Hi. I've applied to attend SWUFE's Chinese language course in the fall and have gotten an email saying I have been accepted. Unfortunately the person I emailed does not answer my specific questions and keeps referring me to the student handbook. I'd prefer to get a few specific answers before throwing away my current life to go live in a foreign country, especially since I'm uncertain if I will actually have a dorm room ;p
So anyway, I would really appreciate if anyone could give me info on the current status of the SWUFE dorms, and if they were flooded. Also, is it legal to arrive on a "tourist" visa and then change it to a long term student visa? Apparently I applied very late and that is what the school told me to do, instead of mailing me the proper paperwork. If you've been in the program, did you apply directly to SWUFE, or did you apply through CUCA website? Also has anyone used their airport pickup service when they arrived in Chengdu?
I really want to go to SWUFE, at least to the program as advertised on the website (http://international.swufe.edu.cn) but the terseness and lack of info in response to my emails is making me second guess my decision. I'd really appreciate if anyone could tell me about their experience at SWUFE. Also if you could give me an idea of how much $ to bring with me (besides school fees). Thanks!
hey there, i studied at SWUFE in 2006 and still live in chengdu. quite a few of my friends have studied there since. the program is pretty good as far as the university programs in chengdu go. the class sizes tend to be on the smaller side, which is nice, and they really seem to tailor the courses to the students' needs.
i haven't heard anything about the dorms being flooded so i would imagine they're fine. i don't know if it's "legal" to arrive on a tourist visa and then change it to a student visa, but i'm pretty sure it's possible, which is of more importance. i did not use the school's airport pickup as i was already living in chengdu when i attended. but getting from the airport into the city is not difficult. there is an airport bus for 10 yuan that takes you to renmin nan lu, or you can get a taxi for around 50 yuan.
how much money to bring depends on how you want to live and how long you're staying. better to bring more than you think you'll need, i suppose. you should be able to access your bank account from here, so you don't technically need to "bring" the money.
Thanks! My major problem and reason for the airport pickup is my luggage ;p I'm a hefty girl & going for 2+ years so I'm bringing a LOT of clothes. Since I know nothing abut the schools and public transport I just dont feel confidant going and hoping for the best. I dont want to have to haul my laptop bag, carry-on & 2 large suitcases down random alleys trying to figure out where I'm going :D ^_^
I can answer your questions as I'm currently enrolled at SWUFE.
1) The dorms weren't flooded. There are two dorms: a recently "renovated" dorm and the original foreigner dorm. I definitely recommend the original dorm (which used to be a hotel) as it has Western toilets. The "renovated" dorm (I use the term loosely) has the squatting toilets and the rooms are much smaller. Also, try to get a room that isn't on the first floor of either dorm as you'd get more bugs than you would if you were higher up.
2) I know tons of people who come to Chengdu on a tourist visa and then decide they like the city so much they want to stay here and study. They've all changed to a student visa without any difficulty. I've personally helped friends have their visas changed over, and no one at the visa office batted an eye.
3) The first time I came to Chengdu, I applied to SWUFE via my American college. When I came back a second time, I applied directly through SWUFE as it was faster and cheaper that way. If you're having any problems communicating with SWUFE's secretary, it's because his English isn't as great as the teachers' and dean. If there is any part of your questions that confuse him, he'll most likely direct you to the student handbook.
4) The first time I came to SWUFE, I did use their airport pickup service. They send a volunteer student (either foreign or Chinese) to come pick you up in a taxi that's paid for by the school. This saves you 50-75 kuai and you get to make your first friend easily. There are luggage carts in the airport, but keep in mind that at best you might be able to maneuver two carts on your own for your luggage.
Also, I don't recommend bringing two years worth of clothing. You're a girl, so you probably love to shop. There's also the issue that you might find yourself losing weight during the 2 years you're in China. If you find yourself needing to buy new clothes, there are foreign stores like Uniqlo and H&M which carry decent quality, larger Western sizes. But in my experience, the girls in the dorms here lose a bit of weight and end up buying new clothes.
For the issue of money, in my experience eating out twice a day every day for a single person is around $200 a month. This includes me going to bars on the occasional weekend and eating the more expensive Western food every now and then (like Subway). You can expect to pay around 100-200kuai a month for electricity (depending on if you need to use the A/C and if you cook in your room). I would keep your money in an American bank account and withdraw from it whenever you're getting low on cash. I use Bank of America and I can use Construction Bank's ATM without a fee.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks for opening this thread, I'm also going to study at SWUFE starting this September. I am facing the same problems concerning poor communication and a lot of unanswered (or slowly answered) questions but your tips are definitely helpful. I already got my tourist visa which will be changed to a student visa once I am there, at least that's what they told me. Though I'm pretty sure this shouldn't cause any further problems.
Since I will still be enrolled at my home university in Munich I need to take business related courses but my main idea behind going to Chengdu is to improve my Chinese which I've been studying as part of my bachelor program for the last three years (at least the basics), this should either happen by also enrolling in a chinese learning program and/or private lessons, going to figure that out once I am there. If anyone has some recommendations concerning this issue I would be grateful to hear them. My current plan is to take private lessons 3 hrs per day from Mon till Fri. As you may see, I am taking this really seriously.
Furthermore I am looking for accommodation. I don't want to live in dorms anymore and am looking for an apartment/condo to rent. Thanks to Google maps I know where the university is located but I have no idea where is a good place to live, neither I fully know the dimensions and also the issue of traffic. To be honest, I don't want to live too far away from the campus and also where some action is going on but it should also be easily accessible to a good language school in case I choose one (which I don't know yet, that's the thing). I am willing to pay 2.000 yuan per month for a place for myself, so if you have any suggestions or contacts to share please let me know (maybe I will also open a new thread for that).
