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amandagmu

BLCU, Beijing Language and Culture University, Housing Info, and more

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Ju_de

Hi everyone,

im planning to go to BLCU for the course in sept.for 12 weeks.

i heard there are problems with reserving rooms on campus,

so i was thinking of arriving to BJ a week or two before the course starts.

Is this early enough or even possible?

or are there specific dates (i.e. beginning of the course week) in which you can turn up and reserve the room on campus or at the students activities centre?

any advice would be great!

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croyd

I'm headed to Beijing this Saturday. I'm not sure what type of place I want yet. I'm debating whether to try to get a room in the dorm, student activities center, or a 1 bedroom apartment.

Any idea how much I should be paying for a 1 bedroom apartment? Do most apartments now come with DSL internet or would I have to pay that on my own? How much is high speed these days and what is the best ISP there?

Any suggestions on what area I should look at if renting an apartment? Does heating/air con come with most places or is that an additional fee? Do I pay the landlords first and last month rent or the full amount at once? Is it easy to get a place for only 4 months?

Any other costs should I be aware of?

Thanks,

-Jeff

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earendil31

this thread is very helpful.....unless you want to live in the dorm (for 50 kuai a day, who wouldn't!), then it's just scary ^^. so I am going to expound for a bit on what I know about housing, from the dorm side of things.

Firstly, everything really is first come first serve, a lot of people in my class arrived in Beijing less than a week ahead of time, and lived in the hallowed bldg 17. I didn't even ask about it, and got put in bldg 6. My rent, for a double room with A/C when I didn't need it was 50RMB/day. If you need A/C, and live in a double, and can pay a lot of cash at one time (i.e. pick a number of days and pay the rent upfront) then your rent will be 68/day in bldg 6. The other short, blue brick buildings should be the same. Oh, bldg 11 is currently (March of 2006) under Massive Construction. So if you are put in bldgs 12 or 6, try to get somewhere else. Yes bldg 6. I have a wonderful view of a big green box and a lovely symphony of hammers right outside my window. Nicer/newer bldgs have higher rent; so so singles (by about double).

The short dorms are really not that bad. If you live in a bldg with blue brick exterior, it has western toilets; each room has a private bathroom w/shower, sink, and toilet. One thing: do not be alarmed when your bathroom floods during your shower, as there is no floor-level divider between the shower area and the rest of it. Your room will not flood, the drains actually work.

The attendants clean the rooms (empty your trash and sweep if it's dusty) 3 times a week. Bring/buy your own towel from home/Lotus Center (a supermarket west of WuDaoKou station) as the towels in the room do not absorb water heh. Also, if you are coming in summer, make an investment in room based mosquito repellant. RAID mosquito coils (they aren't toxic to humans) can be had at the on-campus friendship store for 2.5 RMB.

On the first day, you should get to campus as early as possible. Dorm reg begins at 8am, and like everyone has said, it's first come first served. They will ask you if you want a single or double..... be honest, or you will regret it. Then they will call someone at a random bldg and ask them if there is any room. Once they find a bldg with room, you are sent there to sign up, pay, and put your stuff in your room.

This is very important

When you get your room key, it's not for long. On campus dorms have a key-copying prevention policy, which is that when you leave the dorm, you leve your key at the front desk. If you want control of your key 24/7, you can always just keep it in your pocket when youn walk out the front door, but realize that if you lose your key there may not be a spare available to non-staff. Avoid the trip to Golden Keys (and the fee) and leave your key at the desk!

The room itself is not too small. Not too big either. A double is very livable, singles are kind of cramped. Yes, you will hear other dormers thru the walls. But people are usually nice about quieting down if you actually take the time to knock and ask them nicely. On the other hand, you might end up next door to a wonderful brazillian music afficianado from Japan and have music to study by ^_^.

There are two desks and two chairs and two beds, one nightstand thingy with a hot water container, a radiator for heat and a hitachi A/C unit for cooling. You control the A/C, the bldg controls the heat. The bathroom has it's own radiator that is always on. Sometimes the room ends up colder than the bathroom.....but you also get a Thick comforter with your bedding. The sheets are changed once every two weeks.

