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Budgeting Help Study Abroad Ocean University


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For those of you who have studied abroad in the past can you tell me about how much spent every month on food, room, electric, water, travel (local), cell phones, basically anything that isn't included in the tuition. I have to make a budget for my financial aid office. I don't know if some meals are provided by the University. I am not using a program but, am doing a direct enroll.  So any help on this topic would much appreciated. I am also staying for a year if that might change your answers. Thanks! 

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People's expenses can vary vastly depending on lifestyle - if you go out drinking every night and taking a taxi home, the cost will soon add up. If you are satisfied with taking public transport and eating like a local, your money will probably get quite far.


Just as a rough guide:


1) Food

University canteen meal: 10-20 yuan

McDonald's/KFC: 30 yuan

Restaurant: varies widely, but 50-100 yuan for something mid-range


2) Room

Not sure - Fudan University foreign students' dorm is something like 2500 yuan per month (can't remember the exact figure), but I would expect Qingdao to be cheaper

Private rental: Varies widely depending on location, size and state of repair, but you could probably get something decent in Qingdao for 2000-3000 yuan/month


3) Electricity/water

Varies, but generally not very expensive. Usually less than 100 yuan/month for reasonable use (may be more if you have the air conditioner on all the time).


4) Travel

Hotel: you can get a decent hotel in most cities for 150-200 yuan/night. Some places you may be able to find a room for under 100 yuan, but probably uncomfortable and not worth the savings.

Trains: usually fairly reasonable, but of course depends on class of travel and where you are going. You could probably get to Beijing for under 200 yuan on the express (Gaotie) train.

Flights: prices vary greatly depending on time of year and time of booking. You should be able to get to Shanghai for example for 500-1000 yuan.

Taxis: Tend to be cheap compared with western countries, but the temptation is to take a taxi everywhere, and of course the cost then adds up. I'm not sure about Qingdao specifically, but the pick up fee is probably in the range of 10 yuan. A 20 minute journey shouldn't cost you more than 50 yuan.

Public bus: 1-2 yuan/journey


5) Cell phones

Well, it depends on how much you use your phone, but again, it shouldn't be more than 50 yuan/month (I probably spent less than 20 yuan/month, but I had a separate data card for my Ipad which was something like 600 yuan for 6GB for 6 months). Just make sure you select a plan that suits your needs. Your money will be used up quickly if you exceed the time provided by the plan you choose.

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It must be per month.

The dorms may also have a communal kitchen or something where you cook yourself. It probably wouldn't end up being cheaper than the canteen but might be nice to "home cook" something. A lot of food is very cheap compared to western countries. Especially vegetables. At my University, people bought electric induction cookers / hot plates and just cooked in their room. Technically against the rules but aslong as you disn't burn anything they looked the other way.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Yes, for credit card. The applicant should be Chinese citizen, so a foreigner is not able to have one.

You only need to provide passport if you want to open a bank account and get a debit card. Basically speaking, debit card is enough for your daily life. Most of merchants accept it. And you can link it with your alipay account(支付宝,online payment method, something like paypal) which can also be applied by using your passport. Then you can shop online such as taobao to get literally everything you need. Or you even can pay offline by using your smart phone(alipay app).

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