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roddy

Xiamen University

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obscuritea

I emailed them about airport pickup on August 17th and received a response (a real one, not the auto-response that they're on summer break) about a week and half later I think?

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David Ma

So has everyone arrived and settled in? :)

 

It's been a crazy (in a good way) first month and I almost completely forgot about this little thread. If anyone comes here looking for info on the new Xiang'An Campus (where all the international students live and study), just post here or PM me!

 

Questions about Siming Campus and Xiamen in general are also welcome!

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roddy

David, if you have the time to write something up (see this for ideas about what to cover) then your name will live on in the classrooms and canteens, as future generations of Xiada students discuss how they decided to come here because of something some guy called David wrote on the Internet...

 

And the same goes for everyone else. Invite your friends!

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蓝蜥蜴

Hi David! =) How are you doing? I'm living in Xiang'an campus now, and what really worries me I don't have a faintest idea how to check if there are money on my sim cards (I have China Unicom and China Mobile). If you could help with it, I'd be really greateful =) If not troublesome for you. Thank you in advance!

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Guest Sayuri

Hi David!

Yep, I agree - that 1st month was tottally crazy! Now i ve succesfully settled. And almost get used to a local life. 

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roddy

蓝蜥蜴, welcome to the site. For Unicom try texting YE to 10010. Not sure for China Mobile. 

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obscuritea

蓝蜥蜴- for China Mobile text 1008611 to 10086. If you're low on cash on your account, you can go to the China Mobile or Unicom next to the main canteen :)

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Rose090909

Hi everyone, I'm currently looking into studying at Xiamen for one semester from September 2015. Since you've all been there a while, I would really appreciate an insight into what it's like studying there. I've heard that Xiamen is a beautiful city, but that the campus for studying Chinese is Xiang'an, a long way out of Xiamen itself, which concerns me a bit. What are people's overall thoughts on studying there? Is Chinese taught well, is there a lot to do in the surrounding area, how is the university as a whole? Thanks in advance!  

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David Ma

Hey, unfortunately I only have my tablet so typing is excruciatingly slow. I will reply back as soon as I can get near a PC with a keyboard.

 

DM

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Anna_dawn

Hello!

 

Has anyone been a Chinese language student at Xiamen University, through the CSC Eu Window Scholarship?

 

Thank you!

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sabero

I am considering going to XiaDa nexte semester for BTCSOL, is there anyone studying this now in this forum?

 

 

And just some simple questions for those studying anything there:

 

- The laguange students living in Xiang'An campus also take classes in the same campus, right?

 

- Is there any situation that people have to go to the Siming campus for anything? Looks like the offices are in Siming, so I imagine that the registration and any problem have to be solved away from the campus you live.

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obscuritea

@sabero- Yes, the classes for the language students are all located on the Xiang'an campus. Registration for language students is done on the Xiang'an campus as well. Since the offices for the department are all located there, you shouldn't really ever need to go to the Siming campus for anything. If you need to though, it's not a hassle to get to the main campus and back, as either the 751 bus or the direct bus provided by the school takes you right there.

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Ori_A

Hello everyone,
I've recently got the CI scholarship for next year (2 semesters), I need to choose a university and Xiamen is a leading option at the moment.
However, after reading a couple of reviews, I'm begining to have second thoughts. The problem mainley concerns the fact that I'll be staying at the Xiang'an dormitory, which is quite far from the "center" of Xiamen (please correct me if I'm wrong). Now, I'm not a city person, and I don't care about parties, going out for a beer every night or anything like that, but to my understanding, there is literally nothing to do next to the Xiang'an campus. Moreover, it will be difficult to practice my chinese, since most of the chinese students are still based at the other campus, and the locals mainley speak their own language.

everything written here is based on reviews I read. I do want a quite place, and the fact that this is a new campus is probably to my advantage, but I don't want my life to be all about the classes and the homework. It's very important to me to absorb some of the local invironment, and to be able to communicate outside of the campus.

I would appreciate a clarification on the subject. Is it that bad? 

 

Thank you,

Ori

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David Ma

1) Xiang'An IS really far from the center of Xiamen which is in Siming (SouthWest side of the island) where the main campus is also located. Xiang'An, on the other hand, is literally at the exact opposite side of Xiamen, off the island and on the mainland. By public bus, it's about an hour and it varies depending on traffic/time of day (it's been as short as 50 mins and as long as 1hr40min! eek!). A teacher bus runs directly between the two campuses and takes about 40 mins but only runs at specific times so you usually end up taking the teacher bus one way and then the public bus for the return trip or vice versa.

