9 Popular Chinese Cities Among International Students

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Several Chinese cities were popular among international students for their universities, educational programs, and overall quality of life. Here are some of them:

  1. Beijing (北京)
  2. Shanghai (上海)
  3. Guangzhou (广州)
  4. Nanjing (南京)
  5. Xi’an (西安)
  6. Chengdu (成都)
  7. Hangzhou (杭州)
  8. Wuhan (武汉)
  9. Qingdao (青岛)

These cities offer a wide range of academic programs, cultural experiences, and opportunities for international students. However, it’s important to verify the current popularity and offerings of these cities and universities when making a decision about studying in China.

Note: We would like to inform you know that we are authorized to provide Study in China counseling services for each of the universities mentioned in this article at the application stage as well as the period of time starting from being accepted until your arrival in China.

Beijing (北京)

Beijing is a popular destination for international students due to its prestigious universities, rich culture, and diverse experiences. If you’re considering studying in Beijing as an international student, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Beijing is home to some of China’s top universities, including Peking University and Tsinghua University, which consistently rank among the best in Asia. These institutions offer a wide range of programs and research opportunities for international students.
  • Beijing is the cultural and historical heart of China. You’ll have the chance to explore iconic landmarks such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city’s rich history and culture provide a unique backdrop for your studies.
  • If you’re interested in learning Mandarin Chinese, Beijing is an excellent place to do so. You’ll be immersed in the language, which can greatly enhance your language skills and cultural understanding.
  • Beijing is a cosmopolitan city with a growing international community. You’ll meet people from all over the world, which can broaden your perspective and provide a multicultural experience.
  • Beijing offers various internship and job opportunities, especially in areas like business, international relations, and technology.
  • While Beijing offers many advantages, it’s essential to be aware of the cost of living, which can be relatively high compared to some other Chinese cities. However, there are also affordable options available, and many universities offer scholarships for international students.
  • Universities typically provide international students with on-campus or off-campus housing options. Consider your preferences, budget, and proximity to your university when choosing accommodation.
  • Familiarize yourself with healthcare facilities in Beijing and make sure you have appropriate health insurance coverage during your stay.
  • Beijing, like any foreign city, may have cultural differences that international students need to adapt to. Learning about Chinese customs and etiquette can help ease your transition.

Before making a decision, it’s advisable to research the specific university and program you’re interested in and to consult with international student offices for guidance on admissions, visas, and other practical matters. Studying in Beijing can be a rewarding experience, both academically and culturally, but adequate preparation and planning are essential for a successful stay in the city.

Shanghai (上海)

Shanghai is another popular destination for international students in China, known for its vibrant culture, world-class universities, and numerous opportunities. If you’re considering studying in Shanghai as an international student, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Shanghai is home to several prestigious universities, including Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and East China Normal University. These institutions offer a wide range of programs and are known for their research and academic excellence.
  • Shanghai is a dynamic and cosmopolitan city with a mix of modernity and traditional Chinese culture. You can explore landmarks such as the Bund, Yu Garden, and experience a blend of local and international culture.
  • Like Beijing, studying in Shanghai offers an excellent opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese. The city’s diverse population also means you can interact with people from various backgrounds and languages.
  • Shanghai is home to a large and diverse international community, which can provide you with opportunities to make friends from around the world and experience different cultures.
  • Shanghai is a major economic and business hub in China. It offers numerous internship and job opportunities, especially in finance, technology, and international business.
  • While Shanghai is a cosmopolitan city, it can be relatively expensive compared to some other Chinese cities. Housing and daily expenses can vary greatly, so budgeting is important.
  • Universities in Shanghai typically provide on-campus or off-campus housing options for international students. Consider your preferences, budget, and proximity to your university when choosing accommodation.

Shanghai’s global outlook, economic opportunities, and modern lifestyle can make it an attractive destination for international students. As with any international study experience, thorough research, communication with university officials, and proper planning are essential to make the most of your time studying in Shanghai.

Guangzhou (广州)

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Guangzhou, located in southern China, is a growing destination for international students, known for its thriving business scene, rich cultural heritage, and educational opportunities. If you’re considering studying in Guangzhou as an international student, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Guangzhou is home to several universities, including Sun Yat-sen University, South China University of Technology, and Jinan University. These institutions offer a variety of programs and research opportunities for international students.
  • Guangzhou is known for its rich history and culture. The city features a mix of traditional Chinese culture and modern development, with historical sites, vibrant markets, and a dynamic arts scene.
  • Studying in Guangzhou provides an excellent opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese. Additionally, the local Cantonese language is widely spoken, which can add a unique linguistic dimension to your experience.
  • Guangzhou is home to a growing international community, which can help you connect with people from around the world and experience different cultures.
  • Guangzhou is a major center for business and trade in southern China. It is known for its manufacturing and trade sectors, offering opportunities for internships and job placements in various industries.
  • The cost of living in Guangzhou is generally lower than in some of the larger Chinese cities like Beijing or Shanghai. Housing and daily expenses can be more affordable.

