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Hello, everyone, I have just finished my Foundation Year (预科) at PKU and will be starting my Undergraduate studies in Chinese language and literature next semester. I'm on the CGS. If anyone has any questions about the scholarship student's dorm, campus, overall organization at the ISO (international student office), feel free to ask me. :)

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Hi BanZhiYun! I need some enlightening here,


1. How do I make the housing arrangement? Will the PKU just take care of it during the registration day, or will I need to come early to search and book for the room by myself? I heard that competition to secure room for international students is quite tense...ZhongGuanYuan global village is said to be fully booked two months prior to registration day. 


I also heard that the one receiving full scholarship with CSC will have the rooms reserved already. I got the full scholarship, but have no idea on whether this is true or not..


2.How will the CSC transfer the money for stipend, housing, etc? Do I need to make a Bank of China account from my home country, or they just give me an ATM or debit card after registration?


Greetings from Indonesia! 

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Welcome, Toro! :)

From my experience, it's quite well organized here, and onto your questions:
- You don't have to worry about the housing, they will have arranged a room for you before the registration day and once you come, it will be there for you. Even though, it's true (for the self-funded students) that arranging a room in Zhongguanxinyuan by yourself is quite hard.

- They will take a photocopy of your passport and make the bank account (Bank of China) for you, they will give you the money for the first month in cash on the registration day and let you know when to go to the office to pick up your bankd card. However, I would advise you to get some money beforehand, because you would have to pay for some things right after you get to Zhongguanxinyuan (ex. your room's deposit [1,000 RMB], the healthcare examiniation, which they would later refund you, etc.)

If you have anything else you would like to know, don't hesitate!

Hope this helps!

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Could you please tell us more about this foundation year?

Did you already speak Chinese before, or did you start from scratch?

did you take the hsk, if so what level?

what subjects are taught in the foudation year, and what textbooks are used ?

if you have a weekly course timetable it would be nice to upload it too.

what will your major be next year?

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Yeah, sure. Basically the Foundation Year @ PKU is for those who are trying to pursue Bachelor degree studies (it's quite different from the language year the Master, Ph.D students do before they start major studies).
- To be enrolled for it, we need to already have passed HSK5, so I could speak Chinese before I started. To be eligable to start Bachelor degree studies, we need to pass HSK6 with a minimum score of 210, and the HSKK Advanced with a minimum of 60. (And tbh, I highly doubt that's even enough, but there's no room for "higher" requirments, given the new HSK's structure.)

- We had 24class hrs/week, mainly Chinese (4 subjects: Reading/Spoken/Writing/Academic Chinese, 20hrs) and Chinese Highschool Math (that killed me, 4hrs). The course table is about 8class hrs of Chinese a day, and Math 2 days per week, so 10class hrs at most (2 days per week). More often than not (aka almost every day), we had time inbetween classes (from what I hear to prevent us [mostly Korean students] from going around doing nothing, so we had to stay nearby wait for the next class.) The second semester it was better, there were only TWO! days that had time inbetween classes.They have all the textbooks online, but the site seems to be down for now, will upload it once it gets back on.

- I will be studying Chinese language and literature. Cheers!

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BanZhiYun, damn you must be insanely smart..


Are you competing with Chinese students as well? If so, congratulations mate. I heard that entering Peking University (for undergraduate study in Chinese-taught class) is far far far more difficult than even entering Harvard University. Every year, Harvard's acceptance rate is around 6-8 percent, while PKU annually accepts only around 3000 students out of 10 million applicants. That is 0.03 percent of acceptance rate.


Heard from a friend that if a Chinese national knows that you are studying in Beida or Tsinghua, there will be 'ooh-ahhs' sound and jaw-dropping reaction because you must be goddamn genius to be accepted in those two universities. Hell, I once read in a forum that some high school students could prepare themselves for 6 years for the nationwide test to enter Beida or Tsinghua. 


