Whether you’re a college student or you’re a professional looking to build your business skills, you might be considering a study abroad program. There are excellent long and short-term study abroad programs throughout the world, and one of the toughest decisions can be where to go.
China is increasingly where people select because it’s a center of business and manufacturing. China is one of the most important economies and areas of industrialization in the world.
So, what should you know if you’re going to study abroad in China?
5 Things to Know When Preparing to Study Abroad in China
Where Should You Study
China is a huge country, so what city should you study in? 20 cities in the country have more than three million residents, and seven Chinese cities have more than 10 million people. The most popular cities for study abroad including Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing.
Some of the areas of study that students tend to focus on in China include math, engineering, urban development, economics, and Mandarin.
How Difficult is the Language Barrier?
The language barrier can be a challenge in China—more so than studying in places like Europe. Most university classes are taught in Mandarin, but there are still international programs that are aimed at the needs of international students.
If you have time, what a lot of students will do when they’re in China is study Mandarin as well as their university or business studies.
If you’re going to travel to China to study, there are one of two visas that you’ll need to apply for. One is the X1 visa and the other is the X2. The X2 visa is likely what you’ll need because it’s for short-term study programs that last less than six months.
If you’re going to be studying six months or longer, you’ll need to apply for a Student Visa which is an X1. If you’re going to be staying for six months or longer, you also have to apply for a residence permit within 30 days of arriving. This permit lets you leave and enter China several times within 11 months.
If you’re going to study on a short-term visa, you don’t need a medical check. If you’re going for six months or more, you may have to do the Foreigner Physical Examination, which is done in China.
The following are some very general things to know about Chinese culture and what to expect:
- Street food will surround you everywhere, and this is typically what locals eat. You’ll also find that the markets are full of interesting items, which can be shocking, to say the least.
- Chinese people tend to avoid using tissues and spit instead. This is a normal part of the culture, and it’s not a symbol of being rude as it might be in the U.S.
- China is very crowded, and personal space is limited. It’s typical for people to push and shove as a result of the confined spaces and crowds you’re often going to face. The subway system in China can be a great way to get around, but avoid it during rush hour, unless you’re feeling especially adventurous.
- If you’re in a restaurant, it’s not considered rude to use your hands to signal and request service from a waiter or waitress.
Get a VPN
When you visit China, there’s a firewall that blocks social media sites including Facebook and Instagram. There are also blocks for most of Google. To access sites like these during your study abroad program, purchase a virtual private network or VPN.
You will need to make sure that the VPN you bring works in China because most of the free options don’t.
Why Study in China?
If you’re still unsure of where to study abroad, the following are some advantages of a program in China:
- China is an entirely unique place from the U.S., and it gives you the opportunity to see things you have probably never experienced and challenge yourself outside your comfort zone.
- If you’re going to be looking for a job shortly, having spent time in China studying can give you a leg up. Employers will likely value your experience in this hub of economics and business and that you were willing to take on challenges of spending time in China.
- If you’re able to learn some Mandarin, that can help you find a job as well. It’s one of the most spoken languages in the world.
Finally, China offers a unique combination of innovative, modern living and ancient history. You can see sites like the Great Wall, but also be part of one of the fastest-growing parts of the contemporary world.