Living in China


China is transforming quickly.  What is written below it true today but might not be true in a few years.  Being an international student in China can be somewhat of a culture shock. Life is however becoming easier and easier for international students as more and more international chains open in China.. Here’s a look at some of the things that influence daily student life in China.

Food and Drink


Drinking water

The drinking water is polluted in most Chinese cities including Beijing.   You should never drink the tap water before boiling it first. I recommend not drinking the tap water at all since it often contain potentially harmful chemicals.  Drink bottles water  or other bottled beverages instead. Hot beverages are generally “safe” to drink even if they are not bottled.

Food costs and availability

An entire plate of 15 – 20 dumplings and a few beers cost about $5. You do not tip in china.. Yeah, you do have to buy your own breakfast and dinner every day, but with prices that low (and that’s for quality food), it’s not a huge concern
In China Pizza Hut is considered a fine dining place for dinner or a date.

All meals are served with chop sticks. Some but not all restaurants can provide western utensils.


living in china

The traffic in many Chinese cities is a mess.  Traffic is often slow and traffic jams is an everyday occurrence.  Traffic jams will affect both vehicles and pedestrians.

It is common with long lines and gridlocks in super markets.

Environmental factors

There’s an instrument on top of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that measures the air quality every day. It has an index of 0 to 500 with 500 being the worst possible quality the developers of the instrument could conceive of; if air quality is bad it’s best not to go outside that day.

Toilets in China are not designed to handle paper.  Even a small amount of toilette paper can block them.  You will find a small basket in each room that is used to throw the toilette paper in.  Many public toilets does not offer toilette paper. You are expected to bring your own.  It’s best to carry tissues with to keep on hand for public restrooms or emergencies.

Once you come to grips with going to the bathroom in a hole, you don’t ask why people do it or complain about how gross it you just do it; Definitely a big change from western toilets.

Social media

When you Google Facebook or YouTube, an error message just pops up.

Language Studies 

Some schools require a language pledge; (can’t speak a word of English, watch English movies, or leave your door open while Skype-in English. No question, no English can be hard. Most people speak to others in stores and restaurants in Chinese anyway; English you might get a look of disgust.

Orientation Week

Most universities in China make a big to do about orientation week. It’s one of those necessary student trials when you go to a new school, and while orientation isn’t always the most upbeat activity, there is plenty of food and drink available. It’s considered the number one event in the beginning of the school year at most universities.