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Xi'an Jiaotong University


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  • 5 months later...


I just came back from China and a few weeks of studying at Jiaoda in Xi'an. Just thought I would share my experiences with anyone thinking about going there. :)

The website for the Chinese-for-foreigners department is at http://sie.xjtu.edu.cn/ and the university website is at http://www.xjtu.edu.cn/. I only wrote/talked to the office staff in Chinese, so I don't have a clue about how well they communicate in English.

The school for foreign students (汉语进修学院) is located centrally on campus, next to one of the two main student cafeterias. The dorms for foreign students are in the same building as the classrooms, which could be a bit annoying if you prefer sleeping through morning classes (there is a very loud bell Mon-Fri at 7:55am.

The standard dorms are decent according to Chinese standards: private bathroom, TV (ours didn't work very well though), desk and working air-conditioning. I paid 30 kuai per day (room shared between two) for a 2-month stay (they differentiate the prices so that short-term stays are more expensive than long-term stays). There is a shared kitchen with minimal cooking facilities (one cooking plate and a microwave) and washing machine (free). There is another, supposedly more upscale dormitory for foreign students right next to the south gate of the university, but I have no idea about what it's actually like. Most students in the main dorm are Korean (many of which don't take Chinese courses but do a degree). Many language students staying for a semester or a year stay off-campus (accommodation in Xi'an is cheap and not difficult to find). However, the campus is huge and you'd probably want at least a bicycle if you're gonna stay somewhere else.

The Chinese classes offered during the regular academic year (two semesters) are divided into six levels: 1. absolute beginner, 2. lower-elementary, 3. upper-elementary, 4. lower-intermediate to intermediate, 5. upper-intermediate to advanced, 6. advanced. However, it seems like level 6 has not been offered for a couple of years and instead the school terms class 5 高级. They also call class 3 lower-intermediate and 4 upper-intermediate, but this is hardly the case. I was in class 4, and the teacher said that that should be equivalent to having obtained a 6 on the HSK. Nonetheless, I only obtained a 5 when I took the HSK this summer but had no problem following the classes (many of my classmates seemed to be lingering around a 3-4 because of lacking character knowledge anyway). I joined the regular classes at the end of May until the end of the semester in mid-July.

Our classes were pretty standard, based on the standard BLCU stuff:

读写 3x2hrs 桥梁:使用汉语中级教程(上)by BLCU

口语 4x2hrs 发展汉语 口语 中级(下)by BLCU

听力 2x2hrs some pretty ancient and very very thin book by PKU

阅读 1x2hrs a quite thick but not very interesting green book by PKU

Actually, I can't remember the names of the two last books, since I didn't take them back with me. (It seemed impossible to find tapes for the tingli in any bookstore.)

For class 5, they have 3x2hrs 口语 and add one session a week of 写作 (I've no idea what it looks like for lower levels.)

Our 读写 classes were very standard. Usually, two 2-hour sessions were spent explaining the vocabulary and the grammar points for one chapter. We very rarely got to read the text out loud. The teacher was not bad but seemed a bit stressed to finish each chapter within the set-out time. Then another 2-hour session was spent doing the exercises. We usually only studied the main text in each chapter (not the reading comprehension) and only did the listening bit if there was some time. The teacher would usually give homework to do some exercises from the book (i.e., writing sentences) for each chapter, and gave an exam after each three chapters. This book is taught in one semester and they teach the 下 version in class 5.

The 口语 classes were a bit more interactive. We always read the new text in chorus and the teacher explained some of the new vocabulary. About 3 two-hour sessions were spent on explaining the text and sentence patterns. However, the teacher did encourage student participation such as making sentences with new words. We then spent about one or a one and a half two-hour sessions talking about the 说一说 questions. My teacher also liked teaching 成语 and 俗语 very much, and would teach maybe fifty of those in a semester.

The 听力 classes were probably about as exciting as that subject could get. Each session started out with the teacher reading an article from a newspaper and then asking some questions (she would go over some key vocabulary beforehand). Then, they followed the textbook, although we only did almost only HSK-prep materials during the six weeks I was there.

The 阅读 classes were quite horrible, focussing solely on doing quite stupid exercises from the textbook. On average, about 80% skipped them.

There were maybe 15-20 people in my class, but 90% of the time, less than 10 people showed up. At the very few times when everyone actually came, almost half were Korean, quite a few Japanese, a couple each of Americans and Brits, and three Germans. The school also had students from other European countries, both eastern and western. There were also a couple of Pakistani, but I think they were doing private classes. Most of the European/American and some of the Koreans were there through an exchange with their university at home (those Germans in my class were actually in their third year of a Chinese studies degree!!! :roll:)

On the whole, I think that the teaching was quite good and that the teachers were very friendly and helpful. The pace was quite low (this might have been because they were reaching the end of the semester though). The overall experience would of course depend very much on which teachers you'd happen to get.

What really, really annoys me is that I had originally planned studying for another three weeks and that the school wrote me before I got to China that that would be no problem (they do summer courses between the semester). However, as soon as we got there (one month later), they admitted that those courses would only be on the absolute-beginner and possibly post-beginner level. For me, who is quite fond of Chinese-style teaching, this was quite a disappointment: one of the reasons I'd chosen Xi'an in the first place was that I could study for a longer period during my summer holiday.


The Jiaoda university campus is very pretty with plenty of grass and trees. It is perceived of as being a very good university and everyone who doesn't know about the admissions procedures for foreign students will be amazed at you being a student there (take my word on this one: my Jiaoda student ID brought me into the military zone next to the Pakistani border up in Tashkurgan -- foreigners without a Pakistani visa aren't supposed to go there...)

