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Living in China

Views:672 Time:6/21/2011 3:41:44 PM

Studying in China will not only allows you to witness the dramatic changes of a 5000-year historic country but also gives you a chance to make a lot of friends from all over the world. Maybe you have already been told by your friends who are studying in China that life in China is quite cozy and comfortable. However, I bet you want to know a more vivid picture of the real life in China.


As an international student, you can choose several ways of accommodation in China: living in school dormitories, renting an apartment outside the campus, or home-stay in a local family.

For most of the students, the popular way is to accommodate in school dormitories. Most Chinese universities provide very good and comfortable dormitories for international students. Dormitories for international students usually have private bathrooms with TV, Internet access, washing machine, and refrigerators all available. The general costs of accommodation on campus range from 400 to1, 500 USD a year for different type of rooms in different cities. For example, the accommodation of a university in Beijing and Shanghai usually cost more than 1,000 USD a year for a double room and more than 1,500 USD for a single room. However, it will only cost about 600-800 USD a year for a double room in smaller cities such as Qingdao or Dalian. It could be even cheaper in some other cities.

Though a few universities allow all students to live off campus, in most of the cases, Chinese universities only allow senior students to apply for off-campus accommodation or even don’t allow any student to do so. If you want to live off campus, the first thing you should do is to get permission from your university co-coordinator. Remember don’t move out without notifying anyone. Currently, renting an apartment in cities like Beijing and Shanghai costs around 230-330 USD a month. The small apartment will cost only 100-200 USD a month in Qingdao or Dalian.

Want to see what the accommodation like in China, please
click here.

Tips: If you have already got an Admission Letter and JW202 form through SICAS, you can contact to book your accommodation of the university in advance for free.

All Your Favorite Food Is in China!

China is an amazing country not only because of the splendid cultures and history, but also for its various world-class cuisines. You can easily find your home-taste food with least efforts. From hamburgers to Kebab, from hotdogs to Korean cuisine, you name it.

On one hand, Chinese local cuisine will at utmost satisfy your appetite. It is hard for many foreigners to imagine the diversity of Chinese cuisine until arriving in China. There are eight main Chinese cuisines and each type has its own identifying features. For example, Sichuan cuisine is spicy-hot and heavy in flavor while Huaiyang cuisine is fresh and light. Regardless of where you choose to study in China, regional cuisines from across the country can be found in any Chinese city and there must be at least one type that suits you.

On the other hand, there are a variety of international foods in modern cities of China. You can find Italian, Indian and French restaurant etc in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Dalian and some other cities easily. If you fancy Korean and Japanese food, there are numerous restaurants which provide very typical and authentic Korean and Japanese food in most of the coastal cities like Qingdao in Shandong province, Dalian in Liaoning Province.

What’s more, the western fast food franchised chains such as KFC, McDonald’s, Pizzahut, Subway, and Starbucks Coffee are opened all over China.

Because China is a multinational state, there are a large portion of Muslim residents living in most cities around China. Muslim restaurant is a common sight in most Chinese cities and you can find Halal food easily. Vegetarianism is not widely practiced in China but Buddhist restaurants do exist and you can always find meat-free options on a Chinese menu.

Foods served on Chinese campus are really diverse and tasteful. Chinese universities offer a variety of flavors and dishes for student to choose from, including western food, vegetarian food, Halal food and so on.

Food in China is really affordable. It costs averagely less than 1 USD for a meal while dining in universities or small restaurants, and some bigger ones cost about 2-5 USD a person. Of course, there are also “luxurious” types of restaurant which will cost you much more for some special or classical food. It is your choice then.

Travel in China Easily and Comfortably!

Chinese transportation system has been well developed during the past few decades. There are many world class international airports in China, such as the Capital International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport and Guangzhou Bai Yun Airport. It is also known to all that China boasts one of the world’s most completed railway system connecting the whole country. You can easily travel from one city to another either by air or by train. Of course, most of the time, it is much more economic to travel by train. However, more frequently, the Chinese airlines offer many attractive discounts on the price of air tickets, and sometimes the final price of the air tickets are even similar with or lower than the price of train ticket for the same destination.

What about the daily transportation? The situation is similar in most of the modern cities in China. You can take bus, taxi, subway or rent a car to move from one place to another very conveniently. Currently, not every city in China has subway system but many subways of the middle size cities in China are under construction.

