The People’s Republic of China is a fascinating country filled with many contrasts and great diversity. The nation is currently experiencing massive economic growth and social changes. While Mandarin Chinese is spoken across the nation, with slight variations, visitors can expect to see a range of cultures, cuisines, and lifestyles from north to south, east to west.
Costs and Budgeting
While it is relatively easy to afford a very comfortable standard of living in China, costs and expenses vary from city to city.
In the university district of Beijing, students should expect to get by on around less than AUS$1,000 per month (Not including tuition fees).
City Weekend, a publication that is offered in most major cities, and which is popular with expats and travellers around the world, offers easy-to-access online editions for Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou: www.cityweekend.com.cn/. The magazine lists events, venues, restaurants, and also discusses aspects of living in each city (including costs and how to save money).
Visa and entry
China’s visa regime is strictly enforced. Australian citizens who wish to study in China will need a student visa. China’s visa regulations often change, and so prospective students must consult their nearest Chinese Embassy or Consulate for the latest information.
Australian citizens should note that regardless the type of visa used, foreigners must register at the local police station for a residency permit within 24 hours.
If you remain in China after your visa expires, you will be fined substantially for every day that you overstay and may face confiscation of your passport or deportation.
The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China describes China’s visa requirements
Chinese banks are open seven days a week, and many automatic teller machines (ATMs), which can be found in shopping malls and hotels frequented by foreigners, will accept Australian credit and debit cards.
In major cities, Chinese bank cards and credit cards are often accepted at larger restaurants and shopping malls. However, in other restaurants and in second and third tier cities it is best to carry cash.
The Bank of China is able to exchange almost any currency and remit money to Australia.
For more information about exchanging money in China, please visit the Bank of China Global Website
Western Union is one option for students to receive or remit money abroad.
Accommodation for international students includes student dormitories, university affiliated apartments, and private rental accommodation. Check with your education institution for what they can offer.
Home stay options are also available.
Note that in China, taking out a lease on private accommodation may require a down payment of up to three months of rent. Leases of less than 12 months duration may require full upfront payment.
The online editions of City Weekend include listings for private rental accommodation. It also includes articles about renting and living in each city.
Do also visit the website of your intended place of learning. A convenient list of education provider websites can be found on the Study in China website.
Health care and insurance
According to Chinese law, overseas students who plan to study for more than six months in China are required to buy Group Integrated Insurance as one of the registration procedures, no matter whether they have bought personal insurance in their home country or not.
The cost of this may vary among learning institutions, but should cost approximately AUS$150 to AUS$ 200 per annum.
For more information please consult the education provider you intend to study with. For an easy to access list of links to provider’s websites, Study in China.
Conditions regarding Working in country
Students cannot currently work on a student visa. Students are advised to consult their local Chinese Embassy or Consulate for the latest information. It is also advisable to contact your host institution’s international student services department or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website before committing to any kind of employment.
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