I believe that the case is different compared to PKU's English-taught international class (the one I am accepted). Of course, it still has high academic standards. For example,  the IELTS requirement of my PKU-Master's of Public Policy course of 7.0 is higher than the ones required by most prestigious universities in the West - as I know some of the world's top 20 best universities who accept IELTS level of 6.5. However, my course, I believe, is still less competitive to your undergraduate Chinese-course. 


Anyway BanZhiYun, do you know a place (or institution I could contact) where I can study intensively Mandarin in PKU? My Mandarin knowledge is close to zero, and I plan to take language evening classes to hone my Chinese language skills. How much should I pay for that?

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@Toro No, I wouldn't say so, let's not forget I am on the CGS after all. :) I did not compete with Chinese students to get in, but I will be competing with them once we start undergrad, and with Beida's marking (and I guess other Chineses universities as well/ aka only 1/4th of the students can get over a 90/100) I expect my marks not to be all that awesome. :x

To be honest, I think the Foundation Year was useful, in that I learned most of the humanities you have to memorize (even if it's insane amounts) a lot and that's how most of the studying is done here (from my experience which is as of now, limited). For example, before I came to China, I had studied Chinese at high school, so I am used to memorizing more or less, when I came here that just went many notches up. If I had to go from scratch (as I had to, with the Chinese Maths, since Math seems to be crazy important in Chinese Highschool System), I would have probably gone insane. It's basically not being "insanely smart", just working insanely hard and be patient. I expect my classmates next semester to be much more diligent than me, though, they have had so many years of experience. What I don't like about the marking system is that it "compares" and "ranks" students, which is not what studying is about, but I guess I am not the one who will change that anytime soon. I just hope to keep my curiousity and not give in it in the next years, since everyone puts so much emphasis onto it, you just can't help but be influenced a bit.


- What major will you be studying? I am pretty sure it might include (some) Chinese classes. If not, you can contact the School of Chinese as a Second Language, it's the institution which teaches Chinese to foreigners @ PKU. Not sure about prices or procedures how to sign-up for additional classes, though.


The Foundation Year (预科)is mainly for those wanting to do Undergrad, one of it's requirments for enrollment is we need to have just graduated High School and be under 25 yrs old. The language year Master and Ph.D studends (and visiting students, as well) is seperate, they are all done by the School of Chinese as a Second Language @ PKU, both have their own 研究室. One of the main differences is that, in Foundation Year all of the subjects are compulsary (and the Math, too), while in the language year only 2 subjects are compulsary (Reading[Comprehensive]/Spoken Chinese) and you can pick electives. Basically, the Foundation Year is aimed to prepare you (more or less) for Undergrad studies, that's why it has Academic Chinese (which can be seperated in 9 podsubjects: Comphrehensive, Language, Literature, History, Philosophy, Law, Economics, Politics and Diplomacy; usually the first semester the advanced classes study Comphrensive book, then the second semester we can choose which pod-subject we want to do, they are usually 2 combined together: Languege + Literature/Law +  Economics/History + Philosophy/Politics + Diplomacy) and the intermediate classes start studying the Comprehensive book. Sometimes some of this Academic Chinese is offered as a selective course on the language year, but it's usually only 1 subject, not combined.


A description (in Chinese, sorry) can be found here for most (90%) of the textbooks used by School of Chinese as a Second Language: http://hanyu60.pku.edu.cn/documents/material/

What we used:

1. Comprehensive Chinese: Boya Chinese (duh) first link, 4th textbook. The lowest (aka elementary class) in Foundation start (the first semester) from the Blue Semi-Intermediate, the highest class starts from the 2nd orange book.

2. Spoken Chinese: Hanyu Kouyu, second link, 4th book. The advanced classes start from the first yellow one, the lower classes study a book by BLCU the first semester, not sure what the name is though.

3. Reading and Writing: Reading and Writing Course, 4th link, 10th book. Lowest class start from the green (elementary) 1, the highest class start from the blue 1.

