Students who plan to pursue their degree in China will need to adapt themselves to the living environment there. Studying abroad can be a great opportunity to experience various new things. Nevertheless, it is quite common that stepping into a new place can be a big challenge.
To help students with these concerns here is some information about life in China to help students plan ahead and adjust to the country more easily.
Choosing accommodation is important because it will be the student’s new home there. Students are strongly encouraged to arrange their accommodation prior to their arrival. Generally speaking, there are three options for accommodations.
- On-campus dormitory: It is the most common and usually the most convenient option. Living on campus also helps students to quickly immerse into university life and to make friends with other students. Though it is no common in Cambodia, staying on-campus is very common among both national and international students in China.
- Off-campus housing: Students can also choose to stay off-campus and rent an apartment or room alone or shared with another roommate. Students should also consider the time and expense of traveling to university when staying off-campus.
- Homestay: Another option is to stay with a local host family through a homestay arrangement. This is a great way to connect and immerse oneself in the local culture and practice. However, students might need to depend on an agent or third party to look for the host family.
Similar to the Chinese food we know in Cambodia, you can expect Chinese food to be fairly acceptable comparing to food in Western countries. However, depending on the region you are staying in, there are regional favorite flavors in China. Central China especially Sichuan and Hunan are famous for their spicy foods such as Sichuan hotpot while Coastal areas and Northern China foods are saltier. The sweet flavor is popular in Eastern China while sour foods are popular in the Southern part especially the minorities of Guangxi.
Nevertheless, students can usually find canteen food acceptable for all students from various regions of the country. Besides, students can also cook by themselves. For food lovers, there is much must-tried food in China such as dumplings, Wontons, Xiao Long Bao, hotpots, roasted duck, and many more. Food should not be a problem for our Cambodian students.
Though English is part of the school curriculum, most Chinese people do not have much experience in using English, and therefore, their ability to communicate in English is very limited. Knowing the Chinese will make your life much easier there. Nevertheless, if you do not know Chinese, this should still not be the barrier for you because many students go through the Chinese language preparatory course and this usually helps them a lot.
Students who plan to study in China must be wondering how to get around in China. Public transportation system in China should be able to get you to most parts of the city while there are also other ways. Besides the privately owned transportation, depending on where you want to go, you may choose different available transportation as followed.
- Flight: Because of the size of China, if you want to travel to another part of China, you might choose to fly there as the fastest way but it might cost you more.
- Train: China is constantly developing its public transportation system. Train are usually another way people can travel around and to another province. For instance, with the operation of high-speed G-class trains or HSR network, people can travel from Beijing to Shanghai taking less than five hours.
- Bus: This is a cheap and convenient way to travel around the city or provinces. Long-distance buses are also a good option for a limited budget. For instance, compared to high-speed rail, a long-distance bus trip between Beijing and Shanghai takes around 14-16 hours.
Various based on provinces and cities, students can purchase the smart-card for public transportation including bus and train. However, the long-distance journey usually required a pre-booked ticket.
- Taxi: Traveling by taxi is another option, but it might costs slightly more than public transportation.
- DiDi: Similar to Grab or Uber, Didi is the taxi booking application in China. The user will need to have a Chinese cell phone number to register to use.
- Bicycle: People can also rent a bike using Bike-sharing applications on phones in some provinces of China such as Mobike, ofo bike.
Though cash is still used in some parts of the country especially in smaller cities and outside of more tourist areas, China is heading toward a cashless society in many ways. Especially in cosmopolitan cities, most transactions are made using QR codes payment such as Ali Pay and WeChat Pay which are the most common payment gateways and cash might not be accepted someplace. This would be a brand new experience for Cambodian students who go to study there. With this being said, international credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard can still be widely accepted.
Though not all public places have free Wi-Fi access, progressively more public places have free WiFi, especially in the big cities. International students should expect the firewall in China that prevents users to be able to access certain websites such as Google, Facebook, Youtube, and more. A way to get around this is to use the Virtual Private Network or VPN to access these websites. Instead of the common social media and search engine, we are using in Cambodia, Chinese people use Baidu as the search engine and Weibo, QQ, WeChat as the common social media.
During the year, Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival is the most important festival and holiday. It is the best time to experience the Chinese culture and travel around with seven days of days off. For National Day on 1st October, Chinese people also have a week off in early October.
What Should You Get from the Article?
Cambodian parents and students can now get the general picture of life in China for a student who plans to pursue their education in China. The article provided a complete guide to life in China including information about the types of accommodation, food, language, transportation, payment system, internet, and also the major public holiday.
Preparation for overseas education is complicated but it should not be a problem. Cambodian students and parents who wish to study abroad can always contact us WEduAbroad, the local consultancy for study abroad for free consultations about studying abroad at the 9th Floor, B-Ray Tower, Preah Norodom Blvd, Tonle Bassak Commune, Chamkamorn District, Phnom Penh (map here) or contact us via phone call (855) 17 548 354 or (855) 81 63 63 60. You can also visit our Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/WEduAbroad/ to take a quick look at what we have been doing so far.
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