalent are positions teaching the English language, which also presents a great opportunity to meet locals during your stay.

Regardless of the intensity of your study abroad program, more and more student expats and young professionals are flocking to the big cities in China, giving you many opportunities to make your own friends and establish your own social life.

Sometimes students have a difficult time making friends with local Chinese students. A great method of befriending Chinese is to create a “language partner” relationship. This mutually beneficial “hang out time” will allow you to regularly meet with and get to know a Chinese person in a way that typically evolves into a friendship.

Though Beijing and Shanghai are the most popular destinations in China, we’d also recommend looking into programs in smaller cities like Chengdu, Guilin, or Kunming.


For language learners, the Beijing dialect is Mandarin’s standard, and the local universities have the most established programs for teaching Chinese to foreigners. Beyond the language, there are a plethora of cultural sites to entertain you during those much-needed study breaks (including the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City!).

Though located in the colder northern region of China, Beijing is still a great choice for the student interested in seeing firsthand China’s recent past converging with their dynamic future.


Robust, fast-paced, and colorful, the pace of life in Shanghai echoes Hong Kong or New York. Shanghai is said to be the culmination of the China of the future, with the beautiful Oriental Pearl Tower leading the pack. If you are more the money-driven type, interested in getting involved with China’s booming business sector, Shanghai will be a great place start.

Situated in southern China directly on the coast, Shanghai enjoys the warmer temperatures often found in seaside towns. Its proximity to nearby Hangzhou and Nanjing make Shanghai and its surrounding travel opportunities more appealing.


For an immersion experience, Kunming is the ideal choice, as it is the perfect example of a Chinese city that comfortably integrates modernity with tradition. Its status as a smaller city and distance from the developed coast means that significantly fewer foreigners live here, giving you a chance to really get involved in the Chinese way of life.

Bordered on the south by Burma, Laos, and Vietnam, and Tibet and India to the west, Kunming’s key location in the southwest corner of China has created one of the nation’s best travel hubs.

China is located on the east coast of the largest continent (Eurasia) as well as the western margin of the largest ocean (Pacific). It has a land area of about 9.6 million square km, occupying 6.5 percent of the total land area of the world. From the confluence of the Heilong River and its tributary, the Wusuli River, westward to the Pamir Plateau, the distance is more than 5200 km. From midstream of the Heilong River north of Mohe, southward to Zengmu Shoal of the Nansha Islands near the equator, the distance is more than 5500 km. It’s population of more than 1.3 billion accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world population.

China has more than 32000 km of coastline (including the mainland shore more than 18,000 km and island shore more than 14000 km), and a boundary line of more than 20,000 km, bordered to the north-east by DPR Korea, to the north by Russia and Mongolia, to the west and south-west from north to south by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and to the south by Burma, Laos and Viet Nam.

The country is marketed the following geographical coordinates: Latitude from about N53 31 to about N3 50 Longitude from E73 40 to 135 05

The climate in China is generally moderate with four distinct seasons, so it is a favorable place for habitation and living. In most areas, it’s cold and dry in winter, with great differences through the south to the north, while it’s hot and humid in summer, with little differences between the south and the north. Precipitation decreases from the southeast coast to the northwest inland gradually.

China has the world largest population. By the end of 2010, there are 1.392 billion people (not including the population in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region, and Taiwan province) in China, taking up one fifth of the world population. China is also one of the countries with a relatively high population density in the world.

China has Since ancient times been a United multi-ethnic Country. After the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, there is the total of 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the central government, the largest being the Han ethnic Group.

The standard language in China is Mandarin Chinese, a universal language used by every ethnic group. The state council announced on February 6, 1956, that Mandarin should be promoted and supplemented the concept of mandarin: Mandarin has Beijing pronunciation as its standard pronunciation, northern dialect as its basic dialect, and the typical modern vernacular Chinese as its grammatical standard.

In addition to Mandarin, there are 80 languages in this multinational and multilingual nation. Most minorities have their own languages. Even for Chinese itself, almost every region has its own dialect, which can be very different from each other. Local people talk in their own dialects while learning Mandarin at school.

Before the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Chinese economy was extremely lagged behind. Today, China has developed into an economic power with the world greatest potential to blossom. According to data released by IMF in 2010, China’s GDP per capita reached USD 3600, ranking 99 in the world. China has become the world’s second largest economic entity.

When it decided to reform the national economic setup in 1978, the Chinese government embarked on a policy of opening to the outside world in a planned way and step by step. Since 1980, China has set up special economic zones and open economic zones, and later the Western Development Program joined in 2000, which has formed a multi-level, multi-channel, multi-directional and diversified pattern of the opening in China.

In Commodity Volume of World Import and Export, China ranked 27 in 1978, 16 in 1990, 8 in 2000 and 2 in 2010. Today, China has developed trade with over 220 countries and regions, among which China’s ten largest trade partners are: EU, USA, Japan, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, ASEAN, South Korea, Taiwan Province, Russia, Australia and Canada.

The capital of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing, Jing for short. As one of the four municipalities directly under the central government, it is now the political, transportation and cultural center of the nation. The climate in Beijing is a typically warm and semi-humid continental monsoon climate, characterized by hot and rainy summer as well as cold and dry winter. Spring and autumn do not last long.

With three thousand years’ history of city-building and eight hundred and fifty years’ history as capital, Beijing has embraced Chinese culture of Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasty. Each year, more than 147 million tourists visit Beijing, a city possessing most of the world cultural heritage with its numerous scenic spots and cultural landscapes. Calculated merely in terms of population, Beijing is undoubtedly the world’s current No. 1 metropolis. In Beijing, there are more than 100 million permanent resident people together with foreign and floating population. And Beijing ranked No. 15 in Top Global Cities 2010 among world cities, leading all cities in Mainland China.

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