10 Things You Should Know Before Studying Abroad In China

You may be nervous about studying abroad in China, thanks to the vastly different language and culture. But don’t let that stop you! These days, there are so many opportunities to study in China, and your experience living in this growing world power will open up many doors for your future. Not least, the ability to communicate with the 1.2 billion people worldwide who speak Mandarin. To make the move less stressful, here are 10 things you should know before you go:

Photo by Michael Davis-Burchat/Flickr

Photo by Michael Davis-Burchat/Flickr

Government Exchange Agreements

You don’t need to fend for yourself when finding a course or exchange program. There are bilateral exchange agreements in place between China and Australia, streamlining the process. This means that there are established scholarships and programs to help you study get started.

Study in English

Your Chinese not quite up to scratch yet? There are a large number of courses that you can study in China that are offered in English, from business administration to engineering. Just be aware that a lot of these courses are only for international students, so you might not be studying alongside locals.

Learn Mandarin

While most study courses offer Mandarin classes, regardless of what you’re studying, and many study abroad programs are specifically aimed at learning the language, it is a good idea to learn some basic Mandarin before you go, to make your transition into life in China a bit easier. If you arrive with without any knowledge of Chinese, the initial culture shock may be a bit overwhelming!

Take a Mandarin level test before you go to see how much you already know!

Stretch Your Money

Worrying about funding your studies? Directly enrolling in a university in China usually works out much cheaper than enrolling through your home university on an exchange program. If you’re willing to spend a longer time in China, this may just save you on hefty student loans.

Bank on Pocket Money

If you’re scared you won’t have enough for day to day living in China, remember that your English language skills are in high demand. Once you arrive in China, teaching a few private English lessons in the week can really help you earn some pocket money. It is also a great way to get to know some locals and learn more about Chinese culture!

Medical Exams

If you are enrolling to study in China for longer than 6 months, you need to do a full medical exam. Should you choose to do this in your home country, note it needs to be in the correct format, and your doctor will need to fill out a form. It is also possible to do the exam on arrival. Note you will also need to arrange health insurance.

Photo by Zixi Wu/Flickr

Photo by Zixi Wu/Flickr

Study Visa

Make sure you apply for the right visa –if you’re studying for more than 6 months, you’ll apply for the X1 visa. If you’re studying for less than 6 months, you need to apply for the X2 visa. Consult your nearest embassy to make sure that you meet the necessary requirements.

Get a VPN

As you are most likely aware, China has a number of internet restrictions. To ensure you can contact your friends and family over Facebook and other internet channels, it’s a good idea to get secure a VPN (a Virtual Private Network) before you arrive. Here are the best VPN’s to get around China’s firewalls, and here’s how to set up your VPN.

Clothing Sizes

If you’re on the taller side, or wear a big shoe size, you might want to ensure you pack enough clothes. It can be difficult to find bigger sizes in China, particularly if you’re living in the south, where people generally tend to be shorter.

Same Same, But Different

As different as you anticipate China to be, remember that you can find most of the same things you get back home. Don’t bother overpacking on toiletries and the like, and remember that you can find plenty of Western food in China. But of course, embrace the new home you’re in and aim to try new things. Just remember: what you call Chinese food at home is not the real deal –luckily authentic Chinese food is diverse and delicious So many culinary adventures await you!

Studying abroad in China is an exciting prospect. This is the best way to get an intimate knowledge of Chinese culture, and, of course, of Mandarin Chinese. Before you embark on your study abroad adventure, contact us so that we can help you on your path to Mandarin proficiency!