Studying away from home comes with a variety of new responsibilities
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 study a degree whilst gaining invaulable experience of the world.
The Chinese currency is the Renminbi (RMB ¥). Renminbi is often referred to as Yuan. One Yuan can be broken down in to 10 Jiao, also known as Mao. Notes are issued to the value of ¥100, ¥50, ¥20, ¥10, ¥5 and ¥1, with a similar selection of Mao.
How much money will I need for living costs?
It is estimated that a single student 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.
China, and especially Nankai University, has plenty of budget restaurants and cafés, so it is possible to eat well while only spending RMB 700 per month on food. You may want to treat yourself to western food or a more upscale restaurant every once in a while.
As an international student, you may find that the conversion rate works in your favour, with China still being a relatively cheap country for basics, especially food, so it is easy for you to live on a limited budget. Additional costs in China can include souvenirs, additional meals and snacks, trips outside of organised activities and anything else that you feel would enhance your trip.
Cost of living in Tianjin, China
Tianjin on a budget
You don't have to spend a lot to enjoy Tianjin. Travel around Tianjin is very cheap, for example if you take the bus, the average fare for a single is RMB 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.
Student canteens on campus are very affordable at around RMB 6-20 per meal. We'll provide you with a dining card to use in all canteens and supermarkets at Nankai. Whilst prices for international brands and western food can be comparable to those in Europe or the US, eating like locals at local restaurants can make eating in China not only delicious, but inexpensive.
Accessing and controlling your accounts in China can prove to be difficult depending on who you bank with. Although banks such as HSBC do have a presence in China, they tend to be situated in city centres and are not easily accessible on the university campus.
Larger banks in China, such as Bank of China, are able to exchange money into RMB. However the easiest way of getting RMB and accessing your account is by using ATMs. Most ATMs offer you the option to change the language to English, Spanish and Russian. Some ATMs do charge you a small fee for using their machines and in addition to this your own bank may charge you for accessing your account 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 of cash at any time.
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 China Student Services team will help students open a Chinese bank account with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank. There is a large branch of SPDB at the west gate of campus. In 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 SPDB's online banking services, 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.