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Studying in China

There are close to 500,000 international students pursuing an education in China and the number is expected to rise amid China reopening to foreign students after more than two years since the start of the pandemic! What is living in China like for international students? We gathered some responses from international students who are currently studying in China or have studied there in the past! Check out some of their answers! 

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Wendy, Canadian, Chinese Language Program

In the few months that I’ve been at Tsinghua, I’ve enjoyed making friends and discovering ‘meiwei’ (delicious) food around the campus canteens. The whole process from getting my lunch card, at first not being able to read the ‘caidan’ (menu) to eventually being able to read part of the ‘caidans’, and finally ordering the food, made the experience all the more memorable.

Jack C. Glasgow, USA, School of Economics and Management

It has been a wonderful year at Tsinghua University. I have had the pleasure of making lasting friendship and memories, while living in the vibrancy of this rich campus. This prestigious institution harbors many legends, and I look forward to seeing many more to come.

Lara Connaughton, Ireland, Schwarzman College

My name is Lara Connaughton. Currently I'm a scholar at Schwarzman College completing a Masters in Global Affairs. This year I’m the administrative chair of the student government here and we have taken part in some great events with the graduate and international students of Tsinghua. It has been fantastic meeting the Tsinghua students from both China and abroad - in the lovely canteens and cafes on campus, in some classes we take together, and through the various student societies. As my friends know back home, I was never very athletic. But there is a wonderful emphasis put on sports here. Last year, the female Schwarzman scholars set up a soccer team, and we have kept the tradition going. Being part of the Tsinghua family has been a really special experience. Even when we travel around China, no matter how far away we get from Beijing, you can be sure that everyone knows the Tsinghua name! Best of luck to all at Tsinghua in 2018 - ‘Go n- éiri an t- ádh libh’ - 加油!

Han Mu, Iranian , Chinese trade

"I like working in a trading company, and I want to start my own China-oriented business in the future." said Han Mu, an Iranian student. Driven by his ideal, Han Mu came to study at Beijing Institute of Technology two years ago and chose to major in Chinese trade. He said, "In addition to learning Chinese, I must learn international trade, marketing and other professional courses, and preferably have the opportunity to intern in Chinese companies to prepare for my future development."

BENJAMAPORN RUECHAI, Thailand, Chinese as a Foreign Language

She is currently working at the China International Institute of Bangkok University. 2011-2012, she studied Chinese as a Foreign Language at the College of Arts and Letters of Southwest University, and 2014-2016, she studied Chinese International Education at the International College of Southwest University. She said“every time I enter the gates of Western University, I feel like I'm back home! Beautiful West University, warm International College, thank you for giving me knowledge, vision, friendship, confidence and the strength to overcome difficulties, you gave me the ability to go forward! I am deeply grateful for the training of my alma mater, dozens of years of unforgettable teacher's grace, I wish my alma mater is full of talents, full of plums, continue to open up and create brilliant again!”

- Claudia, an international student who studied in China for 2 years:   “I studied in China for two years. There were a lot of expectations I had that didn't match reality. I thought China was less developed than it is, and I was terribly mistaken! In fact, I have never been to a place so modern. For me, living in China was a huge eye opener and taught me patience and respect for another culture as well as those around me. This country has a beautiful culture and I had a lot of surprises during my time there. While adapting to many new things might be tough at first, you will be fine once you have gotten used to them in the long run!”    

- James, an international student who studied in China for 2.5 years:   “With basic Chinese skills, you'll be able to get around and navigate life fairly easily. Thanks to technology and translation apps, you will never have a problem getting around! It was a pleasure to be around people who were kind and willing to help me when I needed it most. Chinese people are very kind, nice, and friendly to foreigners, which is one of the reasons I feel like this is a second home to me. In addition to the advanced technology, the cities are stunning as well!”     

- Stephean, an international student who studied in China for 2 years:   “Studying in China was an absolutely unique and fun experience. A magical country with a rich culture, polite people, delicious food, astounding buildings, and state-of-the-art technology, China is one of the most exciting places to visit and live in! I really enjoyed my time in China and it was an absolutely unforgettable experience. In spite of the great cultural difference between Chinese and my own culture, I was open to learning new things and soon adapted to living in China, which is very convenient. It's safe to say that China is the only place where you can leave your home with only your mobile phone and not even a wallet and go about your entire day! Well, in case you’re not aware, cashless payments are big in China and they provide a great deal of convenience. People in China are also extremely nice and welcoming. They made me feel at home. I love it! If you’re thinking of studying in China, I’d definitely recommend that you go for it!”

- Renee, an international student who studied in China for 3 years:   “My parents were hesitant about sending me off to China to study when I was 18 years old at first but all their concerns turned out to be completely unnecessary. First of all, China is an incredibly safe country. I could go out at 2 am and not be worried about my safety at all! I studied in Shanghai and there would be police officers on patrol all the time, which really put my mind at ease. The environment here is definitely safe for women and they are not harassed as often as they are in other places. Furthermore, a degree from China will likely be much more affordable than one from the United States or another Western country, and I really enjoyed my time there! Studying in China was the best decision I ever made and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to study abroad. They have amazing food, great people, and a good education system!” 

- Clifford, an international student who has been living in China for 5 years:   “China is an incredible place to live and my experience here was nothing short of amazing. With a rich culture and incredibly modern technology, China continues to develop every day. It has modern cities, excellent transportation infrastructures such as high-speed trains, airports, highways, and top-notch taxis and public-sharing bicycles. Furthermore, there is an abundance of superb malls, restaurants, nature, parks, recreation spots, and more. Moreover, it gives me a great sense of security and freedom to pursue my dreams. Not to forget, the Chinese are very helpful and you will always get help everywhere you go, regardless of whether you speak Chinese or not!” 

- Jenna, an international student who studied in China for 3.5 years:   “China is a very convenient city to live in, with a multitude of mobile apps that just makes life a whole lot easier. With WeChat, an advanced Chinese messenger app, you can make payments easily and do a lot more. The Chinese are technology marvels, and QR codes are heavily used here, which is awesome! You can order food at a restaurant simply by scanning a QR code on the table, placing an order, and paying with your phone! There are also plenty of job opportunities here so don’t be afraid to give China a try if you’re thinking of studying abroad!” 

In general, China is a preferred study destination for many and the majority of international students have had an amazing experience while they were studying here! Many shared that they thoroughly enjoyed the culture, food, convenience, and many other impressive  aspects of China. Most importantly, they really liked the way they were treated by the locals, whom many said were kind, friendly, polite, and helpful! 

Additionally, we have also collected some videos of foreigners living in China that you may find helpful as a reference.

In general, China is a preferred study destination for many and the majority of international students have had an amazing experience while they were studying here! Many shared that they thoroughly enjoyed the culture, food, convenience, and many other impressive aspects of China. Most importantly, they really liked the way they were treated by the locals, whom many said were kind, friendly, polite, and helpful! 

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