For a two-semester stay in China, you will need at least EUR 5000 plus enough to cover tuition fees; this is a conservative estimate. If you intend to travel during the holidays, of course, you will need a correspondingly greater amount of money available. Many students use the winter holidays for a trip to the south provinces, for example Yunnan.
The cheapest option is definitely a ticket valid for one year, that means, the return flight must occur within one year of departure. Normally, you book a specific return date, but for a fee the date can later be changed. Even those planning long stays should under no circumstances buy a one-way ticket intending to buy a return ticket while in China, because international flights are considerably more expensive there than in Europe. A ticket for one year costs about EUR 700.
Tuition Fees in China
Scholarship students (e.g. of the German Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, the American Fulbright program, etc.) and those who participate in programs through their home universities normally need not concern themselves with tuition. Students arranging their own financing will have to pay an application fee of about USD 100 (Peking University) plus tuition, which run to USD 3200 – 3700 per year; other, less renowned schools are cheaper. Most universities have an English webpage where such information can be found.
Prices for a dorm room vary and have grown more expensive at most universities over the last few years. This is because many dorm buildings have been modernized for foreign students. A double-occupancy room without adjoining shower/toilet costs between USD 3.5 and USD 6 per night. Single rooms with facilities are USD 10 and higher per night. Getting your own apartment Particularly for extended stays, it’s worthwhile to rent your own apartment. Aside from getting your very own room, bathroom, and kitchen, the rent is often less expensive than you would pay in the dorms: monthly rent for a Chinese apartment amounts to about EUR 100, somewhat more in large cities such as Beijing or Shanghai.
Note the following:
- In many cases 3 – 6 months’ rent must be paid in advance
- A deposit of one month’s rent is required.
- When moving out, don’t give in too easily if the landlord, for whatever reason, wants to keep part or all of the deposit
- Renters should take care to ascertain that their dwelling is legal. Normally, the renter and landlord go together to register with the police
Standard of Living
It’s possible to save a lot on this front. Most students eat out every day because there is often no suitable kitchen in the dormitory; a cheap restaurant meal starts at one euro and up. As a student you can comfortably survive on EUR 150 a month, as long as you buy only essentials and don’t go out to western bars too often. If you’ve had different experiences or can contribute other suggestions about this topic, please send your comments.