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Beijing Foreign Studies University


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as requested re: building 7

In terms of residential buildings, it is certainly not a fantastic place to live. I'm not sure what you found in forums but I would guess that you could consider it awful if you came into the program as a privileged american student who expects nothing less than the "basic" commodities. Personally, I would think that if someone chooses to go to China, they should not expect to live in America. I kept a very open mind when I went there and by the end, I could barely part with that building.

They'll tell you when you get there that the building was designed and built by Russian architects... which is why it looks like a giant shoebox; it was made to be practical, not aesthetic. The building has 4 floors. The bottom floor is where the front desk and the housekeeping staff normally resides (Thanks to them, the hallways, classrooms, and bathrooms will always be clean in the morning). It also houses students that are not a part of the program who I did not interact with much. Most of the students you will meet will live in the following two floors. The second floor is for male residency and the third floor is for female residency. Each floor has two bathrooms with about 3-4 showers and toilets on each side of the hall. There will also be a kitchen, a student lounge, and several washing machines with a clothes drying room not be too far from them (Most of China do not use dryers. it is very much a luxury item) somewhere on each hall. At the end of the boy's hallway, there will be two classrooms that have been used for elective classes for contemporary issues students. The girls hallway has an "Activity room" where all the events that require a big room will be held (meetings, ice cream socials, movie, game room, making dumplings, classroom, etc...). The fourth floor is where the language classrooms and offices of the teachers will be found. There is also a library on that floor and it is the only room where there is soft warm lighting and a cozy, more American feel.

If you wanted to, you could potentially go days without leaving that building (and weeks if you are okay with ordering delivery for every meal) but when you're in China, shouldn't you be getting away from that building as much as possible? I was personally grateful for not having such lavished facilities because I did not need incentive to spend every waking moment in the American bubble.

But okay, if you are living there,you still want it to be a desirable place to be right? And it will be. It's the only place you can find English speakers who can share your joys and troubles ;) . Also, what I found to be one of the greatest benefits of that building is that the Chinese roommates that will live there. They want to live in the building because as awful as we Americans can describe this building, it is still one of the best places to live on campus. (regular is cramped, 4 people to one room, no kitchen, showers only hot at certain parts of the day,...) I made many friends with those roommates and they added immensely to my experience (they all speak some degree of English if you are still somewhat new to Chinese. However, before the end of the trip, you should have proficient enough a skill to hold a decent Chinese conversation anyways)

Perhaps you will not adore the building but compared to other places that I have lived, I did not find any issues with it. I actually did not think about it too much until you contacted me. This being said, my opinion for that may not be the best because very few things bother me but I tried to make my reply more objective so you could decide for yourself. It's not paradise but if you keep an open mind and a good sense of humor, it could surely become one of your fondest memories in life (as it was for myself as well as a number of my friends).

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  • 2 weeks later...

My accommodation status has been replied but it's not quite what I expected.. I quote: "The university cannot gurantee the room type and building you filled in the reservation form, but accommodation on campus will be guaranteed. And please come during your registration time. BFSU will arrange accommodation for you then. Thanks for your understanding." So this kinda sucks for me :(

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  • 7 months later...

So after studying at BFSU for a semester and with another 2 years+ to go.. Allow me to do a quick review on my experience.. And let this be a guide to future students..

First of all, there is the registration process... It sounds pretty straight forward and it is... But no one really tells you where to go exactly especially if you're studying a less popular program. For my case, no one told me that registration for my program happened a week ago and thus I missed my orientation. A lot of distress and confusion was expected but this was down-right messy.. After registration, the accommodation process was hectic as well. No one really knew what was going on with the dormitory and they expect foreign students (Some with little to no proficiency with Mandarin) to go out and inquire themselves.. Again... This was very hectic... 


The International student office seized to be useful after your registration... They did help with VISA issues such as applying for resident permits for long-term students.. But they do not perform anything else other than that.. I was deeply mistaken to think that they could help with accommodation.


Second, there is very little organization and no communication between the administration of the university and the offices that manages the departments. I found myself debating and running around between offices regarding classes and credit scores. Adding insult to injury, the staff speaks very little English. Ironic for me since my program is part of the School of English and International Studies. Eventually, we did work it out but found myself yet again with another dilemma due to lack of communication between departments. 


I won't comment on the quality of the accommodation since it is very subjective. But if you are looking for a 'fancier' accommodation, you have 2 options... Either stay in 'GuoJiao' building or rent your own apartment. 



It is indeed a very beautiful university filled with a mass diversity of different cultures and nationalities. I literally make new friends every 6 months. Facilities in the university are full blown.. Ranging from a football field to a gym to an indoor swimming pool.


The area around the university is very good as well. Pubs, bars and street-side restaurants are all within walking distance with a variety of cuisines. Banks are also close, convenient and speaks English! Neighboring universities also make a good opportunity to meet all sorts of people such as Minzu University, LiGong University, RenMin University and etc...



The major thing the university has to resolve is their organization and communication skills. Accommodation seems to be the most highlighted and heated topic within this university but hopefully they'll fix it. Other than that, it is indeed a very good university and also a relatively famous university in China (I was surprised about this).

For any future students planning to apply to this university:
1. Prepare to do stuff by yourself.. Don't expect them to guide you 100% of the way.

2. Don't be afraid to ask fellow students for Info. They speak English... Better than you'd think. 

3. When it comes to accommodation, BE PERSISTENT! Keep inquiring every single day and you'll eventually find a spot.

4. It is recommended that you pick up some Chinese, it'll make your life a lot easier.

5. If you must open a bank account, use China Construction Bank... It's the official bank for this university and it'll save you a lot of trouble.. Trust me..
6. Expect to have fun! After all the hectic process, you'll definitely have fun as soon as you start meeting people!


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  • 3 weeks later...

The school specializes in sending its students to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to serve as professional intepreters and translators and is supposed to have some of the best language students in China -- FWIW. I've seen students there doing language exchange in French, for instance.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi everyone, 


Is there anybody who will be studying in BFSU this year? I received the Chinese Government Scholarship and I'll be doing a language course starting in September. I received my admission letter and I already applied for my visa. Now I was looking for some information regarding accommodation and so on until I found this website. All your tips are really helpful!

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  • 2 weeks later...

@quanhana There's a few on-campus accommodations to consider. 

Building 7 (West Campus) & Building 6 (West Campus): Both of these are 2 person bedrooms ranging from with and without personal toilet. From what I know, building 6 is specialized to hold only Malaysians on scholarship to study Chinese. (Inquire within)

BaiLou 白楼 (West Campus): This building is one of the first foreign student only dorm but is very old. Again, it ranges from with and without personal toilet but only 1 student per room.

Building 2 (East Campus): This is pretty close to what the local students stay but this is 3 person to a room and is very very small.. would try to avoid this unless you don't mind cramming with others.

GuoJiaoLou 国交楼 (East Campus) I live in this one: By far the most 'fancy' dorm on-campus and the most expensive.. Big room with your own personal toilet and its right next to the School of Chinese Language and the school's cafeteria. 

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@tytzer... thanks ya... I dunno which accomodation, but for sure will be place in a double room. As a scholar, I dont think they will accomodate us with GuoJiaoLou... so I should br prepared for building 6 or 7 I guess.... see you then... only few weeks to go... :-)

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