Transportation Fees in Chinese Main Cities






Around 25 US cents

Around 30 US cents

Around 25 US cents


30-40 US cents per km

35-45 US cents per km

30-40 US cents per km


Around 30 US cents

Around 50 US cents

Under construction

Let’s take the daily transportation in Shanghai as example, details:

By Subway

There are eleven subway lines in Shanghai with connections all over the city and stops at or nearby the main attractions and commercial areas. Ticket price: about 4 Chinese Yuan. (About 50 US cents)

By Taxi

In one word, you will be strongly impressed by the numbers of taxi and the professional services of the taxi driver in Shanghai. The start fee of a taxi in Shanghai is about 1.8 USD for the first 3 kilometers and rise by 40 US cents per kilometer thereafter.

By Bus

Shanghai has about 1,100 bus lines covering all over the city. The ticket prices are classified into several kinds according to the length of the routes and the condition of the bus: RMB1 for the routes less than 13 km long, RMB1.5 for the over-13 km long routes, and RMB2 for air-con buses.

Click here to know about the transportation in some more cities
Beijing, Qingdao, Weifang, Jinan, Dalian and Shenyang.

Learning Chinese Mandarin

Like other languages, the best way to improve your Chinese is to live among, and converse with, native speakers. Studying in China will give you the opportunity to use and improve your Chinese every single day. Mandarin or Pǔtōnghuà is the official language which is spoken throughout the country. As people from different parts of China bear unique dialects, Shandong province is known as one of the original land of the standard mandarin and is also the birth place of Confucius (the great Chinese ancient philosopher). Shandong University boasts the highest HSK pass rate among Chinese universities.

Travel around China without knowing Mandarin

It is difficult to live in a foreign country without knowing its language. The language barrier will increase the difficulty of communication between local citizens. However, nowadays, there are more and more Chinese who can speak pretty good English especially young people. There are also English services available in many public places such as banks, stores, restaurants and hotels etc. Usually, you can find road sign written in English in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Jinan, Dalian etc.

Tips: SICAS also provides one-for-one interpretation service to assist you travel around easily and conveniently. Contact to know more.

Shopping & Leisure

There are various kinds of supermarkets in China, the state-run supermarkets and Sino-foreign joint-venture supermarket such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Lotus Supercenter, and Metro AG etc. You can easily purchase all the daily products and also products imported from your motherland. Budweiser beers, Apple flagship stores, NEVIA, Unilever, Nike, Levi’s etc are all available in Chinese cities. What’s more, international reputed luxurious brand like ZARA, GUCCI, PRADA, D&G and so on are accelerating their move to Chinese market. Besides, daily products are very affordable in China.

The form below shows some of the common prices for a student study in China:

Average Dinner

1.5 USD

Bottle of Beer

60 US cents

Packet of cigarettes


Bus Fare

30 US cents

1/2 kg Pork


1/2 kg Beef


McDonald’s Big Mac

2.3 USD

Movie Ticket


Brandy Laptop

540 USD

Brand New Jeans

30 USD

Internet Cafés

40 US cents



Maybe you don’t know. There are also convenience stores selling good quality and diverse stuffs with reasonable prices on campus, so you can buy your basic necessities without stepping out of your campus.

Money matters

To be familiar with Chinese currency, to know where and how you exchange your money are all important aspects of studying and living in China. Click to learn more about money matters of living in China.

Find a job

If you are on a tight budget, you can choose to take a part-time job as English teachers. Such jobs are available at high schools, universities and at a growing number of private schools. They are normally advertised via e-mail and telephone, and wages are paid hourly around 50-100 RMB. Besides the financial income, working with your local colleagues will also give you a chance to experience the warmth of Chinese people and the colorful and characteristic social life in China. Don’t feel shy if people invite you to their home for dinner.
Find a doctor

One thing you may consider is how to get medical treatment when studying in China. The Chinese medical system consists mostly of public and private hospitals. Small and personalized clinics are also available. Generally speaking, there are many public hospitals in all parts of China and most superior hospitals have established specific clinics which are particularly designed to provide medical services and health care for foreigners in China. With professional qualified nurses and doctors who can speak fluent English in those clinics, foreigners are expecting to receive good treatment there. For those who first come to China, the emergency call number for medical service is 120, which is 24-hour call and for free.

Check the foreign hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai, and Qingdao.


China’s media system is experiencing an internationalization process; there are some local English-speaking news media in China nowadays. CCTV 9 is an English channel available in most cities. English newspapers like China Daily are available in various spots ranging from upscale hotels and common bookstalls throughout China. You can also read them on your laptop through wireless network in some cafes.

Local telecom operators are the Chinese Mobile and the Unicom, you can go to their offices to register a SIM card for mobile telephone services in China. You can also call outside the country with the IP Telephone Cards bought locally. These cards are fairly cheap, and the connection is very clear.

Learn more information about: living in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Jinan, Weifang, Dalian and Shenyang.