What else is there to say? Maybe I should mention that it is not my first time in China/Asia. Last year I lived in Hong Kong for eight months (exchange semester and internship) where I also came to travel a lot in South-East Asia and also some parts of China including Tibet. And this year May and June I was doing an internship for the Austrian embassy (I'm both Austrian and German) in Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia, so I think I should be mentally prepared for this adventure, I am definitely looking forward to it!! =)
So thanks in advance for any recommendations, I've been occasionally following this website (and also the magazine) for quite some time now and it's very helpful to become a bit more familiar with the place before you actually go there!
Mizuiro, thanks so much for all the info. It's definitely a relief to read it.
Do you happen to know how early I can move into the dorms? I wanted to go around mid to late august to get to know the area before classes start.
Dominik, it's nice to know I'm not the only one having communication difficulties! LOL
msinglynx, you should be able to move into the dorms whenever you want. The school usually encourages you to come early to get used to the scenery. I happen to know as a fact right now the original dorms have single and double rooms available on the second floor, and after the beginning of August a lot of rooms open up when the summer program ends and students go back home.
Dominik, the classes at SWUFE are from 9:00am-12:00pm (or 12:30 depending on how much your teacher likes to talk) Monday-Friday. While there is no doubt that private tutoring would be more beneficial than a classroom setting in some aspects, are you wanting to study Chinese 6 hours a day? As for accommodation, I can't be of much help. When I first stayed at SWUFE I lived on campus but last semester I moved into an apartment off campus that was a 10 minute walk from class. I found that I missed the lively atmosphere of the dorm (which is strange because I hate dorms) and have recently moved back on campus. I remember paying 1600rmb/month for my 2 bedroom 1 bathroom fully furnished place.
Thanks mizuiro for your answers! According to my home university I have to take business related courses, so everything else will have to follow that. I read about a language school called 'Chinese Corner' which should have quite a good reputation and offering 1on1 tutoring for a bit expensive but in my opinion still ok price of 55RMB per hour (might get cheaper when I book lots of hours).
Now the problem I have is that my future place to stay should be close to this school but also not too far away from SWUFE. Here's the location of Chinese Corner: http://www.chinesecorner.cn/page/contact/
Google maps is too abstract for me and I don't have any idea about traffic in Chengdu, just heard it's quite bad, even for Chinese/Asian standards. That's definitely something I also have to consider. Any recommendations concerning this? Oh and I found out about the option of a home-stay although it's kind of hard to get more reliable infos about that, seems like many people have made bad experiences with it and just lost a lot of money.
Many thanks in advance!
I'm currently at SWUFE (old campus, which is where Chinese courses are), taking a summer semester of Chinese. I'll be staying through the fall, so you may bump into me. As for the floods, our building wasn't damaged that much. The worst thing that happened to me was that rain came through my bathroom window, and I had a few leaks in the ceiling. The long and short of it was that nothing too bad happened, considering the size of the storm.
As far as communication with the school goes, I've had to go through my American university. But the school won't have any class selections for you until August. (Or that's what they told me, at least). I should also warn you that if you're staying at the old campus, then it'll be a bit of a hassle to take business courses. You'd have to take the bus every day, which is about 10 yuan both ways. That doesn't sound like much. But when you consider the time and effort it takes to get from one campus to the other, and spending 20 yuan a day for classes, it can get a bit annoying, even if it is only a moderate expense.
As far as packing, I suggest only bringing about 2 week's worth of clothes. Get some outfits that you can mix and match. There are plenty of places to go shopping here, so you shouldn't worry about it. You will lose weight. No question about it. I've actually lost an alarming amount of weight. (I was already thin to begin with, and now I'm not but skin and bone).
Life here is good. The people are friendly, even if you have problems with Chinese. As long as you are open to new experiences and going outside your comfort zone, you'll have a great time. That's really my biggest tip. Just try stuff. If you don't like it, it's fine. But be willing to try. (Spicy rabbit head might be a good example). It's really easy to make Chinese friends, as long as you're friendly and polite.
Living arrangements, I definitely suggest a dorm over an apartment. At least for while you're getting used to the area. The dorm is very convenient, and are comfortable. They aren't the nicest rooms in the world, but they're pretty good if you clean them up a bit. Maybe get some posters or something. (The guy before me put up a bunch of basketball posters. My room looks like it belongs to an 8 year old boy! But he glued magazine cuttings to the wall, so I can't get them off without taking part of the wall with it). An apartment would be nice, but a nice one would be a bit expensive. And with the dorm, there are always other foreigners coming in and out. They like to travel in groups, so if you're a bit nervous in your first few weeks, it shouldn't be hard to make a couple friends and go explore. They like to drink in the lobby at night, so it's good if you're into the socializing with other westerners thing. But I do suggest making more Chinese friends. That's how you're going to practice Chinese and get better at it. I feel making Chinese friends is better than getting a tutor. For one, it's free. And for two, they'll help you get more adjusted to life here. And as a perk, they can help show you cool things to do. (Though in my experience, whenever I meet someone, they want to go to Jin Li Street. It's cool. But not worth going to more than maybe 3-4 times. But they do have a Starbucks, if you're a coffee addict like me).
Good luck. I hope to see you in the fall!
Out of curiousity, are any of you American? How did you handle having a one way ticket out of the country? I've been told they may not let me go without a return ticket. Is that true?
Also, why is everyone losing so much weight? O_O I mean, is the food that bad or are you all getting the Chinese version of Montezuma's revenge?? lol Or just getting way more excersize?
