Preparing to Go: Beijing

Overview

Spring 2018 Pre-departure PowerPoint: Beijing (coming soon)

Syracuse Beijing Program Dates

Note: Students who are planning to take content courses at Tsinghua University (excluding the Mandarin language courses) will need to stay in Beijing until the Tsinghua final exam period ends.

Syracuse Beijing Center mailing address

Syracuse University in Beijing
Zijing Building #23
Room 228-229
Tsinghua University
Beijing, 100084
P.R. China
To contact the SU Center from the United States: (011) 86-10-5153-5576

Beijing staff contact information

Dr. Caroline Tong, Director, catong@maxwell.syr.edu
Jane Xin, Program Manager, xinjh@mail.tsinghua.edu.cn

Mail should be sent to the student’s attention at the student’s residence hall address, including the apartment building and room number. See example below:

Student Name, Room Number
Zijing Apartment
Tsinghua University
Haidian District
Beijing, 100084
P.R. China

Stay Connected on Social Media: Twitter: @syracuseabroad; Instagram: @syracuseabroad; Facebook: Syracuse Abroad


Living in Beijing

Independent Travel

All independent travelers who arrive before 8 p.m. will be met at the airport and escorted to your dormitory room at Tsinghua University.

Arrival after 8 p.m.: If your flight is scheduled to arrive after 8 p.m. you will need to arrange to arrive a day earlier. You will not be able to move into your dorm room at Tsinghua University directly after your flight. Instead you will need to stay overnight at an airport hotel (using the hotel shuttle) at your own expense. Syracuse Abroad will provide you with a list of hotels from which to choose. You will be picked up at the hotel the next morning and taken to Tsinghua University.

Housing and Facilities

You will live in residence halls on Tsinghua University’s modern campus. Most rooms are small singles with private bathrooms. Bedding is provided in the dorm. Sheets are changed weekly and rooms are cleaned daily. The rooms are very compact, so bring luggage that folds up or requires minimal storage space. You will need to bring or purchase towels.

You will have access to the same facilities as local students, including the library, health clinic, student lounges, and recreational/gym facilities. Tsinghua University charges a small per-use fee for use of the health clinic and gym. For meals, you can eat at any of the inexpensive student dining halls on campus. There are also many Western and other dining choices off campus.

You may not host overnight guests during your semester abroad. Visiting friends and family should make hotel reservations.

Cultural Adjustment

When you arrive in Beijing, you will naturally experience a period of adjustment. The culture is different than in the United States or other areas of the Western world, and you may find it more challenging to adjust to than you had expected. One of the largest challenges students face is acclimating to smaller spaces. Your housing accommodations will be tight, but in time, you will grow accustomed to this style of living. In addition, you may find that Beijing residents stand closer together when they speak or while commuting via public transportation. This is all part of learning to operate with less personal space.

You may experience a period of adjustment with the food in Beijing as well. You may want to pack some familiar snacks to help ease this adjustment.

Internet

The campus has wireless Internet access, and Internet in your dorm room is through an Ethernet cable. The cost of internet service  is included in your program fee. You may not be able to access some websites blocked by the Chinese government. Global ambassadors (recent Syracuse Abroad alumni) are a good resource on this topic.

Cell Phones

If you have an unlocked phone, you can bring this cell phone from the United States and then get a local SIM card to use in China. If your phone is locked in a contract, you need to ask your carrier to unlock the phone (they will give you a code or instructions for this). Given the time difference and cost, it is best you work this out with your carrier while still in the U.S. For those who want to assure that your connection to home is not disrupted during your initial period in China, you can also check with your carrier to see if there is an international plan which can cover the first couple of weeks outside the U.S. Syracuse Beijing will work to set you up with a phone plan within the first 1-2 days of your arrival.

Once in Beijing, there are two options. You can either buy a SIM card with a plan and use your U.S. phone, or you can buy a new phone in Beijing with a SIM card and plan. To purchase a SIM card, most students either go through China Mobile or China Unicom, the two largest service providers. There are many different levels of plans, and Syracuse Beijing will have Chinese students to help you purchase the SIM card and figure out the plan appropriate for your personal phone habits. Chinese cell phone plans are considerably cheaper than U.S.-based plans. On average, students can get a plan with call, text, and data for less than $10/month. When you are purchasing your phone and SIM card, avoid choosing a plan that requires a 1-2 year contract. The prepaid plan works well and is what almost all students choose to use for their time here.

Keep in mind that even if you purchase an additional phone to use for local calls and texting, you can still use your U.S. phone where there is WiFi. The dorms, many campus buildings, and most restaurants have WiFi.

Staying in Touch

Because making and receiving international calls on a cell phone will incur expensive charges, consider using services such as Skype and WeChat to speak with your friends and family in the United States.


Finances

Syracuse Beijing Financial Planning Budget 2017-18

Banking

While most businesses in China accept Visa/MasterCard and debit cards, there is often a minimum purchase required. Therefore, you will use cash more frequently for smaller purchases and your credit/debit card for larger purchases. Your ATM card is the best way to get cash in China. Check with your bank to be sure your ATM card can be used in foreign countries and to get information on your bank’s service fees for international ATM withdrawals.

Bank Locations

There is a Bank of China ATM located on the Tsinghua University campus. Branch offices of common U.S. banks such as HSBC, Bank of America, and Citibank are located off campus.

Let your bank and credit card companies know you will be living abroad for the semester so they do not suspect fraudulent activity when you access your account abroad. Also make copies of both sides of your credit and ATM cards and keep them stored in a safe place. Therefore, if a card is lost or stolen, you will still have access to the important contact and account information on your card.


Academic Information

Enrollment Policies

Undergraduate students are required to enroll on a full-time basis and register for at least 12 credits, not including credits for the Signature Seminar. Undergraduates may register for up to 19 total credits, including the credits for the Signature Seminar, at no additional charge.

All undergraduate students are required to enroll in the Signature Seminar course and to study Chinese language. (Native Chinese speakers who completed high school level in China may be exempt from the language requirement.) The Signature Seminar may not be dropped.

Some courses may not be audited. These include Tsinghua University courses and courses required by the program. (Exceptions may be made for students enrolled in a graduate degree program.)

Tsinghua University grades: Final grades for Tsinghua University courses may not be received and posted to SU’s student records system until early February for fall semester and late August for spring semester.

Registration

Tsinghua University offers undergraduate courses taught in English in its School of Economics and Management, including accounting, economics, finance, and management. Students who have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and have succeeded in high-level college math courses may enroll in up to two of these courses. Students with advanced oral and written proficiency in Mandarin and a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher may request to take a maximum of two courses taught in Chinese. Enrollment for any non-language Tsinghua course cannot be confirmed until after your arrival in Beijing.

Tsinghua class offerings and schedules are not available until shortly before the start of the semester, and actual course registration occurs in Beijing after the Signature Seminar. You should not count on taking a particular Tsinghua course or using it to fulfill specific degree requirements. We advise that you have several alternative courses approved by your home college on your Student Advising Form.