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China is a large country regarding size, population, and power. The world’s second largest country in terms of land area, China houses the biggest population, with about 1.4 billion residents. Likewise, it holds the world’s second largest economy, as well as the third most significant international student population. If you are a foreign student who has finally decided to go to China for your higher studies, the question of which city in China you will choose to spend your university years remains. With its large size, China can provide you over 100 city options. Each city has a unique set of features which attracts a certain student type.

Below is a shortlist of the best student cities in China for international students to make the best of their Chinese study abroad experience. Try to imagine yourself living in each city, and decide which location you see your best student personality come to life.


5Study in Beijing

forbidden city, China

The capital of China, Beijing (previously known as ‘Peking’) is a top choice for international students in the country because of its dynamic and diverse lifestyle. Although not as large as Shanghai in terms of size, Beijing has been holding China’s political center for centuries. One of China’s most visited tourist spots, the Forbidden City, was the home of the imperial family and still stands at the center of Beijing. Moreover, the Chinese capital will not be a disappointment to those who want to chase a cultural adventure as Beijing houses 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to tell about the significant contributions of China to the world. Likewise, those who seek an active lifestyle in the midst of busy streets and towering skyscrapers can also find a spot in Beijing.

Beijing is home to China’s internationally renowned universities, the Tsinghua University and the Peking University. International students in Beijing are in for a world-class education within a city that is filled with life in its many forms. If you study in Beijing, expect a life in the center of China’s most important events as well as a historically and culturally inclined student life surrounded by ancient palaces, bell towers, and alleyways.

4Study in Shanghai

The largest and the most populated city in China, Shanghai is the country’s financial, economic, and commercial center. It also houses the world’s busiest container port. If you seek to study in a modern city, Shanghai should be your student city choice. This city gives you a lifestyle which is filled with action. International students in Shanghai can enroll among the city’s most prestigious universities, and enjoy life in a foreign land which will not seem alien at all because of the rich intercultural exchanges in the city. In Shanghai, you can also revel in the architecture which boasts of a blend between classic and modern design.

While it may be expensive, Shanghai has affordable options for international students concerning transportation, food, and accommodation options. You can always have a taste of the Shanghai life without joining in the sophisticated and luxurious expenditures of the residents. If you imagine yourself living in between the hustle and bustle of a modern city in China, choose Shanghai.

3Study in Hong Kong

An autonomous province of China or a Special Administrative Region of China (SAR) since 1997, Hong Kong boasts of a powerful economy. Masterfully planned as a global city, Hong Kong attracts tourists because of its skyscrapers and sprawling entertainment parks. Hong Kong enjoys a free economy which is a highly competitive one as well. Its own currency, the Hong Kong Dollar is the world’s thirteenth most traded currency. International students who want a thrilling and vibrant Chinese life need to pick Hong Kong as their student city choice. You can never go wrong with its universities which provide a lot of English-taught courses, mainly because of the city being a melting pot for all nationalities. International students can explore the City University Hong Kong, Syracuse University, and other internationally recognized institutions in Hong Kong. Living in this city will prove to be easy, as it is home to a highly diverse community of expats and international students.

Living in Hong Kong may be different from living in other Chinese cities, because the dominant culture of the Hong Kong community is British due to its colonial roots. Nonetheless, you can find a significant concentration of Chinese students who can teach you all about the significant history of China. Regarding living costs, Hong Kong is an expensive city understandable from its prosperous economy. Students in this city can enjoy an innovative lifestyle, such as living in hole-in-the-wall apartments. If you are a student who prefers an energetic way of life, Hong Kong is definitely your place-to-be.

2Study in Hangzhou

One of the 7 ancient capitals in China and fondly called “heaven on earth”, Hangzhou is famous for its picturesque landscape. With its small size and population, Hangzhou is ideal for international students who find a laid back environment conducive for learning. However, despite its discreet profile, Hangzhou boasts of a rich history, economy, and education system. The West Lake and the Grand Canal are 2 of the city’s most visited spots considered World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Moreover, the city respects and preserves tradition which will surely lure culture buffs. It also enjoys a high economic status as one of China’s wealthiest cities. Furthermore, the Zhejiang University belongs to China’s top-ranked institutions for higher learning. Hence, if you seek excellent education situated in a place where you can take in nature’s wonder, Hangzhou is your best pick.

1Study in Xiamen

“The Hawaii of China”, Xiamen (historically known as ‘Amoy’) is a city situated in a sub-tropical island. It is a city which enjoys a high economic status and an easy-going community. International students in China who crave a relaxed and liberated lifestyle need to select Xiamen as their student city. Living and studying in Xiamen allows for a breathtaking daily adventure alongside a high quality of life. For some years, the city of Xiamen is dubbed as China’s “most romantic leisure city” and China’s second most suitable city for living. If you are pulled towards a location where the crossroads of nature and city meet halfway, choose Xiamen.

Finally decided on which city to pick? It’s time to move forward to the next steps. See related pages below to help in your upcoming study journey in China.

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