Student life in China: What you need to know

Student life in China: What you need to know

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Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Apr 11, 2020 18:47 IST

Student life in China: What you need to know

It is no hidden fact that Chinese students constitute the largest pool of international students globally. Be it management, science, engineering or research, they are at the forefront of experiencing global education. Although the exodus is at a mass scale, yet China is growing in popularity with international students as a prospective destination for higher education.

In 2010, close to 3 lakh, foreign students were studying in China, a number which the Chinese government is aiming to increase to five lakh by 2020. Deals of cooperation, such as the one recently struck with the US (aimed at getting 1 lakh students only from the US by 2020), make this target seem more feasible. However, the language, distance and the differences in culture continue to deter many who wish to pursue studies in China.

Here is a compilation of various facets you must know if you wish to study in China:

Learn the language: Like India, that has many dialects, China also has dialects. China has two major languages: Mandarin and Cantonese. Generally, students face a dilemma in choosing which language to learn. It is advisable to learn Mandarin because of many reasons, primarily because it is the official language of China and Taiwan and is used by most Chinese schools, colleges, and universities. Though the language is a little difficult to practice, if you intend to study in China for the next three/four years, you must know the basics to find your way around and also enrich your learning.

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Know 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 pure sciences and humanities. Zhejiang University recently overtook the more famous Tsinghua as the top-ranked university in China, according to QS World rankings. However, the best university to study at varies from major to major – subject that you are looking to pursue.

Adapting to the culture: When in China, do as the Chinese do! While India and China differ a lot when it comes to language and culture, you can find some similarities in the two places. While it will be difficult for you to get used to their eating habits and lifestyle in general, but once you start experiencing it, you’ll enjoy it. You should mingle with the local students and get to know more about their culture, traditions, festivals, movies, society etc.

Staying in touch: Although the Internet is the most cost-effective way to stay in touch with your family and friends, students continue to have reservations about the Internet because of censorship issues in China. A mobile phone is another way to be in touch with your family. There are two ways to use your mobile in China:

(1) Students wanting to use phone numbers assigned by their domestic telecommunication operators should make sure that "international roaming service" is turned on by their local provider before their entry to China. If you wish to use your own phone from home, make sure to bring a compatible GSM/GPRS 900/1800 dual-frequency mobile phone (the phone must be unlocked). This can be an expensive affair.

(2) International students can also buy SIM phone cards and pre-paid phone cards to enjoy all the services provided by local mobile phone operators. The pre-paid phone cards of China Mobile are available in a variety of price values. Once your pre-paid SIM card has run out of credit, you can conveniently buy a recharge card at any news-stall.

Accommodation/ Safety: There are mainly two ways to find apartment rental information. First, you can approach any real estate agency and use their services or visit a property website. The commission is as much as one month rent. Secondly, you can find the information on the internet, but most of the ads are posted by agents. In Beijing, signing a rental contract with the landlord is conventional, and you should ask the landlord to show his/her property ownership certificate to avoid cheating. Although most universities in Beijing are located in the western part of the city, students generally consider dwelling in the east. This so because most restaurants, bars, clubs as well as international hospitals and foreign beauty salons etc. are located on the eastern side. Shangdi area in eastern Beijing is where a lot of Indians stay and Wudauko area is popular with international students in China. A 1 BHK apartment in the city centre will cost you approximately 3,000 - 4000 RMB (Rs 30,000 – 40,000).

To be on the safer side in a foreign land, students must exercise caution and take care of their belongings both in their dormitories as well as while traveling outside to avoid being victims of theft or robbery. Keep important documents and money in a safe place. Make sure you keep photocopies of relevant pages in your passport and other important documents in a separate place. Always carry with you some identification as well as details of who should be contacted in an emergency. In case you have a complaint, get in touch with the officer responsible for International student welfare at the University. In case the University authorities are unable to help, students may get in touch with the Education Officer at Embassy of India/Consulate of India. The details of the education officers are as follows;

Beijing: Tel No + 86 10 65323844, Fax +86 10 65324684; email:,

Shanghai: Tel No +86 21 62193789 Fax 021 62758881 email:,

Guangzhou Tel No +86 20 85501512, Fax +86 20 85501513 email:

About the Author
Written by
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

Rahul Singha is a seasoned editor with Shiksha Study Abroad, specializing in overseas education. With over 8 years of domain experience, he has made a significant impact in contributing to the study abroad industry ... Read Full Bio

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8 years ago

What z d domain to parformmbbs in China

Reply to

Stuti Jain

8 years ago

HI Arish, for MBBS in China you must hold a high school diploma, have an IELTS score of 6.0 or TOEFL (80 and above). Hope it helps.