Which reminds me, is it a good idea to buy a bike? I was thinking one of the folding kind and taking it in to stores or my room with me when necessary. And also, I've recently discovered that I really love the gym. How are the gyms in China? Are they filled with meathead bodybuilders like in the US? I'm going to a YMCA gym so it's family friendly and filled with kids & chubby moms and I'd like to have a similarly pleasant experience if possible. But any cardio heavy gym will do in a pinch.
Thanks everyone, for all the great info!
I'm from Florida. I bought a 1-way ticket out here. Didn't have a problem. It depends on your school, I guess. (Are you going with a US school, or just doing this for the heck of it?)
As far as losing weight, there are a lot of factors. Food is one of them. To be honest, the food in Chengdu can either be really good or really bad. If you like spicy food, this place with be heaven. If you don't like spicy food... You're gonna get used to it. Fast. I started eating a lot of shao kao (Chinese BBQ), and I was losing weight. I couldn't find any other source of meat, so I felt like the protein was needed. But I've been told by some of my Chinese friends that I should avoid eating it so much. They said it was "toxic for your health." I'm not really a health nut. And I've always been under the impression that if it taste good, you eat it. But the first few weeks I was in Chengdu, it wasn't uncommon for me to be waking up and needing to vomit. It just takes your body some time to adjust to the food here. The good news is, if you're going to be living in the international dorm at the old campus of SWUFE, (which I assume is where you'll be), then there are three American restaurants that are about a five minute walk away. We have a Pizza Hut, a KFC, and a Pete's Tex Mex. It's a little pricier than getting food at a basic Chinese restaurant. But the fact is, you're eventually going to crave a hamburger, or some pizza. It happens to all of us. It's no more expensive than if you ate it in the states, but you can get food for so much cheaper around here. I can get a meal that is too big to finish for 7 yuan, which just over 1 USD. It's hard to beat that. But rice and beef strips get old after a while. So... I don't know. To be honest, I'm just not as hungry anymore.
I do have one concern that you should probably be prepared for. It's gross, but if you're into eating the "exotic" food like I am, then you may or may not catch a parasite. I've been eating a lot of cow intestine, crow legs, and head cheese lately. So it's possible to catch something like that. But that comes with the territory of living in a developing country. On the bright side, the food is good. Just might not be good for you.
And yes. You will be walking. A lot. This doesn't bother me. But I remember one of the girls from my school wasn't used to it. She was a bit on the wide side, and lost a lot of weight from just walking around and eating nothing but rice and water for a few weeks. It's not really a bad thing, unless you're already under-weight to begin with. Then it becomes a problem.
Bike and gym.... Well, a bike could be useful if you're going to stay here a while. But you might just want to get an electric bike. I'm still shopping for one, but there is a second-hand bike shop on campus. I prefer the electric because I'm lazy, and I think they're neat looking. Vroom-vroom! (They're kind of dorky, but they look like fun). I also suggest them, because they'd be easier to ride after going grocery shopping, or if you had to carry something. If you're on a bike, then you're going to have some balance problems. Just a thought...
Also, I don't think a folding bike is a good idea. That would get stolen in a heart-beat. Just buy a bike when you get here. Nothing special about it. You just get a basic U-Bar lock, and put it in the fenced area just outside the dorm. It's like a parking lock for bikes. You'll be fine. But a folding one... that's something I could see getting stolen here.
As for the gym, I can't say I've had a lot of experience with that. Back in the states, I used to go to a gym on the Air Force Base where my hometown was. So the environment was people just there to better themselves, so no one cared if you were a bit paunchy, or if you couldn't lift much. I stopped going to gyms after I moved to a university, where it was just a bunch of knuckle-headed kids trying to make others feel self-conscious. I knew a couple of frat boys who would make a habit of making fun of people who were out of shape. I'm not into that sort of thing, so I don't make a habit of going to gyms anymore. But in Chengdu, I know of two gyms. There is a school gym I went to once, it's on campus. The only thing I didn't like about it was that 1) It's damned hot here already. (Summer). and 2) there is a lack of gym etiquette. For example, I was using a weight set, and while doing reps, I paused. I put down my weight and turned to get my bottled water, (don't drink the tap water! -very important!!!-), when I turned back, someone had walked off with the weight. I was new to the area, so I thought it might have just been someone pulling a fast one on the foreigner. But after watching for a bit, I realized that if the tools aren't immediately in your hands, people just snatch it. There's not enough to go around, so you use it till you're done. Good luck trying to get it back.
There is another gym near the American food area, (as well as a Ren Ren Le, which is a grocery and sundries store). I haven't been there. But whenever I go shopping, or want to get some pizza, people hand me fliers about the gym up on the third or fourth floor. I can see it from the street. But how you get to it, I don't know.
As far as cardio goes... can't you do that anywhere? Go dancing, do jumping-jacks, or jog a little. There is a track near the south gate. Climb a mountain, (there's a workout for you). There's plenty of things to do. You don't need to pay for a gym to do that. :)
Dude, you sound like you are getting sick! Have you considered learning to cook for yourself? I chose Chengdu because I heard that it has a strong organic farming community. Cheesy I know, but I am aware how contaminated a lot of things in China are, so I thought it would be in my best interest to have a source of healthy food.
About parasites, eat garlic, as much as you can every day for a few weeks. It will kill at least some of them. You can eat it raw or heat it in a microwave for a minute and it'll get soft & sweet. Obviously I love to cook lol.
Thanks for the info on the gyms and cardio :D I'm sure I'll find something to do :D
I had a couple of other things to ask but my brain is fried at the mo & I cant remember :D I will probably ask them later.
