Preparing to Go: Beijing


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,
Jane Xin, Program Manager,

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

Living in Beijing

Travel to Beijing

All 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 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 from that in the United States or in 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.


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.


Syracuse Beijing Program Cost


American credit cards are not widely accepted in China except in big hotels, shopping malls or when purchasing airline tickets. With rapid growth of mobile payment, people use WeChat pay or Alipay via smartphones which are connected to their bank account. You will find that the Chinese living in big cities typically do not use cash often. Because of this, you will probably want to open a Chinese bank account once you arrive in Beijing. The banks that are located in close proximity to Tsinghua University include Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Industrial and Commerce Bank of China (ICBC).

You will be able to open an account with a small deposit and the following documents:

  • a copy of your passport and visa
  • your acceptance letter from Tsinghua University
  • a residence paper (which you will receive when you check into your dorm)

You will be able to use your debit card to withdraw cash and deposit money at the local ATMs. Should you decide to open a Chinese bank account, the Syracuse Beijing staff will explain the process in greater detail during orientation. If you decide to open an account, you can still use cash to pay for your purchases.

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. Undergraduates must also take at least one course at our Beijing Center.

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.


Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management offers undergraduate courses taught in English, 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.