Guangzhou offers a unique blend of cultural heritage and economic opportunities. While it may not be as well-known internationally as Beijing or Shanghai, it provides a distinctive experience for international students looking to explore southern China and its diverse culture and business environment. Careful planning and research will help you make the most of your time studying in Guangzhou.

Nanjing (南京)

Nanjing is a historic and culturally rich city located in eastern China, and it has become an increasingly popular destination for international students. Here are some key points to consider if you’re thinking about studying in Nanjing as an international student:

  • Nanjing is home to a number of reputable universities, including Nanjing University, Southeast University, and Hohai University. These institutions offer a wide range of academic programs and research opportunities for international students.
  • Nanjing is known for its rich history and cultural heritage. It was the capital of several Chinese dynasties, and you can explore historical sites such as the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Presidential Palace. The city’s traditional and modern aspects make it an interesting cultural destination.
  • Like other Chinese cities, Nanjing provides an ideal environment for learning Mandarin Chinese. Immersion in the language and culture can significantly enhance your language skills.
  • The cost of living in Nanjing is generally more affordable compared to major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Accommodation, transportation, and daily expenses tend to be budget-friendly.
  • Nanjing is known for its natural beauty, with picturesque parks and lakes. Xuanwu Lake, Purple Mountain, and Jiming Temple are some of the city’s scenic attractions.
  • Nanjing is well-connected by high-speed trains, making it easy to travel to other parts of China. The city also has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and a metro.

Nanjing offers a unique blend of history, culture, and education. It’s a city that strikes a balance between modernity and tradition, making it an attractive destination for international students who want to explore a less crowded and more relaxed urban environment while still experiencing Chinese culture and language. Careful planning and research will ensure a successful study abroad experience in Nanjing.

Xi’an (西安)

Xi’an is a historically and culturally significant city in China and is increasingly becoming a popular destination for international students. If you’re considering studying in Xi’an, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Xi’an is home to several universities, including Xi’an Jiaotong University and Northwest University, which offer a range of academic programs and research opportunities for international students.
  • Xi’an is renowned for its rich history and ancient relics, including the Terracotta Army, the Xi’an City Wall, and numerous temples and pagodas. Studying in Xi’an provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Chinese history and culture.
Terra Cotta Army
  • Xi’an is a great place to learn Mandarin Chinese. Being less cosmopolitan than cities like Beijing and Shanghai, you may have more opportunities to practice Chinese in daily life.
  • Xi’an is known for its affordability compared to larger Chinese cities. Housing, food, and daily expenses tend to be more budget-friendly.
  • Xi’an’s culture may have unique aspects that international students need to adapt to. Understanding Chinese customs, local etiquette, and traditions can help you integrate into daily life.
  • Xi’an is well-connected by train and has an efficient public transportation system, making it easy to travel within the city and to nearby regions.
  • Xi’an offers natural beauty as well, with the Qinling Mountains and the Hua Shan Mountain nearby for hiking and exploration.

Studying in Xi’an can be a rewarding experience, particularly if you have an interest in Chinese history and culture. The city’s historical significance and the opportunity to explore ancient relics make it an attractive destination for international students looking for a unique Chinese cultural experience. Careful planning and research will ensure a successful study abroad experience in Xi’an.

Chengdu (成都)

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China, is an increasingly popular destination for international students. It is known for its rich culture, spicy cuisine, and unique lifestyle. If you’re considering studying in Chengdu, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Chengdu is home to several universities, including Sichuan University and Southwest Jiaotong University, which offer a variety of academic programs and research opportunities for international students.
  • Chengdu is known for its laid-back lifestyle and vibrant culture. It is a city that offers a mix of modernity and tradition, with teahouses, Sichuan opera, and a strong emphasis on the arts.
  • Studying in Chengdu provides an excellent opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese. The local Sichuanese dialect, which is a variety of Mandarin, can also be interesting to learn.
  • Chengdu is known for its affordability compared to major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Housing, food, and daily expenses are generally more budget-friendly.
  • Chengdu is renowned for its spicy Sichuan cuisine. Be prepared to explore a variety of flavorful dishes while studying in the city.
  • Chengdu is surrounded by natural beauty, with the Sichuan Basin and nearby scenic spots such as the Jiuzhaigou Valley, Emei Mountain, and more, providing opportunities for hiking and exploration.