The telecom/power setup is pretty basic. One phone; it might work. Invest 300-500 kuai and buy a cell phone, all your friends will have one and it's incredibly useful for when you are walking down the third ring road and can't quite find the restaurant you are looking for. Internet is 140 kuai a month, unless you only only only check email, in which case the lower level options aren't too bad. There's a 50 kuai "setup fee" that you can't avoid. Also, if you have a laptop and you aren't fluent in computonghua you will need to bring it in to let them set everything up. If you brought a box-style system, bring along a mandarin speaking friend so you can get the instructions. When your internet runs out at the end of the month, it will shut off at midnight after the 30th day. Make sure you pay before then, and make sure you know how to restart it from their little webpage. Oh, "they" are CERNET, evil place that doesn't fix it's servers atnight. If your net goes down past 1730, it's down until 9 am the next day. Only one port in the room, so you'll have to buy a switch. Or you can rent one from CERNET for 10RMB per semester (and a 70RMB deposit you get back if you bring back the switch). Don't forget to get a network cable from them.

You can buy water from the front desk for 11 kuai, but you have to rent the pump. I just buy bottled water (the cheapest brand is .80 kuai) from Lotus Center for the portability aspect.

There is a fridge, if you want your water cold, or if you buy some groceries or take something back from a restaurant. It's small though. So is the closet, very small. Try to use luggage that collaspes/balls up/flattens out, so you actually have space for your clothes in there. Laundry costs 3.50 kuai per load. No dryers, so it's air drying unless you want to use the (more expensive) laundry services that dot the landscape. Make sure to use fabric softener of some sort. The water is cold, so no worries with that beautiful A&F pullover you wore to TAKU last night (if you're the TAKU sort......^_^).

That's a lot of info, I'm free to answer questions as I'm still here and can ask the staff anything I don't know. So comment away!!

--Earendil31

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El Buceador

I just moved into BFSAC yesterday, so I don't know all the ins and outs yet. I have a double for 65/day pre-paid for three months (said they didn't have singles, but that was fine for me as it's 5 more). That includes tv, refrigerator, desk, private bathroom (relatively comfortable bed, although if you're taller than my six feet, you're going to have your feet hanging over the edge). I wouldn't eat the paint chips, but I wasn't expecting much for 210 dollars a month. I have internet for 150 month no setup fee. I paid a 200 kwai key deposit. I don't know how this rates per on-campus as I just wanted to get a comfortable (enough) place for hopefully cheaper than what BLCU offers with private bathroom.

They say there is a morning shuttle, but I haven't taken it yet. It's a moderate walk along blocks that stretch into forever, where you can breathe in the fresh, mountain air, and because there is a pedestrian bridge to BLCU you can do it without risking being run over crossing the street at any point. (Yeah, the green walker guy doesn't mean the same thing here.)

I don't know a lot of Mandarin yet, and if you are in a similar situation it may be best to ask right away for Geng Haizhen if you try BFSAC, as she seems to speak the most English of those I've met on staff and was very helpful.

They don't accept traveler's checks, but they can point out a bank where you can change them to Renminbi.

Happy bookings.

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croyd

Hi,

I also am moving into the Foreign Student Activities Center. I think I got the last single room ;-) At least, when I was booking, they said there was 1 left. I'll be moving in tomorrow though as I'm staying with my cousin right now. I can't remember the room number at the moment but it was on the 6th floor.

The single room cost 60RMB and I think the room looks a bit better than the ones in the dorms. When I went to look at the dorms, the office sent me to building #8. In building #8, they had western style toilets but I found the rooms dark. The room was also smaller than the one at the SAC but cost 92RMB. I think it was going to go up to $108 in May due to the airconditioning. When I registered today, they gave me a green booklet which showed all the prices of the dorms. It turns out that #8 was the most expensive. When I went to the SAC, I just found the room looked a tiny bit more spacious but also more bright. I guess that's because it has white walls instead of the blue. Also, I felt the bed in the dorms and they were just too soft and I could feel the springs..the ones at the FSAC seemed to be better.

-Jeff

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lizbitz

I am also at the SAC. I can't imagine doing much better for the price...

I stayed at the conference center for the first 3 nights. It is basically the same thing but more than double the price...you are paying for staying on campus. Frankly, I like staying off campus..the life seems a bit more exciting.

-Lauren

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Silvermaus

I'm looking into BFSAC as an option for a cheap, but clean room. However, I'm not doing the language program with BCLU, but Tsinghua instead.