Thanks Ai Zhe Xi
I'm not sure I agree with a lot of the things Ai Zhe Xi says in terms of food. Yes, Chengdu is in Sichuan and is famous for its spicy food. But that doesn't mean you can only find lava to eat here. I for one never ate anything spicier than tobacco sauce until I came. It took me about 3 months to adjust to where I could eat the majority of the dishes served in restaurants, but in those 3 months I was able to find a variety of food to fill my stomach. Eating just rice and water for weeks? That's starvation. Unable to find protein aside from shao kao? That's ridiculous. There is a plethora of dishes and restaurants to choose from. You probably just never asked any of the many other foreign students to help you order. I could have taken you to several places in the vicinity that offer healthy and delicious non-spicy (Hong Kong style) food.
And yes, you will most likely have traveler's diarrhea. Bring some pepto-bismol and take it easy the first few weeks you're here. Don't start experimenting with a lot of the stranger cuisines until you can handle the basics. This is just something normal that comes with going abroad.
And about the plane ticket, you don't need to buy a return ticket before coming to China. No problem~
Are we allowed to cook in the dorms? If necessary I can make most of my own food (including protean filled vegetarian if necessary), so I dont think I will spend much time sick :D I''ve read China Smack often enough to know I will probably not be eating much (if at all lol) at roadside stands :D I'm sure I'll find something edible, I dont mind spicy food at all :)
So it looks like I probably wont be losing all that much weight! hehehe
As far as cooking in the dorms.... There is no rule against it. But I think it's a bit inconvenient. There is a fridge on the second floor that fluctuates a bit. And there is a kitchen... sort of. Effectively, only one person could cook at a time, and you're a bit limited to the tools. (Think stove-top, I guess would be the best way to describe it). I did get a water boiler. That'll save you a bit of money. You can boil the tap water, and it becomes drinkable. Or you can get a water dispenser if you just "must" have it cold.
But I wouldn't count on cooking for yourself a lot here. It's so much easier and cheaper just to walk down the street a minute and pick up some lamb-ka-bobs, or hit up one of the local restaurants.
About my food experiences... It's not to say that there isn't better stuff around. There is. But the things that are readily available, (which when you're jet-lagged for the first half-week or so, is important), aren't exactly great. There is a good hot-pot place I like to go not too far from the dorm, and I go to the Muslim shop a lot. (Good sweet and sour beef). The rice and water was the other student. Not me. I'm more... adventurous, when it comes to food. You think of anything "exotic", and I've probably had it slither and scurry down my throat. I think this girl was on a very tight budget, and was purposely starving herself. It's not to say you can't get by on 7 yuan a meal.
And I know about the garlic. I've been eating it a bit. I don't "know" that you'll catch them. But it should be a concern. But then, I've always had a ridiculously fast metabolism. So I'm used to being thin as a beanpole.
Remember: Be brave! If you don't know what it is, try it. Just don't ask. I've seen a girl spray chunks over the sidewalk when I explained that she just ate "head cheese." She didn't know what that was. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have told her.
But all in all:
*Pack light. You can get a lot of things here. But if there is something "special" you want from the west, bring a little bit. But don't horde it like gold.
*Be prepared to lose a bit of weight. Everyone has, for different reasons. (Food, exercise, sickness, or dieting).
*Be prepared to try food you might not otherwise think about eating. To be honest, it bugs me when I see some of the foreigners go to the American shops every day. And I mean every day. It's one thing to miss home and want something familiar. But if you're traveling the world, you might as well go out on an adventure. (Not that I don't eat American food often. I tend to go about twice a week). There is plenty of good Chinese food, (once you find it). So go explore!
The only other advice I can think of is to set up a VPN network. The Great Fire-Wall of China is quite the pain in the arse. I'm not a facebook addict or anything. But it would be nice to browse youtube every once in a while to listen to a song I don't have on my computer.
If there is anything else you can think to ask, let me know. I'm trying to think of things I can really tell you about the area. But I've only been here for a few months. It's a nice place, to be sure. But you're going to have to decide that for yourself. Some people love it here, and others haven't been able to adapt. So it's really just about your attitude towards experiencing another way of life.
On a side note, I could use some tips too!
I've been desperately trying to find window screens. My room doesn't seem to have them, and the guard won't let me snag any from the empty rooms. I live on the first floor, and my air conditioner unit doesn't work. I bought a little electric fan, but after I take a shower, my room becomes more humid than the rain forest. I'd love to open my windows, but when I do, I get all sorts of mosquitoes and nits. So I'm kind of boned until I can find a place that sells some window screens. Anyone know a place nearby that might have them?
Heh brilliant, thats what I was gonna ask and forgot. Anybody recommend a good VPN? And do they work with the school's internet or should I get my own connection (I think I read that you can have internet in your room for an extra charge)?
Actually, I lived in the tropics. You can use mosquito netting and staple it around the window. You might get a few crawlies but it will keep out the mosquitos. Any fine, net-like fabric will work in a pinch, they can double as curtains :)
Did you choose your room or was it assigned? Can you switch?
Also, eat lots of garlic, like 2 to 3 cloves a day, otherwise it wont work just taking a bit once every couple of days. It's like a drug, it builds up in you and makes a toxic environment for pests but you need it regularly, or it's just flavoring ;p it's good for your immune system too, stops colds if you eat some right as they are starting. Better than going to the doctors for an antibiotic drip anyway (IMO ;)
Oh and I thought there were small fridges you could rent for your room??
