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12 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE MOVING TO CHINA FOR SCHOOL

We all know about the hustle and bustle of China. The business, the rapid growth and change.

People are travelling to China for a holiday, to study abroad or to learn the rich history of the beautiful temples. While a lot of westernized amenities are now available in China, it is still this raw, authentic, ancient country that is looking to be explored.

Here are 12 things you should know before coming to China to study Mandarin.

CHINA RECOGNIZES ONE CURRENCY – ITS OWN

In China, the official currency is the yuan. It’s also known as RMB, and notes are available in 1RMB, 10RMB, 20RMB, 50RMB, and 100RMB.

Businesses in China do not accept any other currency, not even the US dollar or Hong Kong dollar. If you don’t have your RMB notes, you won’t be getting anything you’re hoping to purchase.

CHINA LIKES CASH


Head to the bank and withdraw your cash because you’re going to need it.

While many businesses like larger hotel chains and upscale restaurants accept Visa and Mastercards, China likes cash. The majority of businesses and tourist attractions use cash instead of the card system.

DON’T TIP IN CHINA

The Chinese do not tip, which means you should not tip either while living abroad.

USE YOUR HAGGLING SKILLS

People in China love a good deal. Outside of chain stores, it’s possible to practice your haggling skills. You do not have to accept the market price or the first price offered.

MANDARIN IS THE MOST SPOKEN LANGUAGE

While there are hundreds if not thousands of locally spoken languages, Mandarin is the most spoken language. Download a Mandarin translation app if you’re not fluent! Or take an online Chinese course with Keats before you come to China.

LISTEN FOR THE TONE

Mandarin has 4 tones in language. It’s called tonal language, which means the same word can and often does have four different meanings. To learn more about the tones, read our blog post on the Mandarin language.

DRIVING IN CHINA


If this is your first time in China, you’ll soon realize that roads in China are rather busy.

If you’re courageous, get behind the wheel of a car. China drives on the right-hand side, which may be the opposite side of the road for you. If you’re not feeling overly brave, you can walk or use public transportation.

BRING TOILET PAPER

Think this is a weird tip?

Well, some bathrooms do not provide toilet paper, and we don’t want you to be left without. Hotels and nicer restaurants will have it available, but it’s always a good idea to carry a roll with you or a box of tissues.

KNOW A FEW KEY PHRASES

With Mandarin being the most spoken language, to save yourself, know a few key sentences before arriving in China. We suggest knowing the translations for:

-I don’t speak Mandarin. Can you speak [add your first language]? (Characters) 我不会说中文,你能说[ ]吗?(Pinyin) wǒ bú huì shuō zhōng wén, nǐ néng shuō [ ]ma?-Where is the washroom? (Pinyin) wǒ bú huì shuō zhōng wén , nǐ néng shuō【 】ma ?

-Please take me to [add school location]? (Characters) 请带我去【 】. (Pinyin) qǐng dài wǒ qù【 】

-How much is this? (Characters) 这个多少钱?(Pinyin) zhè ge duō shǎo qián ?

CHOOSE YOUR CONVERSATIONS CAREFULLY

In the western world, it’s normal for us to criticize the government and the people running the government. It’s different in China.

The indoctrination in school and state media is normal in China, so if you’re planning to strike up a political conversation, know what’s acceptable and what’s not.

YOU COULD HAVE TO COPE WITH AIR POLLUTION


Depending on where you live in China, air pollution may be an everyday struggle for you.

Larger cities like Beijing have serious air quality concerns. Many people wear masks daily outside. Smaller cities like Kunming have better air quality, and masks are not normally worn.

VISAS FOR CHINA

One of the most important things to know when traveling to China is that they do not offer visas upon arrival.

This means before you travel to China, you’re going to need to apply and be approved for a study abroad visa.

GO AHEAD… BOOK YOUR FLIGHT

China is a country whose vast landscape encompasses grassland, desert, mountains, lakes, and rivers. It’s busy with locals, tourists and study-abroad students.

With more than 1.4 billion people living in the country, it’s a great option for studying overseas and learning Mandarin, the most spoken language in the world.

To learn more about Keats School in Kunming, China, contact us today. We offer 8 different study courses, and we’ll even help you get a Chinese visa.

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I have to say it’s tons of fun. I have been here for 2 weeks. Not knowing what it was gonna be like, I was more than surprised at how great it is. The teachers are great, they are understanding. They do a Chinese language program that suits just you. The location is perfect for learning Chinese in China.

Joep | Netherlands
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I have been to Keats School to learn Chinese for 4 times now. The reason for coming back to this school is pretty much that the teachers I did work with were very good Chinese teachers. I make it a 5-year plan or even a 10-year plan to come back to this school.  All the teachers have methods of looking at what your skills are. They are aware of at what level you are. I think it is worth for everyone.

Dr. Med. Beatrice | Austria
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I decided to learn Chinese in Kunming because I like smaller cities and I like the climate here. We had four hours a day study here and my dear teacher taught me very much and never lost her patience with me. It was a really wonderful experience to be here and I recommend Keats school and the teachers here to everyone who likes to learn Chinese in China.

Robert | Netherlands
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Since last semester, we started studying Chinese at Keats. It was the best choice we can ever make. It is a really good school. The classes are a lot of fun, you learn a lot, but very interactive, so you talk a lot which means it is not just books and writing. Kunming is a really pleasant city to live in, especially if you compare it to other cities in the east. If you like to travel, if you like to study Chinese in a fun way, Keats has the best Chinese language program for you.

Paul | UK
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All teachers are really lovely. The teaching level at Keats is so much higher. I really love the city. It is very comfortable to get around. I fully recommend Keats. It is a great place to study Chinese in China. We are looking forward to coming back again later this year.

SJOERD | Netherlands
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We use a lot of games to learn grammar and new words. We have really good teachers, really patient. She helps us a lot. Our class is really nice and we have people from all over the world, different countries. We often discuss topics in Chinese in our class. I live in the dorm of Keats. It is very convenient. I don’t have to spend time traveling. You can just focus on learning Chinese.

Stew | UK
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The place is very cool. I am with a great group of people in my class, so coming to classes is very enjoyable. It is fun, we have a lot of discussions, games, activities. Our teachers are also very good, very supportive. Learning Chinese is intimidating at the start because you have so many questions. But I would advise coming to Keats because the atmosphere for learning is great. It is very relaxing. I would recommend the school.

Hilary | USA
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I’ve had a really great time here. I’ve studied a lot with my teacher who was fantastic. Keats School tried very hard to match its students with really good teachers that their personality works very well together. I really enjoy studying Chinese at Keats and I will definitely come back.

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