Can anyone tell me whether it is associated with BCLU and would I have to study there in order to get a room with BFSAC? Also, how far a walk or easy for transport would it be to get to Tsinghua?

Would appreciate your thoughts... cheers!

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chiahuei

free1609, thanks for your reply about hqjy...it helped me make the right decision! since i'm here now i have a better idea of the place and hopefully will be able to help...

silvermaus, i'm not entirely sure where the BFSAC is located but if it's anywhere near blcu, or east or blcu i would say that's quite a long walk to Tsinghua. I currently live in Huaqing Jiayuan apartments which are about 15 minutes walk to BLCU south gate and Tshinghua is on the other side so I'm guessing a good 30 minutes walk between blcu and tshinghua!!!! both are along the same road (chengfu lu). a bike would certainly cut travelling time, i now take about 5-7 minutes to bike to blcu depending on traffic :P i am sure buses go there too but i don't like waiting for public transport on an everyday basis and i certainly don't like the crowds - and it's ALWAYS crowded on any beijing public transport systems.

If you are staying in tsinghua for some time i would certainly recommend getting an apartment at Huaqing Jiayuan in Wudaokou. I think it's pretty near to Tsinghua, has all the shops, bars and the subway to get to the city centre. Room prices range from 1500-2000+ RMB per month (and you don't have to share rooms!!!!!!)... size, quality and age of the place varies. Should not be a problem finding housemates for the apartment if you decide to rent a 2 or 3 bedroom one. I'm currently paying 2000 for a nice spacious room in a 2br apartment and really like it here. i found it on thatsbj.com classifieds. However I'm not sure about minimum rental times etc as I'm renting from my housemate (i'm only here 3 months) - but i would think between 6 months to 1 year is the norm. Highly recommend my place, I don't think anyone regrets living here!

Anyway I think that's all i can think of right now..... Best of luck!

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El Buceador

Not associated with any university that I'm aware of. Not sure how far would be from that U, but I think I remember meeting someone who goes there who is in the bldg.

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shadopup

For anybody who's interested...

As for the conditions of dormitory 1, you get...

A decent sized room with one roommate (and a few cockroaches). Public showers, sinks, toilets (squat hole, no seat, no toilet paper, you have to buy your own toilet paper and when you've used it you toss it in the basket, you don't flush it down the toilet).

At least on my floor, the toilets are very dirty and smelly and you will see some bugs and cockroaches on occasion. Your room has heating but no air conditioning and comes with a desk, a chair, a bed, a 15" TV and a large cabinet which has a closet and shelves. There is a telephone line but you do not get a telephone. You also do not get a fridge. You must buy these yourself if you need them.

Your TV does not come with a remote but you can pay a 100Y deposit to get one from the office on the first floor. You get the 100Y back when you return the remote. On most of the TVs you need the remote to watch DVDs if you have a DVD player.

The bed however is either a wooden rectangular box (which you can store stuff inside also) or a metal frame. You are also given a padded cushion for your bed as well as some bedsheets, a woolen blanket and a pillow.

You also get a thermos which you can use to fill up with hot water. On a few floors of the building there are large hot water containers where you can fill up your thermos.

There are also washing machines on most floors but they are not free. You have to get this little device from the office on the first floor to use the washing machines. The first time it costs 50Y for 5 washes (i think, i've never used it) afterwards you can pay in 30Y increments if you need to use the washing machine more. There are no dryers but on each floor there is a balcony with two clotheslines.

There are no facilities in this building to cook. You are not allowed to cook in your room or have any high voltage electrical equipment or any equipment that uses an open flame that could cause fire. However, people do cook in their rooms. You can easily do it safely as long as you don't burn something causing smoke. The smoke detector in the room does work and people from the office will come to your room if it goes off. Ironicially you won't know if your smoke detector went off as it never makes a sound.

You can get internet set up in your room if you have a computer or laptop but you must go to Cernet which is a company on campus to do this for you. Of course, this is not free.

At most times of the day only one of the two elevators is turned on. The elevators are shut off completely at midnight every day and turned on again at 7am.

Girls only live on floors 1-6. Floors 7-14 are for guys only.

Note there are ways to get around or compensate for some of the shortcomings of dormitory 1.

