Studying in China

  • Population: 1,418,000,000
  • Currency: Chinese Yuan (Renminbi)
  • University Students: 37,000,000
  • International Students: 489,200
  • English-taught Programs: 400

China, one of the largest countries in Asia, has seen its number of international students grow in record numbers over the past several years. While a lot of that growth is undoubtedly due to its sizable number of top-ranked universities, students from around the world choose to study in China for many reasons.

One of those reasons is affordable, quality education. The relatively inexpensive price of education, as well as high availability of government-funded scholarships for international students, drives many to study in China. Plus, the cost of living in China is still relatively affordable despite it being one of the top economies in the world.

And being a top economy is another reason students choose China. China’s status on the global stage is expected to reach new heights in the coming years, and students want to position themselves in this central network. Learning Mandarin, taking internships, and working part-time in China are all ways they can get in on the action.

The numbers don’t lie. China ranks third globally (behind the United States and the United Kingdom) in the number of international students it attracts yearly. Over 50 percent of these students come from neighboring countries in Asia, such as South Korea, Thailand, and Russia. Another large percentage comes from the US and Europe.

Of course, we can’t forget to mention China’s rich culture, history, and geography. Students are captivated by the dichotomy between ancient traditions and modern luxuries. And being able to visit impressive landmarks like the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, and the Forbidden City attracts many to experience everything China has to offer.

Universities in China

China boasts an impressive number of universities, which in May 2017 totaled 2,914. Many of them are renowned internationally, and some of the more popular ones include:

  • Beijing Normal University
  • China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)
  • Fudan University
  • Harbin Institute of Technology
  • Nanjing University
  • Peking University
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Tsinghua University
  • University of Science and Technology of China
  • Wuhan University
  • Xi’an Jiao Tong University
  • Zhejiang University

Tuition Fees in China

Tuition fees in China, on the whole, are less than in the US, but they are higher than in some European countries. Tuition fees can vary quite a bit depending on the field of study.

Students can expect to pay somewhere between 11,480 yuan to 20,880 yuan per academic year (approximately 1,500 EUR to 2,750 EUR). Engineering, medicine, and business programs cost quite a bit more, however, with average prices ranging from 15,900 to 33,545 yuan (approximately 2,000 EUR to 4,400 EUR) per year.

Scholarships in China

There is a wealth of scholarships available for students in China, set up by the Chinese government to promote international study, but the China Scholarship Council manages the largest one. Since they’re meant to encourage students to undertake higher education in China, the scholarships are generally quite favorable.

Available for those completing all types of programs (including undergraduate studies, masters, or PhDs), the full scholarship generally covers the costs of tuition, accommodation, and cost of living. Some even cover travel.

There are also specific scholarships depending on where you come from, such as scholarships for EU nationals, as well as scholarships for Asian students who want to study in China.

Cost of Living in China

The cost of living in China is one of the things that makes China such an attractive destination. While prices have risen in the past few years, you can live comfortably on relatively little money.

How much you pay for things like food and housing will depend significantly on where you decide to live. In bigger cities like Shanghai and Guangzhou, the cost of living will naturally be higher.

When it comes to housing outside of cities, expect to pay around 2,000 RMB (a little bit less than 265 EUR) each month. If you choose to live in a city, prices range from 3,000 to 5,000 RMB (400-660 EUR).

By eating locally and taking advantage of buying produce at markets, the cost of food is very manageable. Drinks like water and soft drinks will cost you around 0.30 EUR to 1.30 EUR in a supermarket, and an average meal runs anywhere from 3 EUR to 10 EUR.

A budget of around 900 EUR per month will cover most of your living costs.

Internships & Company Placements in China

Arranging an internship on your own is possible, but most students who intern in China secure their internship through a placement agency. The placement agency handles logistics like visas, finding an internship in your field, paperwork, and accommodation. Chinese language courses are also generally part of internship packages.

Fees for placement programs vary, so do your homework. Most will be located either in Beijing or Shanghai, and you will have to apply for an F Visa, which is a business visa that allows you to stay in China for up to six months.

Working in China

In a bid to attract even higher numbers of international students, the Chinese government recently decided to allow student visa holders to work part-time. They have also created opportunities for students to put into practice what they have learned at university by enabling them to work in China for up to two years after graduation.

Applying for a Student Visa to Study in China

All international students must hold a valid student visa to study in China. You must apply for the visa from your home country, at either a consulate, embassy, or China Visa Application Center (CVASC).

Depending on the length of your stay, you will either apply for an X1 or X2 visa. The X1 permission is for those studying longer than six months, and X2 is for shorter stays of less than six months. The permit costs 125 EUR.

You must provide your passport, admission notice from a Chinese university, JW201 or JW202 form, foreigner physical examination record, proof of accommodation, and a passport style photo.