Of course you can cook in your rooms. I do it regularly and don't find it inconvenient. If you ever make friends with any of the many Thai kids (who are all great cooks, by the way) they cook just about every night in their rooms. If you're going to be here for 2 years, I recommend buying an electric burner that you plug into the wall. They're small and pretty convenient, and can even be taken back with you to the states. You can buy a decent one for around $15. Also, the dorms have a handful of mini-fridges but they've all been claimed by other long-term students. If you're wanting one, your best bet is to buy a new one for around $100 instead of waiting for one of the long-term students to leave. The ones at the school are really old and the freezer partition frequently needs to be defrosted, which is a pain.
The kitchen isn't so much of a kitchen as it is a preparation area. There is a large fridge, but it's usually filled to the brim with stuff so you can't always count on there being room for your groceries. There is no stove top or oven in the kitchen, either. But there is a microwave.
I also recommend getting a water dispenser. It's cheaper than buying water bottles every day. You can get a 5 gallon water jug for $1.50, whereas a small bottle of water is $0.30. I haven't heard of many people who take the time to boil their own water, but I guess you can. Also, most water dispensers do not dispense cold water however they do provide near-boiling hot water which is useful for quickly making tea or coffee.
And actually, you'll find out later in your stay that cooking for yourself is actually cheaper than eating out and of course you'll be more happier with the quality if you're cooking your own food. But like cooking in any country, it's just a matter if you want to take the time to make your own food. If I eat out everyday 3x a day eating whatever I want, I spend around 1100kuai a month. If I cook for myself everyday I spend about 600 a month. If you know how to bargain shop and get used to the stores, you'll know who has what for cheaper prices, where to get the best and cheapest produce, what times of day to buy the freshest meat, and so on.
It would be a pity if you didn't at least try the different foods available from the roadside stalls. A lot of them are really good, it's just that they shouldn't be eaten every single day just like you shouldn't eat fast food every day.
About the internet, the school has its own internet service that I think was around 150kuai a year. It's very, very slow. (About like dial-up) However you can use an off-campus internet service that's 70kuai a month that's much faster. About VPN's, I use either my college's vpn service (which is free but unreliable and slow) or StrongVPN. I've used StrongVPN for over a year and, while they are $10 a month, I have found them to be the most reliable, fastest, and customer-friendly VPN service I've tried. There are some free VPN services online but I'm not familiar with them.
You are first assigned a room, but if you don't like it you can switch. Like I said, I wouldn't live on the first floor!
Ai Zhe Xi, if your air conditioner doesn't work you can tell the 服务员. I told them yesterday that my air conditioner wasn't as cold as usual and they fixed it this morning. About the screens, most rooms on the first floor have theirs removed for some reason. If you're planning on staying here next semester what you can do is when all the other Florida students go home, see who has a screen in their bathroom and take theirs.
One step ahead of you, Mizuiro. Just a couple of weeks, and I'll try to snag a screen from one of the American students. I'm not sure why the first floor doesn't have them. But whatever.
And what's wrong with the first floor? I like my room. Aside from the basketball pictures someone glued to the wall, I find it to be cozy. I have a nice view of the courtyard, and I'm in a good corner where there is no hallway traffic. It's a nice quiet place to just relax when I'm not up for another day of adventuring through the city.
Though I might have to ask about the air conditioner. It does get hot, somethin' awful in my room sometimes. Now I just gotta figure out how to say that in Chinese....
But I completely agree. You at least have to try some of the street food. It's so delicious. During the week, every night about 9:00pm, a couple of people set up shao kao stands out on the main street just next to our dorm. I normally wait till about 9:20, because sometimes they are a little late. I love to go there and just get lamb and beef-ka-bobs. They're delicious. (Though the first week you're here, they will tear up your stomach like shrapnel in a bag of tissue paper). I'm getting hungry just thinking about it. (Guess what I'll be having for dinner tonight). Point is, it's cheap, and it's close. And it is so good. You gotta try it just once.
I agree having a stove-top hot plate would be a good idea if you want to cook for yourself. But food is so cheap here anyway, I don't think there would be any sort of monetary problem with eating out. (And if it was, it's super easy to find work here). But then, I'm not a great cook. I'm fine enough for my own tastes, but I used to be a spaghetti freak back in the states. So I'd need pots and pans, and all sorts of stuff that is just a hassle. But I must admit, the longer I stay here, and the more I think about the time I'll be here, cooking for yourself seems like a nice idea. I guess I'm just spoiled that I can walk just outside and get a full meal of lamb. (I love lamb). But maybe someday I'll get tired of it, and finally break down and buy some cooking tools.
So about when are ya moving in? Since it can take a while to get internet, (the office hours are a bit odd here), I can show you a cool little internet cafe that's about a five minute walk away. It was nice to find on the first day, just so I could email home and let everyone know I had made it here alright. I assume your friends and family will be the same way.
Concerning the food: Everytime you're talking to Chinese people about Sichuan they mention the spicy yet very delicious food, I am not worried at all to die of starvation there. When I lived in Hong Kong, the first weeks I only wanted to eat like a local, so I ate lots of chicken rice (or rice with chopped something), noodles dishes, dim sum of course and so on. After about three weeks I was really craving some western style food and from that moment on I had a good mix with mostly Chinese food but also western food on a regular basis. Within eight months, I only cooked twice, and that was not really cooking but makin my own mixed salad (because I was lacking some vitamins since all the veggies are boiled until they don't contain them anymore). In many cases cooking by yourself is actually more expensive than eating outside at the stalls or small restaurants. I've eaten at lots of rundown stalls (in China and South-East Asia) and luckily never got any disease (so far). And I'm pretty sure Chengdu offers a big variety not only of spicy Sichuan but also other styles of good and cheap food.
