Living in Tianjin
With a thriving student community, plenty of entertainment and great transport links across China, Tianjin is a great place to live and study
Tianjin is just 30 minutes by high speed train from Beijing and is China’s sixth largest city, with 16% annual economic growth – the fastest for any region in the country. Home to more foreign businesses than Shanghai, Tianjin also boasts the only Airbus manufacturing plant outside Europe. 285 Fortune 500 companies have a presence here – including LG, Samsung, Toyota and Coca-Cola.
Where art and culture meet commerce and technology
Tianjin has a higher GDP per capita than both Beijing and Shanghai and five-star hotels are opening on a monthly basis – with the Ritz-Carlton and Banyan Tree opening in 2013. Tianjin also hosts a number of international festivals, including the annual dragon boat festival and the international beer festival.
A city rich in Chinese arts and culture, Tianjin is easy to get around by taxi, bus or metro and there is plenty to see and do in this dynamic and vibrant city. Tianjin is also home to one of the largest ports in China which is why it is the most active economic centre in northern China.
Tianjin has at least 10 large shopping malls across the city to choose from including Joy City, Galaxy, Xin Tiandi and Wanda Square. Each generally has a food court and multi-screen movie theatre. Shopping Malls are generally open 10am to 9.30pm.Binjiang Road is the longest retail street in Asia and houses local Chinese brand stores, as well as H&M, Uniqlo, Zara, Nike and many famous brands that are found all over the world. There is also a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Carrefour close to campus for all your basic needs. The Ancient Cultural Street is also worth experiencing and is a great place to purchase souvenirs.
Tianjin is also famous for tea, ceramic figurines and antiques. Don't forget to try the tiny street markets where local Chinese shop for fresh local produce and delicacies shipped in from across China. At the markets you can find all kinds of clothes, books, food, and anything else you can think of at very cheap prices, and you'll also get a chance to practice your bargaining skills.
Shenyang Dao Antique Market is the biggest in China – filled with all kinds of shops selling porcelain and paintings, as well as gold, silver, copper and jade collectables.
Every neighborhood has a market selling fresh produce as well as cheap household wares and clothes etc. These are extremely cheap and great places to bargain.
Arts and culture
Museum fans will love Tianjin. There are fantastic museums including the Garden of Serenity, the former residence of Pu Yi the Last Emperor of China and the vast Tianjin Museum, which covers 5000 years of Chinese history. The Dabei Temple is one of the most important Buddhist temples in northern China.
Tianjin is famous for its Xiangsheng, a kind of Chinese comedy, where two performers act together on stage. This makes use of Tianjinese, a strong, distinctive accent, which is closely related to standard Mandarin.
Tianjin has a number of great outdoor spaces including wonderful parks such as the Water Park and the Tianta Lake scenic area.The Great Wall of China is also accessible and a popular must-see experience.
Sports fans can follow Tianjin Teda FC and watch the action in the 60,000-seater football stadium, built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The centre of the city is characterised by European architecture which make up the Five Avenues district as well as the former colonial financial district. Many of these early 20th century French, German, British and Russian style buildings have now been renovated into businesses, restaurants and hotels. The modern commercial centre of the city is Nanjing Road/Binjiang Road, where there are shops selling world-famous brands, international hotels, as well as top foreign businesses.
Tianjin is fast catching up with Beijing with its choice of international cuisine. You can expect to find restaurants with cuisines from all over the world. You will also find food from all areas of China.
Tianjin is famous for its breakfast and snacks. The wheat-producing north produces many types of pancakes (‘bing’) filled with egg and usually another filling. The city is also famous for its lamb hot pot.
There are western fast food restaurants near the campus, such as KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut. Meals cost around RMB40. Other Western and foreign restaurants are located around Tianjin, concentrated in the CBD, ‘Italian-style district’, as well as the many shopping malls. As the student population grows the number of small ‘western’ style cafes and bars, aimed at students, is increasing. This will offer cheap pizza, pasta, burgers and other simple western meals at a relatively cheap price (30-50RMB). Nankai is located close to Tianjin Medical University, which has a large south Asian population, and has a small number of Indian and Sri Lankan restaurants.
As well as first-class restaurants and popular cafes there are also many street markets across Tianjin selling specialist and high quality food and ingredients. You will never tire of eating out and the student support team are always happy to make recommendations of good places to go.
Tianjin is well known for its vibrant atmosphere and thriving nightlife, with plenty of stylish bars and cool clubs to explore. Much of Tianjin's nightlife is centred in the downtown districts, but most neighbourhoods will have bars, pubs and clubs to go to as well. Tianjin is a big university city both for Chinese and foreign students so there are also a lot of places for dancing!
Tianjin’s international community has two centres, one in central Tianjin, the other in the Binhai Development New Area. The largest foreign nationality is South Korean, however there are reasonably large groups of people from every continent. Numbers of Africans and South Asians are growing at the fastest rate.
Tianjin’s international student population is still much smaller than Beijing or Shanghai, but it is growing quickly and there is an ever expanding network of activities and facilities aimed at foreigners. Many bars and cafes in Nankai District are almost exclusively visited by foreigners, so it’s easy to meet people and make friends.
Jin Magazine is an excellent source of information about events and services for expats in Tianjin.
The climate is Tianjin is very similar to Beijing. You will experience hot and humid summers and cold and dry winters. In the winter, average temperatures range from about -10°c to 10°c, and in summer from 25°c to 35°c. The weather is changeable, so the city can experience rain, sunshine and wind in the same day. Sometimes in winter it snows, but this rarely lasts long.