Welcome to China
The China Destination Guide will provide a historic overview, scholarships, health and safety tips and identity-specific resources to ensure students feel prepared with insight and resources for their global experience in China.
The information shared below is a bird eye’s view and meant to provide some country-specific context. We encourage students to conduct further research and chat with advisors, program leaders, international student services at the host campus, internship coordinators or peers who have traveled to China, to gain a greater understanding of their host country and city.
As the largest country in East Asia, China is known for its rich history, natural beauty and increasing influence on the world stage. It features the cosmopolitan sophistication of Hong Kong and Shanghai and the industrial might of Beijing. China is also home to ancient temples and palaces, and the seemingly untouched landscapes of its rural areas. Many U.S. students in China study in these more populous cities, generally along the northeast in Beijing and Shanghai or along the south coast, in Canton Province and Hong Kong.
In addition to the rich cultural and natural history of China, there are a number of practical reasons students should choose this destination for their global program. The education system is one that is reputable and competitive, offering academic opportunities for students studying a variety of disciplines, from history to business to language. Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University and University of Science and Technology in China were ranked the top 4 universities in China, respectively, and are also among the top 100 universities in the world! And with the world’s second largest economy, there are a number of potential career opportunities for students interested in finance, manufacturing, and international trade in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.
These factors contributed to China attracting 11,910 study abroad students from U.S. institutions during the 2016-17 school year. This is almost 4% of the total number of students studying abroad and the largest total for any country outside of the European continent.
There are endless activities and entertainment to enjoy while learning or working in China! Making a list of sites and activities you would like to check out will help with planning your time abroad, but also allow yourself to stumble upon local and spontaneous excursions to truly experience this country.
Staying Healthy & Safe in China
You cannot always predict the hiccups that may occur during your time abroad, but taking the proper measures to ensure your health and safety in China will eliminate or lessen the extremities of any unplanned situations.
Health insurance is mandatory for all international students in China. Students participating in a study abroad program of any duration are required to have international health insurance, usually included in the program costs and provided by your academic institution or program provider. If you are traveling independently, research international options available to you within your current health care provider. You can also look into international health insurance companies that provide various plans and choose the one that best suits the type and duration of your travels in China. In the case of an emergency, be sure this information is easily accessible by storing your insurance card in a transportable and secure place, creating a copy of your health insurance card or storing the information in your phone. It is also helpful to be aware of nearby hospitals, clinics and pharmacies in case you are in need of these services or resources. Here are a few of the China emergency numbers to keep in mind:
110 - China Police (This number can be used for all emergencies)
120 - China Ambulance
119 - China Fire
China is a fairly safe place with a relatively low crime rate, however no matter where you are in the world, whether it is your hometown or a new city, it is important to be alert and practice awareness of your surroundings. Most travelers can expect a safe experience in China. Here are a few quick tips to ensure your safety during your time abroad:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Leave valuable items at home whenever possible and only travel with your necessities
- Avoid being flashy or careless with valuable items
- Ensure your bags and pockets are tight and completely zipped
- Have a travel partner when possible
At Diversity Abroad, we acknowledge that experiences can vary by identities and others’ perceptions of them. To access identity-based resources regarding health and safety view the Diversity & Inclusion Guides to China below.
Funding & Scholarship Opportunities
There are many scholarships to fund your study abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in this country:
The China Critical Language Scholarship program is a language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students designed to increase the number of students mastering critical languages and building relationships with other cultures.
Make sure to check in with your study abroad office and academic department to learn of any scholarships that may apply toward your global program.
For more scholarships, visit the Diversity Abroad scholarship listing.
Note: These tips are intended to serve as an overview and are not exhaustive. Be sure to research your destination thoroughly to prepare for your experience abroad.
Data acquired via the Cia.gov Work Factbook
Population in China:
1,384,688,986 (July 2018 est.)
Majority Han Chinese
China recognizes a total of 56 ethnic groups
Mandarin and Cantonese are official languages. Depending on city
Buddhist 18.2%, Christian 5.1%, Folk Religion 21.9%
China has many celebrations based on historical moments, culture and more. See the resources below to learn more about the celebrations that may take place while you are visiting.
Historic sites in China
China hosts many historical sites, seven of which are named UNESCO World Heritage. From Beijing, Xian to Qufu, students can admire staple landmarks that showcase historic milestones and significance.
Current Status of Diversity & Inclusion
Although China is ethnically diverse, it is highly racially homogenous. Additionally, some contend that China has no problem with racism, but to not acknowledge race creates an issue with naming mistreatment or inequality. Outside of China’s more populous, global cities, such as Shanghai or Beijing, many Chinese are unaccustomed to Westerners of any race. What is advertised as “typical” cultural behavior or norms may also be a narrow and selective interpretation, such as the perception in some countries that all Americans are rich and have blonde hair and blue eyes.
In general, the people of China are justly known for their generous hospitality to foreigners. Members of the community in which students however, will live may display a range of reactions to differences that students present. Almost universally, the only students of color on Chinese campuses are other study abroad students. A student of color may be the only non-white person in their class or friend group, or may be working and living with individuals with limited experience or understanding of their background.