China has become quite the hotspot for attracting international students from around the world. This phenomenon is supported by the Ministry of Education in China with the objective of reaching 500,000 international students studying in the country by the year 2020 and doubling this to one million by 2030. With higher studies on such a rise in China, you too could benefit from studying a bachelor’s degree in China.

China hosts many high ranking and internationally reputable universities to select from, offering a wide variety of quality educational programs and degrees. To help you with making your study abroad decision, here is a list of five things you must know before studying in China:

1. Cost of studying in China

Even though China is the world’s second largest economy, it still is a developing country and therefore living and maintenance costs in China are quite affordable. When compared to counterparts in the West such as America and Canada or the UK even, living costs are a lot cheaper for students in China. This holds the same for tuition fees as well. There are ample scholarships, grants and funding both available with local universities, institutes and the government. If you are on a student budget in China you will definitely find it much more cost effective and cheaper as compared to studying abroad elsewhere.

2. Many different cities in China to choose from

If you want to study in China, you have so many different places to choose from within the country even with 22 provinces and 5 regions. Being a big country not only geographical size-wise but population-wise also, China offers the very popular cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to select from. Additionally, as a student, some other places to study in China are Kunming, Chengdu, and Tianjin. Each of these cities has its own unique cultures, cuisines, and traditions to experience. Do your research thoroughly on which city appeals to you the most.

3. Student visa requirements

Being an international student, China will require you to obtain a valid student visa. The requirements of this visa are dependent on your situation and which country you are a national of and traveling from. The visa also varies depending on the duration of your course, for example, if it is shorter or longer than 6 months. You need to make sure you understand all the visa requirements for your own situation and meet all the eligibility requirements to ensure a smooth visa application process and securing a visa for the duration of your international studies in China.

4. Is Chinese language i.e. Mandarin a necessity to study

With Mandarin being the official language of the country, most universities will require international students to know and understand the language in order to successfully complete the course of their education. China has a very nationalist university system and Mandarin plays a strong role in this system. However do not get worried as most universities offer international students a foundation program, summer camps or language learning classes before the degree starts to get up to speed with the local language.

5. Experience a different culture

The Chinese collectivist culture with importance on family values and respect is poles apart from the Western individualist society. As a student in China, you will experience a very different culture and vibe. The Chinese are a very obedient and disciplined nation, practicing these habits for hundreds of years. Studying in China will surely be a unique experience but you also must be mindful and respectful of local values.