Cost of Living In China For International Students

If you plan on studying in China, then it is important that you check your budget to ensure that you have just enough to sustain you during your stay as an international student.

Usually, when applying for a student visa, students are usually required to present their bank statement or that of their sponsors inorder to prevent them from being stranded or dropping out of school.

Many international students choose China as their place of study due to their educational system.

China is ranked very high when it comes to education with various undergraduate and masters program, it has some of the best universities in the world.

However, what does it take to stay in China?

How much do I really need to Live and Study in China?

These are some of the questions usually asked by international students who wish to study in China. Not to worry as I am gonna breakdown the cost of living for international students in China.

This article is written to shed more light on how much an international student really needs to live and study in China.

Studying in China is way cheaper and affordable compared to the US and the UK. However, it could be quite expensive than European Countries. Application fees for a Chinese university cost about $150. This is the first payment usually considered as you will have to apply and be accepted before you can study in China.


The cost of living of a particular place can be defined basically on the amount of money one needs to survive in that place. When talking about the cost of living for international students,it includes the following:

  • Tuition fees per academic year
  • Living cost i.e cost of feeding
  • Cost of Accomodation
  • Transportation
  • Nightlife

Check also: Cost of living in China vs Finland for International Students

1.Tuition fees for Universities In China

The tuition fees of universities in China depends on the university you choose and study program of choice.Usually, courses like medicine, engineering and business administration are quite expensive than other courses. However, the cost of studying in a public university and a private university differs.

Public Universities

The tuition fees of public universities in China cost about $2,000 to $12,000 per academic year. This cost however depends on your study program, hence what you are charged might be different from the charge of another student in the same university.

Also, some universities from other countries such as Germany, Denmark etc who have campuses in China offer some tuition free programs.

Private Universities

The cost of tuition fees of private universities ranges between $20,000 to $40,000 per academic year depending on the university and major. Therefore if you are an international student that intends studying in China, you should know your budget for your tuition even before travellin as the school is gonna send you a letter containing the cost of your tuition.

  1. Living cost

When calculating the living cost, things like:

Cost of feeding/food in China

China is famous for its interesting and sumptuous meals. The cost of food in China depends on your location and the type of food. Usually, Beijing is a very expensive place to be, hence its food is going to be very expensive.

Eating at the school canteen or any local restaurant in China cost about $1 to $5. A lunch in Mcdonalds cost about $6 to $9. Drinking tea at a local restaurant in Guangzou  area of China  will cost you about $2 to $3.

Cost of Books/Stationaries in China

You are definitely gonna need books and stationaries as a student. This should be part of your calculation when calculating the cost of living. A good stationery exercise book will cost you about $0.095 – $0.19.

Also, you also need textbooks for research and projects, textbooks can be gotten at about $5 to $10 per textbook.

Cost of Accomodation for Students in China

Accomodation is a very important aspect of life . As a international student, it is important that you rent an apartment or  secure an accomodation even before travelling to China.

Accomodation however, depends on your location and if you intend to stay on or off campus. ShanghaI and Beijing are considered to be some of the most expensive cities to live in China.

If your choice is to stay in the student residence hall, then you need about $150 per month. However, if your intention is to rent a flat off campus, then your budget should be between $300 to $400 per month.


Utility bills payment in China

Apart from the rent, there are other expenses to be made. These payments are on utility bills such as gas, water and electricity. This will cost you about $50 to $100.

Usually, foreign students pair with roommate thereby making it much easier as bills can be split among each other.

Cost of Transportation in China

Movement is one sure thing that you are gonna do as an international student. You will need to pay your way to classes and other places.

Transportation in China varies depending on the city you are located. In cities like Shanghai, transportation  cost less than a dollar, while in places like Shenzhen, a bus ticket cost about $25.

Nightlife and Partying in China for Students

There are lot of sit- outs where students can visit and unwind after a long day at school. There are bars and lounges in different cuties in China.

Definitely, you are gonna need a drink when visiting these places, a bottle of bêër can be gotten at this bars for about $6 to $10.

Never forget to add your nightlife expenses to your budget as all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.


As long as you can control your expenses and spend wisely, then surely you won’ t have a problem living in China. Nevertheless, there are scholarships offered to international students by the Chinese government.


This will definitely go a long way in helping out as major bills like tuition fees and accomodation will be sorted out by the government. If your dream is to study in China, then go for it. Goodluck!

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