In general...

It's completely liveable but you have to knock your standards down a few notches, get used to the toilets and find clever ways to do certain chores. The rooms are much larger than the rooms in the newer and more expensive dorms (with the exception of building 4 which is now under renovation).

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amandagmu

"so I'm guessing a good 30 minutes walk between blcu and tshinghua!!!! both are along the same road (chengfu lu)."

That may depend on where you are located on theTsinghua campus which is freakin' huge. But there is no way it's a 30 minute walk from the gate of Tsinghua to the first gate you come to at BLCU. It's more like 15-20 minutes, max, and it's along Chengfu. It took me about 10-15 minutes from gate to gate, but hey, I'm from the east coast of the U.S. and I power walk through cities. I guess if you aren't fast-paced and like to mosy along the road and look at shop windows it could take 30 minutes.

As for the SAC... a walk from there to BLCU took 20 minutes on average, and to Tsinghua I would estimate 35 minutes. It's practically a straight shot with one turn involved so it isn't complicated, but it isn't close. However, the 307 bus goes straight done Chengfu to Tsinghua, it stops first at BLCU and I think 1 stop later at Tsinghua. It's 1 kuai. The bus ride will be 5-10 minutes max, once the bus arrives. Depending on time of day, that could be every 5 minutes or every 20 minutes.

~Amanda

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maverix

Amanda,

First of all, I'd like to say that your entries have been very informative and thorough. Thanks for taking the time to post so much useful information. I'm most likely going to be enrolling in a semester-long language program at BLCU in the near future, and from what I gather it seems like living at Beijing Foreisn Student Activities Center would be the best bet. It seems like you get a little more for your money and the staff is a little easier to deal with. Also, the commute doesn't seem too bad.

So, I'm wondering if you could help answer a couple of questions I have regarding studying at BLCU and living at the SAC:

1. It looks like you can apply to the language program through either the BLCU website or the ISC website. But, to be eligible for residence at the SAC, should I apply through the ISC website, www.iscbeijing.com?

2. If I signed up for residence at SAC six months in advance, would I be guaranteed a (single) room? Or, is it really only set in stone when I get there and talk to someone in person?

3. Related to #2: Is it easy to get the $10/day rate that you had? Or, are there certain requirements (e.g., duration of stay)?

4. Would they allow you to start living in the dorm a couple of weeks prior to the start of your program? Similarly, would they allow you to continue living there a couple weeks after your program finishes?

5. I know you might have mentioned this in a previous post, but who is the contact person that is best to talk to at the SAC?

Thanks much for your time.

Greatly appreciated,

Mav

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amandagmu

Hi Mav, here are answers to what I know -- I was only there for the summer, but I assume it's similar for all seasons:

"1. It looks like you can apply to the language program through either the BLCU website or the ISC website. But, to be eligible for residence at the SAC, should I apply through the ISC website, www.iscbeijing.com?"

Go through BLCU. It's cheaper. I signed up directly through BLCU and found the SAC later. You don't have to do the whole package through them at all to be eligible for residence.

"2. If I signed up for residence at SAC six months in advance, would I be guaranteed a (single) room? Or, is it really only set in stone when I get there and talk to someone in person?"

This I don't know. My *guess* is only when you get there. But mostly everything in China is like this aside from airplane tickets.

"3. Related to #2: Is it easy to get the $10/day rate that you had? Or, are there certain requirements (e.g., duration of stay)?"

Here's what happened. It was supposed to be 160-180 kuai a night. Then she (the lady at the front desk) slashed the price--this was all in person, mind you-- to 120 kuai a night. Finally, she said 100 kuai a night, if I paid up front for the 31 days. This is how it works in China, just like in the markets. Negotiation in person. Cash is a must, don't bet on a credit card.

"4. Would they allow you to start living in the dorm a couple of weeks prior to the start of your program? Similarly, would they allow you to continue living there a couple weeks after your program finishes?"

Yeah, whatever, whenever. If you pay them, mei wenti. They are NOT a dorm. They are a student living center. Just keep that in mind -- some people will have been living there what seems like forever and some people will be gone in a week. Although you'll recognize lots of BLCU students from your own program, there will be others from other programs or living/studying/doing who knows what in Beijing. I guess the best description is that it's a long term student/young people's hotel.

