Life, Work and Study in China

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Life, Work and Study in China

Post by Admin » Fri Sep 28, 2018 9:53 am

Working in China

The Oriental Plaza in Beijing is the epitome of a new, forward-thinking China.
Even after the global economic recession of the past few years, China’s economy seems to remain on the road to success. In 2010, China overtook its rival Japan to become the second biggest economy in the world. In 2013, China’s economy generated a gross domestic product of around 9.5 trillion USD, which was almost twice that of Japan’s GDP and just over half of the USA’s GDP.

Although the general population working in China is affected by the various economic crises, this does not necessarily impact highly skilled employees, middle managers, and executives working in China. The unemployment rates apply predominantly to rural areas as well as seasonal migrant laborers in the cities.

Visa Requirements

If you consider going abroad to China for work, you should have a carefully thought-out plan and down-to-earth expectations. Although the Chinese government has made travel and working in China far easier than it used to be, to qualify for an employment visa (Z visa), you need to fulfill several requirements. You must obtain an official invitation to the country, together with an employment license or special status as a “Foreign Expert”.

Some foreigners who dream of working in China might try to enter the country with an L visa for tourists or an F visa for business trips and attempt to start work within 30 to 180 days. Do not try this! First of all, there is no guarantee that you will find a job in time. Secondly, the longer you stay without working in China, the greater your need for a financial cushion: Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou can become quite expensive cities for foreigners even after only a short time without a job.

And most importantly, even if you do find work within that period, you may have to leave the country and apply for a proper work visa before you can return to start your job. Do not take up gainful employment with anything but a Z visa. Chinese government bureaucracy is not known for its leniency in such matters and negotiating in English is unheard of.

Professional Qualifications

Unless you are feeling particularly adventurous or foolish, the most conventional way of working in China is actually the best. Start looking for a job in an FIE (Foreign-Invested Enterprise) where the vast majority of expatriates are employed. Try to be patient and build up a network of contacts to help you find a suitable position. Contacts are essential for job hunting and working in China.

With credentials and professional experience in manufacturing, engineering, pharmaceuticals, environmental technology, ICT, finance, production, or product and quality management, you possess valuable “hard skills” for working in China. Some highly-qualified expatriates may be offered a job in a Chinese company, for instance in the high-tech sector. However, this usually requires a decent knowledge of Mandarin. Chinese language skills will always give you a certain competitive edge for working in China.

Expat Assignments

Traditional expat assignments used to be typical for foreigners working in China. For example, Siemens might send a couple of engineers with experience working in the railroad construction industry to supervise the development of the new high-speed trains for the Beijing-Tianjin line. These highly-qualified employees would then stay in China in the role of project managers for one or two years. Language was not an issue because these foreigners were not expected to know Mandarin, i.e. Standard Chinese.

However, such assignments are gradually being replaced by so-called “flexpats”. Foreign employees working in China are often hired without the usual perks and expat packages to more or less local conditions, i.e. they work directly for a Chinese company. Further, language requirements have become more demanding: Foreigners finding employment in a Chinese business or a foreign company are expected to have at least some experience with Mandarin. Obviously, this is less relevant to those with jobs Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

Study in China

As China has been investing greatly in education over the last years and due to numerous partnerships China has with universities from UK and U.S., it is no wonder the number of international students is on the rise. To make studying in China even more attractive, the cost of living is significantly lower compared to many countries worldwide and except for a few universities, tuition fees are affordable.
On average, international students spend around 4,000 USD for accommodation and about 2,000 USD for other living costs (such as food, transportation, etc.) per year.
However, since China is a big country, you should know there can be significant differences regarding prices and living costs depending on each region of the country.

Here is more detailed information regarding tuition, living costs and funding opportunities for international students in China.

1. Tuition fees in Chinese universities
Tuition fees in public universities
The average tuition fees in public universities range between 3,300 and 10,000 USD/year.

Fees for an English-taught degree are between 2,200 and 4,500 USD/year
Programmes in medicine, engineering and business: between 24,000 and 50,000 USD/year
UK universities with a local campus in China:

12,000 USD/year for a Bachelor’s degree
13,500 USD/year for a Master’s degree.
Tuition fees in private universities
Apart from several private Chinese universities, you can also apply to many American and British universities with a local campus in a Chinese city. Tuition fees in these universities start from around 8,000 USD/year and can lead to around 15,000 USD/year.

Most affordable Chinese universities

Samara National Research University – average tuition fees 1,800 USD/year
Nanjing University of Technology – average tuition fees 4,000 USD/year
Beijing Jiaotong University – average tuition fees 5,000 USD/year
University of Science & Technology of China – average tuition fees 4,350 USD/year

Tuition fees at top-ranked universities

Peking University – average tuition fees 17,000 USD/year
Tsinghua University – average tuition fees 7,500 USD/year
Fudan University – average tuition fees between 8,000 and 11,000 USD/year
Shanghai Jiao Tong University – average tuition fees between 5,000 and 12,000 USD/year

2. Living costs in China

Average living costs in Chinese cities

Beijing is one of most expensive city and you will need between 1,000 and 1,200 USD/month to cover your expenses.
Shanghai and Shenzhen are the second most expensive cities, as you would spend between 850 and 1,200 USD/month.
In all the other Chinese cities, you could fairly manage with just 600 – 1,000 USD/month. This sum can also include the accommodation if you live in a residence hall.
Although Shanghai and Beijing are known as some of the most expensive cities to live in the world, you can find several affordable options for housing in these metropolitan cities. Rates are even lower in places like Tianjin, Jiangsu or Sichuan.

The most common housing options in China are:

Student residence halls – prices range between 150 and 400 USD/month.
Renting a flat – the average rate is between 300 and 1,000 USD/month for a one-bedroom apartment (depending on the city, the location of the apartment and the included facilities).
Homestay – between 350 and 550 USD/month.
Hostel – usually chosen by international students as a temporary option; rates start at 18 USD/night for a private room.
Living with a roommate whether in a student residence or in an apartment is the most common option among international students to save money.

All accommodation (mainly student residences and apartments) require a security deposit: 300 to 460 USD.
Utility bills: around 50 USD/month on water, gas, and electricity.
Food costs
Apart from being an interesting study abroad destination, China is famous for its diverse, interesting, intriguing and not to mention very affordable cuisine.

A meal at the university canteen, a small local restaurant or a fast food chain should costs between 1 and 4 USD. Mid-range dining options (prices between 4 and 7 USD) include both Chinese and international cuisine.

On average, food bills from the local supermarkets would lead to around 170 – 200 USD/month. You can find international chain supermarkets like Wal-mart, Carrefour, Auchan or Metro.

Buy fruit and vegetables from the fresh markets and you can get a big shopping bag full of fruits with only 2 – 3 USD.

China has excellent public transport at very low prices and even taxi rides are quite cheap.

Here is a general list of prices for public transportation:

Metro ride: 0.5 USD
Taxi rate per km: 0.33 USD
20-min taxi ride across town: 4 USD
City bus: 0.3 USD
A student pass for public transportation costs around 15 USD/month.
Extra costs
Books and course materials: 30 – 50 USD/semester; you could pay more if you study sciences, medicine or art.
Medical insurance: around 60 USD for six months.

3. Scholarships for international students
In order to attract more international students, the Chinese government has set a scholarship scheme, providing full or partial funding for tuition fees for both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

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