China offers excellent value as a study destination
With a relatively low cost of living combined with affordable tuition fees, China is an affordable place to live and learn. INTO China's Student Services team can provide assistance by accompanying you to a local bank to exchange money or seek other services.
The Chinese Currency is the Renminbi (RMB ¥) or 'people's currency', the formal short name is 'Yuan' and the informal name used most often in everyday transactions is 'Kuai'. One Yuan is made up of ten Jiao (more commonly known as Mao) and one Jiao is made up of 10 fen (only used when buying extremely cheap objects like sheets of paper). Counterfeiting is unfortunately quite common in China, so please take extra care when exchanging money.
How much money will I need for living costs?
It is estimated that a single student on a degree programme will need approximately RMB 2,000 – 4,000 per month to meet their basic living expenses (not including accommodation). This is just an indication and will vary depending on lifestyle and spending habits.
Cost of living at DUFE
Dalian on a budget
You don't have to spend a lot to enjoy Dalian. Travel around Dalian is very cheap, for example if you take the bus, the average fare for a single is ¥1, the equivalent of 10p or 15 cents. If you are going further afield, then taking the train is a very cost effective form of transport.
Making your own food will save you lots of money, and with the many markets and shops in Dalian you will find it easy to get ingredients. The student canteen is very affordable with generous portions for when you don't want to cook for yourself.
You may find that the exchange rate is particularly favourable for buying things in China, everyday products and food are all relatively cheap, so it is easy to live quite frugally if desired.
Accessing and managing your accounts in China can be difficult depending on which bank you use back home, so speak with your bank at home before travelling to China for the best advice. Although HSBC has a large presence in China, their services here are focussed towards business banking rather than personal banking. Seek advice locally before you travel.
Larger Chinese banks such as Bank of China can help you to exchange your money into RMB, but it may be easier to simply use an ATM to access your account, here you can withdraw RMB directly. Most ATMs allow you to select English and some even allow you to select Spanish or Russian. Some ATMs may charge you a small fee for their use and your own bank may also charge you for accessing your account while abroad.
Please always notify your bank when you intend to travel abroad to avoid your bank account being locked. We do not advise carrying large sums on cash on your person.
Opening a bank account in China
In the long term using a Chinese bankcard will be more convenient and cost effective. During orientation week the INTO Team will help students open a Chinese bank account with Bank of China (BOC). If case of possible delays, we recommend that you do not rely solely on one source for accessing cash.
Students can request to open Internet banking too. An e-bank for your account will allow you to use BOC online, make online purchases and have money transferred from abroad. The bank will provide you with a Swift Code, which is necessary to make international bank transfers to China. You can also use telephone banking services, although both still currently have limited English service and some banks charge for these enhanced services.