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Accomodation for Xiamen University

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I'm planning on going to Xiamen for the spring semester 2012. The problem is that I find way too little information about Xiamen on the internet, at least it's not in English and my Chinese is still very poor.

I would like to go to something like a student dorm because I think it's easier than renting an apartment when it's my first time in China.

First of all: Would you recommend a single or a double room? Did you have any bad experiences with roommates or was it nice to have someone to share a room with you? Since I'm quite shy at the beginning I'm afraid that I might be isolated in a single room. On the other hand I like being alone, so I don't really know what I should choose.

Now the bigger question is which dorm should I take. As I see there are a lot of possibilities (http://english.xmuoec.com/website.aspx?website_id=79&language=en). The price is secondary, it should just be clean and maybe not have the shower head above the toilet etc... Does any one of you have ANY idea on what to choose? I would also be grateful for general tips about choosing an accomodation.

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Alright so here's the slight lowdown on the accommodation situation in Xiamen. I know you're asking about the dorm situation, but here's my experience off campus. I was there during the summer from April until June and lived in Daxuecheng. It's located directly in front of the West Gate, which I consider XMU's main gate. I got it through an agent and was roughly 2500 RMB for the room that came with a western style toilet. It came with a bed, desk, laundry machine, AC and TV - no kitchen. I know a few of my friends who stayed in the same building had similar rooms, but some had their laundry machine in the bathroom (mine was in the balcony) and/or had kitchens. You can also stay at Daxuecheng for a daily rate of I think 200 RMB/day? I really recommend staying at Daxuecheng as there are tons of restaurants just downstairs and is easily the meeting point for friends when going out. Usually at around midnight every night, there's street food/bbq in front of Daxuecheng.

As for the dorm situation, a few people in class lived in Nanguang 5 and Cai Qingjie Building. Their living situation really varied from each person. One was lucky and managed to book a room meant for a double and lived alone. It came with two desks, two single beds, A/C and a private squatting toilet. Another person wasn't so lucky in the dorm/room selection. Same building, but shared with three other people... which later turned into six other people because their significant others had moved in. I remember visiting and recalling how dark and cramped it was. He told me it was a gongshow to live there, but his roommates helps him practice Chinese and later on helped him find his own apartment. In all honesty, the dorm selection can be a mess and you can't really pick your roommate. Some are lucky, some are not. As for cleanliness, I think my friends who lived in Cai Qingjie seemed to be in the best situation. I never visited their room, so I can't be the judge. I just know that sharing a room with six other people in Nanguang 5 might just be the worst situation you can be in.

Also, don't worry if you're shy. It's quite easy to make friends in class and there are English and Chinese corners that you can go visit. Also, a great hang out place is Helens' where a lot of XMU students go and drink.

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Wow, thank you for this very detailed reply, I didn't expect that. I've been away for a week so I didn't see your post before, but I hope that you're still willing to answer my questions, because I have a lot of them.

Your room seems to have been fairly good, a western toilet would be great. How did you find/contact that housing agency? Did you arrange it in advance or when you were actually there? I thought about taking a hotel for the first few days and then look for a room, but I'm afraid that my Chinese isn't good enough. How well did you speak Chinese? I'm not a total beginner, but I don't think that I'd be able to negociate. I'd be grateful if you could give me some information on how you got your room.

Did you enjoy your stay in Xiamen?

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