Concerning accommodation: I spent quite some time in dorms and recently had the pleasure to have my own apartment and to be honest, I don't want to share my room again anymore. It is true when you say it's easier to make friends and get to know people, but it's also true that you tend to hang out only with foreigners (I saw that in HK). And I also fear that it could distract me from my vigorous plans to study Chinese. As long as you are a friendly and outgoing person I think it should be no problem to get to know new people, be it foreigners or locals. And since I will go to a language school on an everyday basis (not like university) I probably should look for a place to stay near to the school although I know that it will take up to an hour to get to the uni campus. I think the best idea is just to arrive there first and then check it out. However, if someone has any suggestions I would be grateful!
I have my own room at the international dorm. It cost just a little extra, but is definitely worth the money. I can't stress how much I love having my own room. I know having a room mate makes it easier to have some friends in a new place. But the truth is that the locals are very friendly. You should want to make friends with them more than the other westerners, or you'll spend too much time talking in English.
Don't get me wrong. Be sociable. But I always snicker when I see a whole bunch of westerners walking together. It makes me think that they all need to hold hands or something. Be brave! Go get miserably lost and ask for help to get back. (Okay, maybe not that extreme. But you get the idea).
An apartment will probably be nicer. But the nice ones can get pricey if you aren't looking to work part time. I get a dorm room as part of the cost of the program. So having my own room that's a 2 minute walk from class.... Worth it.
But that's up to your preference, I suppose.
I'm sure I will eat out ;p I just like having the option of cooking if necessary. I feel it gives me a broarder range of potential meals and healthy food is important to me (eh I'm old—27—gotta watch my health ;). But all joking aside, I am pretty sensitive to additives, preservatives and food coloring, so I prefer to know what I'm (really) eating whenever possible.
I also plan to get a single room and maybe an apartment next semester, after I get a hang of everything, but mizuiro I am definitely going to follow your advice about buying the fridge and burner.
How are the on campus cafeterias?
LOL Ai zhe xi, lamb is already shrapnel to my stomach (at least the one from the greek restaurant near my house is) but I'm definitely down to check out a net cafe. I will be arriving in a month more or less. I want to arrive at least one week before class starts but I'm aiming for the cheapest ticket ;p I knew I should have bought it last month. It was $600 & now it's almost $1000.
I totally agree with you both about Westerner groups. I'm going to China to learn Chinese and Chinese business practices, not keep speaking English! I will make soooooooo muuuuch moooore money with a third language.
What types of jobs are easy to find? I've gotten some teaching job offers, but I wanted to avoid those cuz when I leave they really wont help my resume. I work as a writer tho so I'll technically be working while there.
Anyway, if any of you want to, add me on Facebook. Maybe we can hang out once in a while when I get to China :D or make a study group :)
Hey, does anyone know the exact date classes stare at swufe? I feel like I read it somewhere but now I cant find it. I want to make sure I arrive at least a week early to get my bearings.
I'm wondering whats wrong with the school canteen ? SWUFE most likely will have one aswell right ? The meals are cheap at SU.
WTF lol I dont even.....
But when does class staaaaaaaaaaaaart??? :)
MODERATOR ANNOUNCEMENT: Folks, let's stick to answering people's questions. Any further meandering off topic will result in post deletions and eventually the thread's being locked.
IMO this has been one of the more successful forum threads on gochengdoo in months. Isn't the idea of this site to build a community? Isn't that exactly what was happening here?
Jane was referring to a mean spirited post mocking someone giving me advice. Looks like she removed it which is good cuz it was pretty rude.
Ahh, OK, although this thread probably went off the original topic some time ago, I'm just not so sure that's a crime.
@msinglynx - that also explains the gap in logic between your two posts above! Anyway, welcome to Chengdu, I'm sure you'll have a great time living and studying here.
@Dragon: Yes, this thread has been very productive, for the most part, until that one came along which has since been removed. Unfortunately we don't have a very graceful way to show that posts have been deleted at the moment so the thread reads a bit funny now. I'm trying to be more stringent in moderating forum threads and story comments not because I've suddenly become drunk with power but because we've had a few ugly incidents recently with posts that quickly took a turn for the nasty.
So why were my praises of Aizhexi deleted? I just wanted to express the jubilation that fills my heart.
Classes start in late August/early September.
I heard a girl say "chivalry is dead" and he was like, "Think again, you silly tart." and then opened the door for her. True story.
Personally I'm really terrible at interpreting sarcasm so it'd be great if everyone just stuck to the facts and we stayed on topic about the school, classes and etc necessary info and stayed away from unnecessary commentary or criticism of anyones character.
For politeness sake and all.
And also, Ai Zhe Xi has been very nice and helpful towards me and made an effort to actually forward the discussion. I'd much rather be reading his writing on scary food than snide "jokes" or whatever.
I'm sorry if I said anything that people might find unpleasant. I honestly just have the intentions of helping a fellow traveler. I didn't mean to gross anyone out too bad, but I think that it's important for foreigners to understand that a lot of experiences in China are going to be very different from anything you'll find in the West.
Also, sorry Ms. I've had a few busy days lately. Didn't mean to just drop off the radar for ya. I'll fill you in later over PMs.
But I just wanted to say I'm awfully sorry if I started anything that caused any trouble. As far as forums go, I thought that everything was going pretty swell. But I'll try to tone it down a bit, I guess. Sorry to the Admins.
I'm filling out the Visa app right now. I was wondering, if any of you have a sec right now, can you tell me how you filled out the second page? Since the school told me to come on a tourist visa I have no idea what, if anything, t put in the sections where it asks for "detailed mailing address (during stay)" "name of inviter" "name of contact person in china" etc. Should I just totally not mention SWUFE or should I write in the info and explain why I'm getting the tourist visa?
