After four good months of great adventures in China, I am finally back to Indonesia. My time in China was fun and exciting, and I am already itching to go back. I just can’t wait for my next semester to start, in this coming September.
It is always nice to be back to your home, home sweet home. It is just so comfortable and relaxing to be home, without the hustle and bustle of the major big cities such as Beijing, or Singapore.
I want to talk about how it is like to live in China as an international student. I am a 21-year-old Indonesian, and it was my first semester studying Chinese in Beijing, China. My life in China is like a dream I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
I love traveling and by coming to China enables me to learn Chinese and to travel around China at the same time. I think you might feel a difference from visiting a place for a few days, or weeks to staying and enjoying how authentic the local people live. I have visited many Chinese historical sites. I also made so many different but interesting friends from all over the world. From that, I have learned not only Chinese cultures but also Korean, Japanese, German and even Bolivian cultures. We learned more than new 100 Chinese characters every week and were given to made Chinese language partner to practice our speaking skill.
It was really a fun experience for me. I will put some pictures I really adore here.
Lovely classmates hanging out in my fav pizza restaurant
Indonesian in Beijing
Accidentally wearing stripes
If you are considering taking up the Mandarin language program in China, I hope this article will be somewhat useful for you as a guide.
Typically, Mandarin language programs in China have two intakes, during March and September. The program takes up to four months to complete. The exact date may vary, depending on the university that you are going. I joined the March intake for 2016 at Beijing Language and Cultural University in Beijing, China.
The following may not be relatable to everyone in the world, but in Indonesia, we have this thing call education agents. Their job is to help students applying for universities in China, with a fee. Their service includes visa application, dormitory application, flight reservation, etc. Some will even arrange airport transfer at China. They will do their best to help you settle down to the new environment, even if you never speak a word in Mandarin. They help you to set up a bank account, phone registration, give you an essential guide on how to navigate around the city. If you are like me, lazy but ambitious, you should really hire an education agent.
The following are things you should probably consider while deciding to study in China:
1. What city?
Some cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Taiwan, are favorite among International students. You have to be mindful in which city you choose to study. Things like accent, weather, food, expense are factors to be considered. For example, winter in Har Bin will be colder than winter in Shanghai. Similarly, living expenses in Shanghai will be higher than the smaller cities.
2. Which university?
In Beijing, there is more than one school to choose from for their Mandarin language program. I considered among PKU, BLCU, CNU, and SNU. It is important because this where you are going to spend most of your time! Other than the quality of the program, the University surrounding is one of my deciding factor to choose BLCU. There are a lot of universities around BLCU, so it is a small district, constantly crowded by young students. Perhaps due to the high student traffic, there is a lot of eateries or place to hang out around the area, which is so very much important to a food maniac like me. The train station is just a stone throw away, so getting around the city is very convenient if you plan to visit the landmark around the town after school or during the weekend.
3. Which program?
In BLCU, there are two types of programs; intensive and regular. The difference is the hours required for the class. The regular class will start at 8 am and finish at 12 pm. for the regular class. On the other hand, the intensive class takes longer hours, starting at 8 am and ends at 3 pm. They also have 12 weeks program and 20 weeks program.
You don’t need to bring a lot of things because you can buy everything literally in China (most of the stuff you own is made in China, duh). However, I will list down important apps you will need:
1. English – Chinese dictionary
Pleco is an app that all International students can’t live without. It is so handy when talking to local or helping us with our study.
As we know China has blocked far too many websites like Facebook, Youtube, Google, Instagram. Download your VPN before coming to China will help you to access those webs. More info you can check here.
3. Didi Dache and Kuaide Dache
While Uber and GrabCar is very famous because it’s usually almost half price of the usual taxi, didi dache is a Chinese taxi app because the fare is just half or Uber fare. China is amazing like that.
4. Explore Metro
Getting around China like a local using this app will make it easier =)
I think these are things you need to note when deciding to study in China. I hope it is helpful.
Good luck and Enjoy China <3