China is located in East Asia. With a population of over 1.35 billion, it is the world’s most populous country. It is also the world’s third largest country by size. China has more than 160 cities with a population greater than 1 million. There are great regional differences when it comes to climate, environment and culture, making China very diverse and a perfect place to experience many new cultural opportunities.
The majority of the population of China are Han Chinese. The Han Chinese are the world’s largest ethnic group, with over 1.2 billion people living in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. China’s population includes 55 other ethnic minorities, such as Manchus, Hui, Uyghurs and Mongols. This diversity in culture is thanks to the country’s rich history, dating back more than 4,000 years. The earliest examples of written history date back to 1600 BC.
The top tourist attractions in China include:
- The Great Wall of China, located in the Huairou District of Beijing. This is the longest wall in the world and one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.
- Terracotta Army Museum, located near the Tomb of Qin Shihuang, known as the First Emperor, who unified China 2,200 years ago.
- The Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world and the longest river within a single country.
- Potala Palace, located on Moburi (Red) Mountain. This is a large treasure house full of materials and articles from Tibetan history, religion, culture and art. It’s well known for its sculptures, murals, antiques, Buddha statues, scriptures and religious jewelry.
Cost of Studying & Living in China
China uses the Renminbi (RMB) as their official currency, however it is more widely referred to as the Yuan (CNY).
In comparison to countries such as America or Great Britain, China is a relatively inexpensive place to study. This means that you will be getting a high quality education for a reasonable price. As is the case in most countries, the larger cities will be more expensive for tuition fees and living costs than the smaller cities and towns.
Course fees will vary depending on your programme, as well as the level you wish to study at. The tuition fees are subject to change every year, so make sure you know how much your course costs. On average, you should expect to pay between CNY 18,000 and CNY 63,400 per year, depending on the level of studies. To put this into perspective, CNY 18,000 is around £2,000/$2,600, and CNY 63,400 is around £7,000/$9,200.
Similar to the tuition fees, cost of living in China is also reasonably low compared to other international study destinations. It is estimated that if you were to live in Beijing, your annual living costs would be around CNY 24,000. This equates to around £2,700/$3,500.
Another cost that you need to consider is health insurance. Many universities provide health insurance at a reasonable cost. You must also have a current medical examination before you can begin studying. This can be done either in your home country or when you arrive in China. You can contact your chosen institution to get more information about health insurance and possible vaccination requirements prior to your studies.
Funding to study in China
There are many different sources of funding available to international students wanting to study in China. Scholarships and grants are offered by the Chinese government and individual institutions.
For more information about what kind of funding assistance is available to you, you should contact your institution of choice. They will be able to provide you with more information about the requirements, any relevant deadlines, and how to apply for your funding.
Find out more about funding your studies in our Funding and Scholarships for International Students advice article.
How to Apply
As an international student, you will need to apply to each institution individually. The institution that you wish to apply to will be able to provide you with more information about any specific requirements. Generally, you will need to prove that you have sufficient funds, can understand the tuition language to a high enough standard, and have health insurance.
Want to study abroad but not sure on how to begin? Take a look at our advice article on Deciding to study abroad: The first steps.
Chinese Student Visas
Once your place at university has been secured and you have proof of this, you need to apply for a visa. This can be done at the Chinese embassy in you home country. If you will be staying in China for six months or more then you need a study visa, also known as an X1-visa. If you do not receive your admission documents in time, it is possible for you to arrive in China on a tourist visa (L-visa) and then convert this to an X1-visa when you arrive.
To apply for your X1-visa, you will need an original passport with at least 6 months validity remaining and blank visa pages, a completed visa application form with a recent colour passport photo, the original and photocopy of the admissions letter from your institution as well as the original and photocopy of the Visa Application for Study in China form (for JW202 or JW202). For more information about the visa requirements and application process, visit the Chinese Visa Application Service Centre website.
The official language is Standard Chinese, also known as Mandarin. It is spoken across the country, but most communities also speak a local dialect. Although many young people and students speak English, don’t miss out on the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Chinese language and culture. The ability to speak Chinese is widely desired, with it becoming an important business language.
Courses and programmes are offered in English and Chinese. If you choose to study in Chinese, you will have to prove that your language skills will meet the teaching standards. The same rule applies if you choose to study in English but it is not your native language. It is common for institutions to offer language courses to allow students to improve their required language. Contact your chosen institution if you need to take a language course prior to your studies.