4. Academic Chinese: first link, 5-11th book.


- The general language year's compulsary courses contains of Comprehensive Chinese + Spoken Chinese, using the same textbooks as the above ones, it's just that you can start with any book the first semester, since the teaching is aimed for 1 semester (aka each semester is individual, even if you did 1 full year, you don't stay in the same class and just study the next level of your previous textbook, you can skip many levels if you did well on the Placement test)


- If you are a general student and do great on the Placement Test (end up in the most Advanced class, which probably means you passed their mark for entering into a Department) (or show ISO you have HSK6), you can go into any Department for a semester and study any major you want. (with all the undergrad students, same requirments as them)


Sorry for the long post, hope you find what you need, even though it's a bit messy!

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@BanZhiYun: thanks a lot. I think this information will help a lot of people who are looking for details of studied at BeiDa.

I notice that you did not list science courses such as physics/biology/advanced math or even just "scientific Chinese" as subjects.

Do people who get into scientific/technical majors get to skip the Foundation Year? or is there a different curriculum for them?

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  • 3 weeks later...



I have just completed Non-Degree language year at BLCU and I will start in September another non-degree language year in Peking, on a CSC scholarship. I hope I will be able to get a CSC scholarship for masters in Political Science beginning with 2016.



I would please, please like to briefly ask you what are the options for accomodation. I can barely find any information in English on the internet. Are there several doorms to choose from?

As I have a CSC scholarship I know there will be something available for me. However, I am very keen in finding a way, official or unofficial, to be alone in the room, or maybe to have a roommate who does not live there. Does anyone have any advice on this, please?


Thank you a lot!


Best wishes,

Adrian from Romania

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@Adrian, congrats on the CGS!

Yes, you will get a double room at the dormitory. I guess you'll get a roomate who is doing a similiar program as you (eg. 1 year language course), but that's not for certain. Whether or not he will stay in the room, is up to him. I know people who have a roomate that lives outside, so they get the whole room for themselves. I had the same exact issue the first semester of 2014 with my roommate (Swedish), he wanted to make me leave the room and in the end he was the one that left, lol.

I think this is the website you're looking for: http://www.pkugv.com/english/
But still, unless you are lucky to get in a room that already has a person supposed to be living there, but isn't, it's not as easy to get a single room. Not sure how it goes if you pay for it. When my swedish roomate left, he stayed in the same building and last time I saw him he said nobody came the second semester, even though he had to live with somebody untl the end of the first one. Good luck with that~

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The rooms are fine I guess, bigger than the CGS rooms I've seen in BLCU at least, and cleaner. The problem is that the bathroom and toilets on the floor are of  common use  and "traiditional"style. Also the lights in the rooms (not sure what's the love for this kind of white here) are kinda dark, but you can get additional lamps etc. Overall I am happy with the room conditions. :)

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@banzhiyun what do you mean by double room? Is it a single room with double bed..or a separate two rooms but with shared kitchen, living room, bathroom, and others?


well I have contacted the international office of PKU and they said that I just have to come to Beijing and I just have to report to the of Global Village Zhongguanxinyuan will already be available for me during my arrival day..Just exactly as you predicted! Thanks so much for the information

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@Adrian You'll be living in Building #5. About the room, I assume it'll be pre-arranged as well and it depends do you plan staying here for the winter vacation? Then I would advice you to ask them for a room looking South, would be warmer. But the ones looking East and North are fine as well.

@Toro Oh my bad. Yes, it's a single room with double bed. And it's common kitchen, bathroom and toilet for each floor. And since you are a female, I would advice you to ask them to live ABOVE floor 3. You're welcome, feel free to ask anything! :)

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@Toro OH LMAO, sorry! It's that girls live on the uneven floors (and floor 1-3), guys live on the even floor (4, 6, 8 etc.) and that floors 1-3 don't have a window next to the elevator and every time you go back to your room, you have the feeling it's quite dark.

And yes, the facilities are quite nice, I haven't used the one in the dorms 'cus they are rather expensive, but still pretty nice. It's overall a nice dormitory IMO.

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