China living cost for international students
Let’s start by saying that the main factors to determine the cost of living in China are two:
1. The city you live in.
2. Your lifestyle.
According to data from Expatistan.com, the cost of living in China (taking Shanghai as example) is 5% lower than Rome, 6% higher than Madrid, 45% lower than London, 41% lower than that of New York, 26% lower than that of Los Angeles, 45% more expensive than that of Bangkok and 77% more expensive than that of Hanoi.
The cost to rent a room in Beijing or Shanghai is around 2500-3500 yuan per month. In other cities, rents are cheaper but it depends on the case. You will also have to pay for electricity, water, gas and internet. For what concern cell phone and internet, 100 Yuan per month should be enough for a Chinese sim card with internet included but, even in this case, it depends on how much you use it.
A meal can cost you as little as 10-15 Yuan for a plate of jiaozi (dumplings) or lamian (noodles). However, if you want to eat meat and fish regularly, the prices go up quickly. The public transportation are the best essential to move around the city: he subway and city buses are still cheap, say 5 Yuan per day (or 150 yuan per month). Taxis are getting expensive, especially in Shanghai and Beijing, but still much cheaper than what you can find in Europe.
So let's say that the starting point of the cost of living in China is 4,500 Yuan per month even in Beijing or Shanghai. Of course, you will have to add expenses for entertainment (travel, dinners out, alcohol, cigarettes, do some tea), clothes, health insurance, visas, international flights and unexpected expenses.
The most important thing to remember is to live according to your possibilities: sometimes it seems that many expats in China forget to do this. Go out, have fun, go out with your friends, but don't forget to set aside some of your earnings every month because unplanned things can happen.