Thanks for your time!
Don't come on a tourist Visa man, its only good for 3 months, the school should do your Visa for you. If you come on the tourist Visa you have to convert it to a Student Visa, but if you have all your documents you should be able to get a 1-2 year student Visa from a Chinese embassy wherever you are located with no worries at all.
Go to the nearest Chinese Embassy they will happily sort you out. The paper work seems like a hassle but they never actually check a thing its just for show...............
I dont have all the paperwork tho, they didnt mail it to me. I only just got the invitation letter yesterday & I had to ask for it in case I have trouble on entry. The appropriate embassy/consulate is in Texas & I am in Florida, I'm not going there and they seem to NEVER pick up the phone :(
Ha ha yes your right i will give you the psb number brother if you want it in Chengdu but they dont really speak english either
well jeez -_- whats the point of even having the number then? ;p And I'm technically a "sister" ;D
I just got accepted to SWUFE for 1 year of language study and I'm very happy to have found this thread. Lots of interesting stuff written here.
For now I have one question. Does SWUFE have higher level Chinese classes? I have already been studying Chinese for 3 years quite extensively and I have heard of students from my home university not finding classes of a sufficiently high level in other universities. So... does anyone know more about this?
Thanks in advance, and maybe I will post more questions later. Maybe more specifically about some arangements.
Looking forward to meeting you guys,
Jonatan from Belgium
Hey there again,
SWUFE told me that it is no problem to enter with a tourist visa and they change it once you arrived, so I already got my visa when I was in Malaysia since I would have had the same problem like msinglynx at home with having the appropriate embassy quite far away. Maybe you also have the chance to enter the mainland via Hong Kong (as a tourist). Getting a (tourist) visa there is no big deal and if you're willing to pay a bit extra for the express visa you can even obtain it the following day.
SWUFE also told me that classes start on 5th September and it is recommended to already be there on that date. Courses can be selected upon arrival, same with the paimant that needs to be done in cash. They said I should just come to the College of International Education on the first day for the registration process and so on.
Hope I could help you. Btw, only a few weeks to go and I'm soo much looking forward to it =)
PS: I'm still looking for a good language school and accommodation (own studio/appartment, 1,500 - 2,000 RMB per month, preferably close to the language school), although I already found some interesting places. So if you know any, please let me know ;)
Hi Jonatan & Dominik.
Well, time is going by so fast! I'm starting to freak out! Only 3 more weeks!! What dates are you guys arriving? I'm flying from LAX on August 30th if anyone going on the same day wants to meet up before the flight.
@Dominik, I will also probably look for my own apt. but in the beginning while getting to know the area I thought it would be better to stay in the dorms.
I am also joining SWUFE in the next few weeks until Jan. Like some of you, my contact in the university isnt quite getting what I am asking.
I have just tried to find out how many other international students are going to be going to SWUFE the same time as me, and as it is pretty soon I would like to get in contact with a few of you who are going too.
My flight is booked for the 25th August and Im flying from London. Anyone else going to SWUFE from Britain? Im pretty apprehensive at the moment but know when I get there I will be fine after a few weeks of settling in.
Anyway if anyone wants to chat and stuff before we go I would be happy to talk on facebook. Benjamin James Tossell is my name on FB and email for that is firstname.lastname@example.org
Would be good to get to know each other!
Hi Ben Tossell. The schools lack of responsiveness made me pretty anxious but I have become pen pals (sorta) with a couple of people from it and they are very reassuring about the quality of the program. I will add you on FB. :)
Only a week left! Who else is excited?
I've just been accepted by swufe, I only applied a few days ago.. I'm already in Beijing and will head off towards Chengdu within the next few days. I tried to book a train ticket today but they were all sold out! So looks like i'll be flying down this Thursday or Friday.
See you guys.
Short update from side:
I arrived in Chengdu on Sunday and it looks like I can sign the contract for my new apartment today, thanks to a friend of a friend I know here. So far I really like the city, enjoy the tea houses and especially the food (already had two hotpot dinners). I'm currently sitting at Starbucks near the Kempinski and probably head to Bookworms a bit later. I will also check out Mandarin Club and Chinese Corner for Mandarin teaching, the actual reason why I am in Chengdu. That's the positive things.
SWUFE on the other hand is really driving me crazy. Some weeks ago I asked for a list of business courses being taught in English, since attending them is the requirement from my home university. But when I went to my first class (International Finance) all the way to Liulin Campus on Monday, I was the only foreigner in the class room and the class was in Chinese.. I then went back to the foreign students' office and asked them to send me the courses which are actually taught in English but I haven't got an answer yet.
Well, I'm gonna send them another E-Mail or call them again, hopefully I can sort this out soon!
As the weekend is slowly approaching, maybe some of you want to head out for a drink the next days, my friend's friend will be leaving soon and I basically don't know anybody else so far ;)
Hey Dom, contact BenTosell above. I think he is (was?) also in the business courses on the new campus. Last I heard tho he moved to the old campus (better housing). I dnt know if he switched his business classes for language ones tho.
Hope to see you all soon! I'm super late (as per my typical MO) so I will be arriving on the 15th :D see you then!
I arrived in Chengdu last Sunday from Finland, as i got approved to study in SWUFE for one semester, and quickly realized that the dorms in Liu Lin are quite bad. I got a great two bedroom apartment right nearby the school so that aint a problem anymore.