 

You can pretty much expect a 3hr round trip if you want to get out on the weekends and really see some parts of Xiamen (go to the beach, shopping, get dinner out with some friends). I am not a party person or someone you will find at the bar, but a 3hr bus ride or splitting a taxi made me want to get out and enjoy the island a lot less.

 

2)Xiang'An doesn't really offer much. The campus is new and beautiful but there are only a few restaurants and maybe one or two KTV places nearby. There is a giant shopping mall named Wanda 万达广场 that is about 30 mins away by public bus. It has western food, Walmart, an IMAX and a lot of Xiang'An students pretty much live there on the weekends. It's on the East side of the island and is pretty close to Xiang'An but still requires two public buses to get there.

 

3) It's been said a lot but it is quite easy to use Mandarin (Putonghua, Huayu, Hanyu, etc.) even in the south part of China. If you are in Xiang'An or Siming, nearly everyone speaks it (with varying accents) and there are PLENTY of Chinese students who live in Xiang'An. If you are an absolute Chinese beginner, it doesn't really matter what part of China you study in because all of your exposure will be in class where standard Mandarin is used. Also, lots of students at Xiamen come from different parts of China. My language partner last semester was from Harbin and her Putonghua was perfect (Harbin Mandarin is considered very close to standard).

 

Outside, you might hear some dialect or heavy accents but on the whole I usually hear Mandarin from the younger people. I've been in China for a little over 6 months and I'm just starting to overhear conversation in Chinese! So don't worry about accents all that much. Everyone could be speaking Russian in Xiamen and it really wouldn't effect you (though passive listening isn't bad exposure). What really counts the first few months (or even year) is seeing the characters everywhere, being active in class, and studying hard on your own to get pinyin and tones down.

 

4) I considered myself a country person. I grew up in a small town in Ohio and went to a slightly less-smaller town for College :). I didn't think I would ever want to live in the city (especially a Chinese one) but after moving to Siming this semester, I've been whole-heartedly converted. Not only is city life great (and you get more exposure to Chinese) but the amount of activity, restuarants, beaches, stores, etc. is on a whole 'nother level in comparison. I am paying 1800rmb/mo for an apartment and have to take the teacher bus round-trip four days out of the week for class, but it's completely worth it. Places like Haiwan Park (beautiful park with tons of western restaurants), Zhong Shan Lu (huge shopping/restaurant district), Gulangyu (Scenic Island off of Xiamen), etc. are all within 20mins versus 1hr+. Siming campus is a 10 minute walk away.

 

The Siming Campus is really just a beautiful place and it's usually filled with tourists (for better or worse) because it is one of Xiamen's scenic attractions. The cafeteria food is also better :). I've found that living on the island has also opened up a lot of english-teaching opportunities which is another great way to practice Chinese (talking with non-english speaking parents and teaching kids). Getting out of Xiang'An also forces you out of the international bubble where English is mostly spoken (but again you probably won't be speaking or hearing that much Chinese unless you are intermediate or above).

 

With all that being said, Xiang'An isn't really all that bad for a semester. By time you finally just get used to being in China and all it's little quirks, the first semester will already be over. Housing is free on scholarship. You can get your own double room sometimes (see my previous post) and the campus is peaceful and quiet. I know lots of students who have lived there for a year or more so choosing a university really comes down to other things.

 

I've been awarded candidacy for the CSC scholarship to study language another year and I, myself, was trying to decide if I wanted to stay in Xiamen. Living on the island is great but traveling to Xiang'an every week is also a bit of a chore (though the bus ride has also forced me to study a lot more ;)). I've decided to stay for a second year though. It's great being five minutes from the beach, going to a well-ranked university, and Xiamen is fairly wealthy which makes tutoring quite lucrative. I also like being somewhat close to Hong Kong and I'm a sucker for warm weather so even though it's not perfect, I'll still be here another year. Maybe if warm weather and beaches aren't that necessary, other Universities will serve you just as well.

 

Hopefully others will chime in with their own experience to give you a better perspective.

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Ori_A

Oh wow, what a great explanation, thank you!
I'm actualy not a beginner. I've been learning chinese for the past 3 years here in Israel, so practicing the language with the locals is actualy very important to me.
I'll take everything you said into consideration. 
Thank you again!

