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roddy

Suzhou (Soochow) University

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roddy

This topic is for discussion and reviews of Soochow University. Accommodation, courses, on-campus facilities and activities - anything to do with Soochow University goes in here. If there's a lot of discussion about any one particular topic we might split it into a new thread and leave a link here.

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zhanglulu

I went to Suzhou University once. It's located in a town called Zhenjiang, not suzhou city. I think this university is a little far away from big cities, less social practice.

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guxiao
I will be studying Chinese there for one year in suzhou, starting 2016. Anybody else as well? 

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simpleasy

I am currently enrolled as a language student at Soochow University, with a full CSC scholarship. When I was applying for the scholarship and considering different universities, I couldn’t find too much (English) information about Soochow university. In the end my decision was mostly based on the good location of Suzhou and having heard that Suzhou in general is a nice city. However, I didn’t really know what to expect of the dorms, classes and the university itself.

Hopefully the following information will be useful to someone in the future. I’m following this guide for structuring this post.
 

 

Application Process

 

As mentioned before, I came here with a CSC scholarship. This means that the registration was mostly taken care of by the scholarship. I did however contact the international office in order to get a pre-admission letter. They sent me a pre-admission letter the next day, without any further questions. The email address I used was [email protected], which belongs to a lady called Julie. She always responds quickly and speaks good English. She’s probably the best person to contact if you don’t speak Chinese.

 

 

Course and Funding

 

As mentioned before, I am doing a one year language program here. Books need to be bought at the beginning of the semester, after you took the placement test. There are 6 levels in total, 6 being the most advanced class. Coincidentally the same as the number of HSK levels, but they do not correspond.

As for funding, I don’t know the exact prices, since they are paid for me by the CSC scholarship. It’s not uncommon here for people to either have the CSC scholarship or the Confucius scholarship.

 

 

Arrival and registration

 

Don’t expect too much organization, and if your Chinese isn’t fluent, it’s quite stressful to go through. I don’t want to describe the entire process here, but it wasn’t pleasant to say the least. Apart from the registration at the university itself, I also needed to open a Chinese bank account to receive the scholarship. And to open a Chinese bank account, you need a Chinese phone number. They do let international student do all of this a week before Chinese students though, which is definitely a good thing. The campus is still relatively quiet without too many people.

Nonetheless, be prepared to deal with Chinese bureaucracy as soon as you arrive.

 

 

Accommodation

 

International students usually get a double room. Depending on which building you’re put in, it’s quite spacious. There is a private bathroom, but no kitchen, also no shared kitchen. The buildings are quite old though, so the quality is not great. Of course, if you’re coming to China, the quality of dorms is always going to be worse than what you’re used to in Europe. But I do know other universities offer better dorms to international students. The windows aren’t airtight, even when closed. And there’s about a 0,5cm gap under the door to the balcony. Not ideal for winter, and outside noise isn’t reduced.

The scholarship pays for my double room. But I asked the possibility of getting a single room, and they said I need to pay the price of an extra bed then. (Single room is just a double room which you rent alone) As far as I understand it, the price for a double room is 4000 yuan per semester, and 8000yuan per semester for a single room. If you have a scholarship, double room is free, and single room is 4000 yuan per semester.

If you don’t have a scholarship, I would consider living off campus. For a single room in a shared apartment, the price is basically the same, with better quality. However, living on campus is quite convenient, and it’s probably easier to make friends.

 

Classes, Classrooms and Teachers

 

Classes are in the morning from 8:30 to 12:00 from Monday to Friday. There are optional classes in afternoon, including calligraphy, extra reading courses, etc. I was placed in level 3 out of 6, the classes I get are 综合,写作 and 口语. The books we use are called ‘Developing Chinese’ (发展汉语)

Each class has 20 to 30 students, and as usual, I have teachers whom I like, and teachers whom I dislike. It’s kind of difficult to say whether the teachers and classes are good or bad. I would say it’s what you can expect from Chinese classes in a Chinese university.

The classrooms themselves are in sharp contrast with the dorm rooms though. Windows are double glazed, chairs are good quality, desks are good quality, every classroom has good air-conditioning, etc. I wonder if they did this to encourage students to leave their dorm and go to class…

 

Campus and Environment

 

Classes are on the main campus, and dorms are on east campus. I know this sounds troublesome, but actually east and main campus are located right next to each other, separated by a river running in-between them. It takes about 15 minutes to walk from my dorm to class.

The campus has basically everything you need. You can never leave campus if that’s what you want to do. There’s a bank, phone company, small supermarket, several canteens, .. Also, main campus is considered to be one of the most beautiful campuses of China.

If you do decide to leave campus and explore the rest of Suzhou, you shouldn’t have any problems. The campus is located right in the center of the city. The subways easily accessible, and there are busses going everywhere. If you want to take a trip to Shanghai, it’s possible to get out of bed and be there in less than 2 hours. This means from your dorm to the center of Shanghai.

Cost of Living and Budgeting

I assume it’s not much different from other places in Shanghai. My scholarship pays me 3000 yuan per month, and it’s definitely enough to live with. Pay for food, occasionally buy some clothes, take a weekend trip to a city nearby, etc.

 

 

 

Should anyone have any further questions, let me know, and I’ll add it to this post.

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