"5. I know you might have mentioned this in a previous post, but who is the contact person that is best to talk to at the SAC?"

Ha... no idea. Honestly, this isn't the kind of thing that matters. You just need a room key and a receipt. By the way, keep all receipts you're given. They accidentally cut off my electricity 2-3 days before I left and I had to go to the reception and show them the receipt -- the lady I had paid had written down the wrong date in the book, but upon viewing the receipt they turned it back on, no problem. They are very helpful but there are a bunch of people that work there. The only caveat is Chinese -- they don't speak English hardly at all. You need to be clear enough in Chinese or have a Chinese friend set things up for you.

Hope this helps,

Amanda

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maverix

Amanda,

Thanks much for your response -- as usual, really good info/advice. It's good to know that the SAC really is more like a students' hotel rather than a dorm, because I might need that kind of flexibility.

I'll also be sure to go directly through BLCU and then make separate arrangements with SAC. I have a friend in the US that is originally from Beijing. I'm thinking I might ask her to try and help me make arrangements with SAC over the phone (if that's even possible). Though, I do believe you when you say that in-person, cash-up-front is the only true way to deal with the housing folks.

Did you say that you were thinking of going back to BLCU at some point? How would you rate the level of teaching at BLCU? And, if relevant, how does that school cater to foreign students?

Best regards,

Mav

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cantogurl

How far in advance should we be booking the SAC to ensure that there are rooms available? Do they usually have open spots...or is it also usually packed and as popular as campus dorms or the Conference Center?

I'm still waiting upon the admissions notice and I'm shooting for theJuly 27th-Aug 23 session. Is it too late to think about the SAC...should I look for other options of housing by now?

I'm pretty worried that my friend and I will end up roomless since neither of us speak any mandarin... any help would be greatly appreciated!

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Ascese

BJFSAC is under renovation...You should be able to book, but you have to check prices and everything.

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libertango

I want to set my girlfriend up in an apartment in Beijing... (I will be living about 2 hours from there.)

I want it to be in a decent area, clean, and it would need a kitchen.

What kind of rent should I expect to pay?

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cantogurl

just thought I would share this information:

the guy at housing just told me that you can prebook and be guaranteed a room as long as you do a telegraphic transfer of all the funds in advance... he said its part of the instructions in the stuff they send you to notify you of admissions. I havent received it yet, so i dont really know what he means as of now... but i feel a lot safer knowing that you can indeed book a room in advance. the price he gave was $65 RMB/night for a double and I'm guessing that the disadvantage about paying through t/t is that you give up the right to bargain (assuming it might be cheaper if you pay in cash upfront on the day of registration?) On the bright side though, we were assured over and over (and over and over) that the $65 RMB/night dorms has its own bathroom, and not the squatting ones either. :D *relief*

at xijiao hotel, i was told that you can "buy" a room for a month, so basically they "sell" you the room and as many people as you can fit in there can live in it. For that, it would cost you $280 RMB/night ($8400 RMB/month). I thought that sounded cheap, but now that I know the price of the dorms (and I know that its hard to compare a hotel to a campus dorm)...that sounds extremely expensive for living accomodations!

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Ascese

Well, I talked to BJFSAC and they started talking about the 150 fee and the new rates and etc, so...I don`t know. I prebooked one by phone and I`ll try to work it on the front desk, since I`m not willing to pay a higher rate, a 150 bucks fee and etc...

But I`m happy that you two got the room ^_^

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clive5h

Hi guys I'm going to BLCU for a year starting September 1st this year - just sorting out visa/flights and now I'm thinking about accommodation too.

It seems booking an apartment without any Mandarin is huge hassle so I plan on staying at either dormitory or Beijing Foreign Student Activity Center, at least to start with, and I'm just trying to decide which to go for. If anyone could answer the following few points I'd be really grateful:

- Can either be reliably pre-booked - if so, how? email? phone?

- How sociable are BLCU dorms compared with the Foreign Student Activity Center: do they have communal kitchens or common rooms?

- There seems to be quite a range in the quality of dorms - which are the better ones and why?

- What are their policies on having a friend to stay over for a night, or even to visit in the day?

Apologies if this is in the wrong place or has been answered before - if so could someone point me in the right direction.

Best wishes,

Clive

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