 

Ori

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obscuritea

Ori_A- it's definitely far away from the city, but it hasn't been nearly as bad as I had expected before coming here. I think as long as you have friends here you won't find yourself getting bored. As a result of being far away it's most certainly a quiet place as well! No typical annoying city noises like honking, buses, planes, etc. The main noisiness you'll get here is the occasional loudness of people messing around/having fun outside, and distant fireworks of course.

 

Practicing Chinese with people here is not hard. Xiang'an is not only for international students- the vast majority here, probably 85-90%+ are still Chinese students. In my experience they've been very friendly, and many eager to make international friends (and not all just for practicing English). Many of them live in Xiamen, so you get the chance to hang out in the city with locals too, despite not living on the island. The students pretty much all speak Mandarin with each other by the way, so the dialect thing isn't really something to worry about. Since we are not in an urban area, the default language among locals right off-campus (and among kitchen and other lower-level staff) is more often Minnanhua. Everyone I've encountered here I've conversed with just fine in Mandarin though.

 

 

 

And on the general topic of the not so great location of the Xiang'an campus and the undeveloped surroundings- I definitely want to point out for any future people considering it, that it's only getting better and better. I'm so jealous for you guys that'll be here in the following years (also since once I'm gone all the subsequent scholarship students will have the much higher stipends.... forever bitter about that ha). In the semester and a half I've been, already so much has changed. More restaurants, more stores (including a large grocery store- the nearest one was at least a 20 minute bus ride away before!), improved landscaping/overall improved look of the campus... wandering around on my bike the other day I even saw they have an on-campus golf range nearly finished! Within 5 years there will be a subway that can take you to the island, as well as a brand new international airport south of the campus. I have also heard that the rapid transit bus system will reach Xiang'an district by the end of this year.

 

Maybe it's just a result of not knowing what it's like to go to a university that's actually in a big city, but I'm going on 8 months living on the Xiang'an campus and I've been happy! While some things could probably be better regarding intensity of the classes, international office, etc. I've overall been mostly satisfied. On the contrary, I have heard a lot of not too great things from my friends in other levels- useless teaching styles, students very frequently skipping classes, rampant and obvious cheating, unfriendly/cold classmates. My experience in the upper level language classes has been wonderful though. The teachers I've had are quite friendly, some quite interesting (for example a very fun, comical, and energetic teacher from Taiwan; and another who has traveled all over China, has a tea farm and otherwise grows most of his own food, and has multiple times brought us tea and fruit he cultivated on his land, as well as invited us to visit his farm!). My classmates are wonderful, and we sometimes go on class outings for dinner and such, usually with one or two of our teachers if they have time, because we truly do all enjoy each other's company. I've never encountered any cheating among my own class, and no one just wantonly skips classes. While our teachers and classwork are usually pretty relaxed, we are for the most part all eager to learn and take our work seriously. Perhaps I've gotten lucky, perhaps things just tend to get better in general once you're at the highest levels of language classes, but anyways.... this has been my experience.

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Marcin_KG

Dear Forum Members,

 

this is my first post, so let me start by saying that this forum has always been a great help to me so far :)

 

I'm sorry if my English is not correct at all times, but I am not a native speaker.

 

For now I have one question regarding classes in XiaDa. It seems that I have been awarded with the Confucius Scholarship at this university (and I am really enthusiastic about it, because I thought my chances were small) for one academic year. Do you know how many classes a day are usually scheduled for students of such scholarship? Is there any official curriculum available? Also, what would be the hours of such classes (morning, afternoon, evening?).

 

Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts/experience with me :)

 

Cheers,

Marcin (马锦)

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obscuritea

Marcin_KG- Language students have the required classes of comprehensive Chinese, listening, and speaking. The listening and speaking classes are 2 times a week for 1.5 hours each. The amount of comprehensive classes you have each week depends on your level- last semester I was in the 3rd year 2nd semester classes and we had it 4 times a week, and this semester in the 4th year 1st semester level of classes I only have it 3 times a week (the higher levels meet less for comprehensive). Classes are anytime between about 8 am and 4 pm. You usually will have 3 classes a day at most, and may even have a weekday where you have no classes.

 

Optional classes include reading, writing, and also some electives like painting, calligraphy, and kung fu. These are all typically only once a week.

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Marcin_KG

Obscuritea, thanks a lot for your prompt and helpful response :) I wonder how mandatory classes are organized: am I assigned to one specicif group and have to attend classes together with this group, or can I compose my own set of classes, and attend them.

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