Jiaoda is famous for engineering in particular, and most students do engineering-related degrees, although they also do other subjects, like English. There are many student activities (extra-curricular kind) during the semesters (the summers are pretty dead, only a few students who can't really afford going back home stay back). If you want to make friends with Chinese students a good bet is the eastern flower garden around 7am, where quite a lot of people gather to read (scream) Crazy English. That said, most Jiaoda students are very studious (they worked really hard to get in there!) and will probably be quite busy around exam times.

There are two main school cafeterias (immense) which are extremely busy around lunch and a little less so during dinner (since they're open for a longer time then). There is also a smaller muslim cafeteria with comparativeley nice food and some snacks-places. There are quite a few places to eat right outside of campus, particularly around the south and south-east gate, but probably more than half of those restaurants are Sichuan style. Xi'an offers other kinds of international eating (e.g., excellent Indian food and good Japanese/Korean food), but quite far from campus (there are very efficient buses though) and of course, at a higher price.

Other on-campus facilities include convenient stores, supermarkets, magazine/newspaper stand, fruit-shop, post office and banks (ICBC). There are only ICBC ATMs on campus but a Bank of China one right east of the south gate.

Xi'an is a quite pleasant place to live: it's a big city with something of small-town feeling. Jiaoda is not too far outside the city walls and a bus to the Clock Tower (right in the middle) takes about 30 minutes during rush hour and a little less at other times. Most buses are one kuai (some differentiate prices according to distance). Given that you can read some Chinese, the buses are very convenient and easy to navigate and you can look them all up on sogou maps. Many buses officially stop at 7.30 or 8.30 pm although they usually run about an hour later than the quoted time. Key bus lines officially run until 11pm. Taxis are cheap at 1.5 per km and starting at 6.

Most other universities in Xi'an are a bit further south (e.g., 陕西师范大学、外国语学院 right next to each other). That area might feel a bit further off from the centre of activity, but it's quite nice and pleasant in itself.

I'm not into drinking and I know very little about the drinking/clubbing scene. Listening to my classmates, I'm however convinced that it does exist.


If you have any questions about Xi'an or Jiaoda, I'll try answering to my best ability. :)

I posted some campus pictures too: the school for foreign students, inside the biggest cafeteria and the new super-modern "main teaching building".





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  • 2 months later...

Thanks for the detailed information on Xi'an Jiaotong. I have been to Xi'an once before, and unlike so many other cities, Xi'an had a fantastic atmosphere - something that is difficult to relate to others unless they have visited for themselves. Additionally, the pollution is better than Beijing, the Mandarin is nearly "standard", there is cultural diversity (its at the end of the famous Silk Roads), and there are plenty of interesting places within reach (Sichuan/Yunnan/HuaShan etc). Anyway, I am also planning on studying at Xi'an Jiaotong from March-June 2008, so I look forward to meeting everyone who has posted. Feel free to contact me at any time if you have specific questions, otherwise I will continue checking the forum.

All my best!



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi guys, Im planning to apply for long term chinese course at Xi'an Jiaotong Uni.

one of the requirement is Health certificate. Would i have to go to a hospital in my country and ask a doctor to fill it out for me?

hope to hear from you soon. the deadline is end of dec! im late!

thanks alot


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  • 5 months later...

Thanks for the excellent information yonglin!

I'm thinking about applying to Jiaotong Daxue in september for 1 full semester.

Maybe there are more people on this forum who are planning tot attend Jiaoting in this period?

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  • 1 year later...
Are the foreign student housing and teaching buildings located on Jiaoda's main campus? (xingqing?) How far is this campus from the city centre?

I'm not sure what xingqing is, but the foreign student housing and teaching building is on the main campus. Its closer than any other uni to the city centre, AFAIK, about 15 minutes by bus, 10 minutes by taxi when there is no traffic.

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Actually yes you're right. Xibei is closer. Guess I should have looked at a map before saying it was the closest.

Anyway, its a lot closer to the city centre than xiwai and all the other colleges in the south of the city and marginally further than xibei.

I'm calling the bell tower (钟楼) the centre btw.

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hey guys,

my names marius, i'm a 21 yr old german student at sydney university and i'm planning to go to china for a chinese crash course in my semester break from jan- early march.

is this a good place to learn basic chinese?

do courses start all year round or do i have to keep to a certain schedule? also: does this city have an airport and how hard is it to get around the place, not knowing a word of chinese? (i'm probably able to introduce myself ...)

thanks for your help in advance guys


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  • 3 months later...
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  • 6 months later...

Hello! Is anyone going to Xi'an Jiaotong besides me from September?


I got the Scholarship from CSC, and will study there from September,

The problem is, I don't really know what to do after my flight arrives at Xi'an :D


I tried sending a few emails, but the school contact I was given is on vacation, and will only be back at the Uni after my registration period is over (I will arrive on Aug 31st - registration Sep 1-2.- She's back at work on Sep 3  :D ).


My plan right now is just to go and take a taxi to the campus, but I don't have any idea to which building I should go.


Can someone help me out with all these questions that I have in my head? :shock::D

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My name is Michal, I am from Czech Republic and I am going to study at 西安交大 . (Chinese language for one year). I have the same problem, but I will arrive to 咸阳机场 on 1st of September. So we can not solve the problem together. I hope you will be lucky :) I saw your comment that you will study in 西安, so I just want to contact you。I guess you are my new classmate :) if you want to contact me, my skype name is : kralous1 


Best wishes, 


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