Exchange year to china

Hi everyone^^
I just got the mail that i have been accepted into a university in beijing as a exchange student. However the term will already start in September. To be honest, I now am quite nervous because i actually have never been to China before. So if anyone has any advice, experiences or must-knows I would be glad to know^^
Thanks for your help


Wow! Congratulations! I’ve never been to China although I would love to visit it. I know people who have gone there. Pay attention to cultural differences and mentality. For example, find out what they think is polite and rude.
Beware of smog too. As far as I know they use applications made on purpose. In addition, see if you can get information of how it’s organised the transportation: if there are convenient season tickets, etc. I’m sorry, I can’t help you but I wish you good luck! :hugs:


I’ve been to China in 2009 so my experience is a bit outdated. I assume you already know some basic Chinese but if not I would advise you to learn some basics from a native speaker from Bejing, that’s very important if you don’t want to say completely different things than you think you are saying. Small Chinese notes along with Pinyin are also handy. I asked a CD shop once for Fahrenheit CD’s but they had no clue untill I showed them the note my guide gave me. All in all the communication was the biggest struggle and getting used to the huge crowds cultural differences and all the noise.So go there with an open mindset too. You will see things there you might not like at all but are completely normal there. What you see in Cdrama is very different from my own experience honestly.


Thanks a lot.
I am currently learning Chinese but am really not that good yet :slight_smile:

I recommend the youtube channel yoyochinese. I don’t know a lot of them, but recently they started uploading videos with all possible different tone combinations. Getting examples with acutal words is more helpful than just hearing the tones seperately

Drops is a good app to help you. You can only learn 5 minutes each day in the free version, so it’s best if you pause each time and write the words down.


Congratulations!! Hope you will enjoy your exchange year!!
Don’t forget to wear your mask + have gel for your hands (no sinks in some restrooms) :stuck_out_tongue:

You could download some useful free apps for your stay there:

  • To pay by QR code:
    -WeChat (it’s like WhatsApp for China, you could also pay with that)

They use more QR codes than credit cards for any purchase.
Small stores or restaurants: they sometimes don’t accept credit cards, so you might have to pay by cash. Always have some cash on you.

  • Chinese “Google” (no Google in China):
    -Baidu (Google’s equivalent) or check out for a VPN to use Google or Facebook or Western websites in China in English (no Google maps there)
    -Google Translate works there normally + Pleco (Chinese dictionary)

  • Transportation:
    -Metro China Subway
    -Didi Dache (taxi)

Taxi drivers don’t speak English, so write the address. Really cheap.
I don’t know if it’s compulsory, but you might have to scan your health code when you take a cab.

Buy a bike there to avoid traffic jams. Really cheap.
For train stations, they have vending machines that sell masks.

  • Chinese press:
    Chinadaily for foreigners:
    This section has Chinese + English translation (sometimes audio).

  • Food is cheap. Don’t drink tap water, but take or order a bottle of water. They have autonomous vehicles / self-driving cars that sell food (breakfast, lunch…). You pick on the screen and you can pay by QR code.
    For example, KFC:

  • You can bargain in some markets.

  • An external battery for your mobile phone.

For more advices from foreigners or exchange students in China, vlogs:

Learn useful sentences and words to be understood, most of them won’t speak English :stuck_out_tongue:


I can’t really speak for China, but when I was abroad Google Translate was really helpful to get the basic idea of the menu at a restaurant. Sometimes restaurants will have an English menu but often times it won’t have all the food items compared to the Chinese one. So the original menu is always the best.
As others have mentioned, it is handy to have things written down somewhere. Even when I tried my best to pronounce an address or name, they usually would only look very confused and I had to show them what I said in written form. This way you will face less problems.
It’s also a very good idea to observe what other people are doing. E.g. some bathrooms abroad a very different to what you are used to. Like having only toilet paper outside the stalls and not inside.Or you notice people in your residence are always boiling there water before drinking, etc.

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Thanks so much for your help^^

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If you need free resources to consolidate Chinese, I can send you links (textbooks, books, YT videos…), don’t hesitate.

There is also a free app called Hellotalk to get a partner to speak and free Discord chats (people from Taïwan, mainland) maybe where you could ask:

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Hi! :raising_hand_woman:t5: @aquara_heilerin_624,

@piranna forgot to mention
They link you to the ones she already mentioned, and you can sign up on weibo in your native language. Kind off like how Viki has the language selection for this website at the end of the screen.

There is one youtube channel that I found very relatable for the language. I’ll insert a screen shot below.
There are two youtubers who actually went there like you’re considering, maybe check out their playlist for their experience. I’ll insert the screenshots below.

They say, experience in the native country is the best teacher when it comes to languages, so, don’t miss out on your opportunity! (◕‿◕✿)

I’ll be right back with your screenshots.
As promised, your screenshots below (◠‿◕)