Studying in Chengdu can be a unique and culturally enriching experience. The city’s relaxed pace of life, culinary delights, and the opportunity to explore Sichuanese culture make it an attractive destination for international students. Proper planning and research will help ensure a successful study abroad experience in Chengdu.

Hangzhou (杭州)

Hangzhou is a picturesque and culturally rich city located in Zhejiang province, eastern China, and it is an appealing destination for international students. If you’re considering studying in Hangzhou, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Hangzhou is home to notable universities like Zhejiang University and Zhejiang Gongshang University, offering a wide range of academic programs and research opportunities for international students.
  • Hangzhou is famous for its natural beauty, with West Lake being a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city offers a blend of traditional Chinese culture, modernity, and a thriving arts scene.
  • Studying in Hangzhou provides an excellent opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese. The local dialect, known as Hangzhou dialect, is a variety of Mandarin that you can explore as well.
  • Hangzhou is known for its moderate cost of living compared to larger Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Housing, food, and daily expenses are typically affordable.
  • Hangzhou’s culture may have unique aspects that international students need to adapt to. Understanding local customs, etiquette, and traditions can help you integrate into daily life.
  • Hangzhou’s natural beauty is a major draw. West Lake and the surrounding gardens provide opportunities for relaxation and outdoor activities. There are also other nearby attractions, such as Xixi Wetland and the Grand Canal.
West Lake
  • Hangzhou has a modern transportation network, including a high-speed railway station and metro system, making it easy to get around the city and to nearby destinations.

Studying in Hangzhou offers a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and academic opportunities. The city’s historical significance, natural landscapes, and vibrant urban environment make it an attractive destination for international students. Careful planning and research will ensure a successful study abroad experience in Hangzhou.

Wuhan (武汉)

Wuhan, located in Hubei province in central China, is a city with a growing international student community, offering a unique blend of academic opportunities and cultural experiences. If you’re considering studying in Wuhan as an international student, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Wuhan is home to several universities, including Wuhan University and Huazhong University of Science and Technology. These institutions offer a variety of academic programs and research opportunities for international students.
Wuhan University
  • Wuhan is a city with a rich history and culture. It is known for its unique regional cuisine, such as hot dry noodles (热干面), as well as its historical sites and museums.
  • Studying in Wuhan provides an opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese. The city’s locals primarily speak Mandarin, providing an ideal environment for language immersion.
  • Wuhan is generally considered more affordable than major Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Housing, food, and daily expenses tend to be budget-friendly.
  • Wuhan is a major transportation hub with high-speed train connections to various Chinese cities. The city also has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and a metro.
  • Wuhan is situated along the Yangtze River and features several scenic spots and parks, such as East Lake and the Yellow Crane Tower, where you can relax and enjoy outdoor activities.

Studying in Wuhan provides a blend of history, culture, and academic opportunities. The city’s central location in China and its unique regional culture make it an attractive destination for international students looking for a diverse and rewarding experience. Careful planning and research will ensure a successful study abroad experience in Wuhan.

Qingdao (青岛)

Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong province, is an increasingly popular destination for international students in China. Known for its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and educational institutions, Qingdao offers a unique experience for those studying abroad. Here are some key points to consider if you’re thinking about studying in Qingdao:

  • Qingdao is home to universities like Ocean University of China and Qingdao University, which offer a range of academic programs and research opportunities for international students.
  • Qingdao has a distinct cultural heritage, influenced by both Chinese and foreign elements due to its history as a former German concession. The city boasts historic architecture, an array of festivals, and a strong connection to the sea.
  • Studying in Qingdao provides an opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese. While Mandarin is the primary language spoken, you may also find locals who speak the Shandong dialect.
  • Qingdao is considered more affordable in terms of the cost of living compared to major Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai.
  • Qingdao is known for its stunning beaches and seaside landscapes. The city’s scenic spots, like Zhanqiao Pier and Badaguan Scenic Area, offer opportunities for relaxation and exploration.

Studying in Qingdao offers a combination of natural beauty, cultural richness, and academic opportunities. The city’s coastal location, pleasant climate, and unique cultural blend make it an appealing destination for international students looking for a diverse and rewarding experience. Careful planning and research will ensure a successful study abroad experience in Qingdao.

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