About the education though. I thought it was quite clear for them that I'm still an undergraduate in Finland (this my third year in my university), and still they seemed baffled that I would want to attend some english taught courses instead of working on my phD or masters. Now I've got the list of phD and masters-level English courses, but the phD atleast were way over my head.. So basicly Idk whatta heck I'm gonna do all semester, as I need to get some credits somehow, and I already paid the rent for my apartment for 6 months. :D
It would be nice to meet you guys thou, because as I understood this department doesn't have too many exchange students atleast yet. Two.
Just to add to my last post, cos afterwards it may seem a bit harsh on SWUFE. Everyone here has been really nice and the ones that can, loves to chat english with you. If it wasn't for the help I've got from some of the local students, I wouldn't have gotten anything done, let alone rent an apartment. Have to give big credits for the university employees as well for being so patient and sorting things out.
Yeah you're right, some things might not work very well at SWUFE at the beginning but they try really hard to help you, in the end everything should be ok.
If you want we could go for a drink tonight, my email is d.derflinger [at] gmx [dot] net, drop me a line if you (or someone else) is interested.
@taihaole: maybe you attend the wrong finance class, because we have international finance every monday afternoon and it is taught in english... we have all our classes here at Liulin campus and they are all in English... if you are interested here is our Schedule:
Mon 1pm: International Finance
Tue 8.30am: Introduction to China / Culture&History
Fri: 8.30am: Marketing in China and Europe
1pm: Economics in China and Europe
Even though Wenjiang is really boring and dont have many international students, the professors try their best to help.
SUBJECT: SWUFE Chinese Non-Degree Language Program
My name is Ryan, I am a German-American who has been living and studying Mandarin in Kunming, China for about 2 years now. I am planning to move to Chengdu this summer to continue my Mandarin Study; I am contemplating SWUFE, as they offer the Non-Degree Chinese Language Study Program.
Reading the comments above, it sounds like people are satisified with the program. Is that true? Or do you recommend other schools in Chengdu for Mandarin Study.
Also, lodging. I am not sure where this campus is located. Would living in a dorm or getting an apartment be wiser.
Thank you for your assistance.
Hey Ryan. I still like SWUFE. I think it's cheap, they dont kick us out if we miss a lot of class, we get a free language tutor, we can attend chinese economics classes if we want (actually any class on campus) and the area is decent. There are expensive western style restaurants nearby but the cheap chinese places around the corner have english menus. I know almost all the other uni's are more expensive than SWUFE. As for housing, there are 2 options: 800rmb a month for a bigger room with a large western style bathroom and toilet. I live there and find it old, cold and a bit damp. I'm moving to option 2: 500rmb for a very small room, smaller bed but a brand new room (they are literally still making them so be prepared for construction above you), brand new heaters, no mold or damp issues, lots of sunlight. It's more of a chinese style dorm tho, and has the hole in the floor toilet with a shower head as the bathroom. :p Oh and free washer and dryer. My dorm has a pay washer and no dryers, so I go to the cheap dorms to wash my clothes.
Personally if you're just here for summer I'd recommend the 500RMB dorm. And if you plan to stay here, stick around in the dorms until you make friends and then move after you have a handle on where you want to live.
Hi, I'm planning on coming next summer. Regarding accommodation, I'm currently in another city in a university dorm where the front door is locked between 12am and 6am, and its not possible to get in and out. This is a major pain in the butt.
I need some freedom. Do the dorms at SWUFE have similar policies? If so, I'll rent an apartment or share.
The campus gate nearest the dorms closes at 11:00-11:30pm and is easy to climb. Regarding the dorms themselves, the newer dormitory stays open 24/7 while the older dormitory (currently being remodeled- the 500rmb one) has another gate that gets locked during the night. I don't know about the ease of jumping it.
Hello there !
I don't know if anyone will read this post, but I try... Can still be very usefull !
Anyway, I'm a soon to be international student in SWUFE, I'm French, coming from Rouen Business School. I wanted to have further informations about studying in SWUFE. Most important question : when does the classes start? Because I don't have this information yet, and well, this is pretty important, I need to schedule my departure...
Another question: how are the accomodations? I read the posts above, but are these informations still actual? And, how's life like, in general in Chengdu. It'll be my first time in China, so I'm pretty excited but also a little nervous. And are there a lot of international students?
If anyone can answer my post it would be greaaaat! Thanks in advance (:
My name is Isabella and I am currently studying Trade Management Asia at the University of Applied Sciences located in Amsterdam. Coming February (2015) I am planning to take my minor at SWUFE Chengdu for 1 semester.
I was wondering if someone could share their experiences on this forum regarding the university itself, campus and other facilities?
I would really appreciate it, thanks in advance! :)
My name is Isabella and I am currently studying Trade Management Asia at the University of Applied Sciences located in Amsterdam. Coming February (2015) I am planning to take my minor at SWUFE Chengdu for 1 semester.
I was wondering if someone could share their experiences on this forum regarding the university itself, campus and other facilities?
I would really appreciate it, thanks in advance! :)
Gereinigt from Germany! I'll be moving to Chengdu at the beginning of September and will be staying there for a semester (until january). Unfortunately I don't have an apartment as well as a flat mate yet.
How does it work the best in chengdu with finding apartments? What is the best way?
Since I'm gonna be studying at the SWUFE where is the best place to stay?
Thank you in advance!!
I am not familliar with finding apartments in Chengdu since I haven't been there yet, but if you are studying at SWUFE aren't you then provided with a room at its campus? It would safe you a lot of time and money!!
there is lots more of information and personal experience at SWUFE in these threads
there are dorms at SWUFE for foreign students, but they get mixed reviews
for general flat hunting check out this article
SWUFE is a good place to study, good uni specially for Economics