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evets1518

Studying at Tsinghua - Dorm or Apartment?

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evets1518

Hi,

 

I just got accepted by Tsinghua University for their Chinese language program for the upcoming fall semester and I'm currently looking into finding an accommodation in Beijing. The options are either the Zijing dorms or renting an apartment in the nearby area (like Wudaokou). The dorms are pretty basic - bed, desk, bathroom, washing facilities somewhere in the compound but no kitchen or fridge. Apartments vary a lot more, of course, but the prices are also 2x or 3x the price of dorms.

 

I prefer cooking for myself over getting takeaways (been there done that, I know very well how convenient it is), not super bothered about not having people stay overnight and not really into clubbing/night life either - but I've seen comments here and there about how you get to hang out with more students if you live in the dorms. I just want to make sure I'm not closing myself to an opportunity to meet and hang out with people - especially since I'm sort of starting over.

 

So my question is: does anyone have any experience with this? Would you choose the dorms, or find an apartment?

 

Thanks!

Evelyn

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Lu

If I were you, I would start with the dorms, for the reason you mention: more social options. If you live off-campus in an apartment, you need to make a bit more effort to meet people who might become friends. Not being able to cook is of course a downside. Are you sure there is no kitchen in the dorm? Back when I was living in a dormitory (BLCU, 2002-2003, so YMMV) there was a kitchen for the building as a whole. Only one kitchen and pretty basic, but I've seen people use it.

 

You don't mention your age or what living situation you are now used to. If you are over 25 or so and/or used to having your own space, you might prefer an apartment. But if you don't like the dorms, you can usually move out later on and find an apartment then.

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歐博思

I'd second the dorms. I stayed in the Zijing dorms and there was a communal kitchen per floor, and I believe some people had portable cooking tops in their rooms. I don't remember if the latter was actually allowed, but had lots of cooking parties with friends in the former.

 

They are super Nazi about kicking people out every night at dorm close, even on weekends, which can be a hamper on you even if you're not a crazy party goer. They also have cleaning staff come around regularly. As a clean and neat person already, I found it intrusive.

 

That said if I were doing it again, I'd still probably go dorms first, build a huge social net, then move out somewhere close to campus. 

 

edit:::

 

On second thought, I'd go for an apartment and just be way more active in clubs and activities. But it'd be a tough call for me too.

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Pandarow

If your primary goal is to learn Chinese, stay at dorm will save time and give you more time to talk to classmates and teachers. If your already have Chinese communication skills and want to have more chances to talk to local people, may choose apartment.

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ChTTay

I’m pretty sure there’s a massive thread on this on Chinese-Forums already. I’m on my

phone now so can’t find it but it has a lot of info. 

 

As for the cooking part, when I was at Tsinghua (2013) it was in your housing agreement that you wouldn’t cook in your room. I can’t imagine it’s changed much. The kitchens just had a fridge and a microwave; nothing else was allowed. I had friends who bought small toaster ovens and electric hot plates to use in their own rooms. They also had small fridges. I would say if you primarily want to cook your own food then I wouldn’t stay in dorms. There is a small supermarket on campus but it’s quite expensive, you’d likely need to go to WDK to buy stuff. 

 

I do agree that dorms would make it easier in the beginning to meet people and hang out with other students. They are also cleaned regularly by the cleaning staff. There are other things to consider like they don’t have 24 hot water. 

 

If your primary goal is to learn Chinese then I wouldn’t necessarily say it would be better to stay on campus. The dorms you stay in are for foreigners only so you’d just be interacting with classmates on the language program. If you really want to make Chinese friends on campus, you could probably do so whether you lived there or not. You’d likely find more “life” Chinese being spoken if you didn’t live in dorms as you’d have to deal with rent, electricity bills, etc. more independently. 

 

Overall,  if you’re outgoing anyway and quite confident, then I’d probably go for the apartment. If you need more time and opportunities to make friends, go for the dorm. I’d say making friends is probably more important in the first semester anyway.

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evets1518
17 hours ago, Lu said:

You don't mention your age or what living situation you are now used to. If you are over 25 or so and/or used to having your own space, you might prefer an apartment. But if you don't like the dorms, you can usually move out later on and find an apartment then.

I'm 21, but I've been living in an apartment (ensuite, kitchen shared with 4 other people) for the last 4 years so I do love being able to know what goes into what I eat and clean anything, anyime I want. 

 

@歐博思

Thanks so much for your tips! Do they have a curfew as well? (I'm guessing not, I feel like that's more of a high school dorms thing)

 

@ChTTay,

Thank you! I'll try to look for it now, I'm really new to the forum so I just started browsing through.

 

I think I tend to start slow with making friends and then I open up a lot more after I'm comfortable with where I am and my surroundings - so dorms might be a good shout to start with at first!

 

 

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歐博思

No curfew, but bring your student ID if you go out late -- they'll check it at the campus gates to let you back in.

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ChTTay

If you plan on more than 1 semester then you could do dorms first and see how you feel. A safe bet probably! 

 

Dorms were always in very high demand when I was there though so, if that’s still the case, maybe the decision won’t be yours to make! 

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evets1518
1 hour ago, ChTTay said:

Dorms were always in very high demand when I was there though so, if that’s still the case, maybe the decision won’t be yours to make! 

My current strategy is to be up and ready with a card to pay when they open the portals and rely on internet speed and luck 😂 Any tips you'd recommend? Also - do you remember sort of when the registration was? (Late July or early/late August maybe?)

 

Also another question - although this is more visa related. I'm currently traveling, so I don't really have a fixed address, so I put the documents to be forwarded to my home address in Indonesia. I can get my parents to scan the documents and I think I can apply at the Chinese consulate in Manchester, but would they be okay with me using scanned documents instead of the real papers sent by the University? I'm just trying to avoid having to send the documents all the way from Indonesia to the UK.

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imron
26 minutes ago, evets1518 said:

but would they be okay with me using scanned documents instead of the real papers sent by the University?

Almost certainly not.

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