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amandagmu

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

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roddy

Or 65 dollars per week, maybe. Either way, it ain't 65Y a week . . .

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clive5h

Hi guys,

I'm going out to Beijing for the Sep 1 year-long Mandarin course and have been looking into accommodation for when I arrive. I emailed the people at the International Students' Center (Foreign Students' Activities Center) who said that for an initial month I'd have to pay $18 a night and $150 reservation fee (hopefully planning on sorting an apartment out after a while). This seems like quite a lot to me, any ideas if they'd be likely to negotiate?

Alternatively, does anyone have the email address for the BLCU dorms? If I arrive 23rd August is this too late to get a decent room there? Any help would be greatly appreciated....

Clive

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lalibela

Hi Clive!

Well, I am in your same situation. I´m arriving on the 21st. A chinese friend kind of arrranged everything for me over the phone. Then they wrote me back saying that I will have a double room and that I will have to choose the dorm when I get there. The e-mail adress they wrote me from is: [email protected]. Try to contact them, but they won´t answer my e-mails. I guess the best way is to sort everything out is over the phone. Anyway, I don´t think you´ll have any problems at finding a room!!!

Good luck,

Lalibela

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floressas

hello, and thanks for a very useful thread. i'm from sweden, and going to study at blcu for one term, starting mars 2007. i have a couple of more questions, and would be most happy if i got any answers..

* when you get the visa after applying to blcu, how long before the term start do this visa allows you to enter china? and how long does it allows you to stay when finished studying?

* i saw on some pictures from the blcu that there is a football-field and some other sport facilities. are there any activities on those? i have understood that the gym is to pay for when use. what about the football-field? is there anything like university-leagues?

* how is it to live in university-dorms and at the students activities-center if you are a night-owl? is there any specific time when it should be quiet and lights should be out?

* how is the policy regarding alcohol? can you bring beers to your university-dorm? can you actually have a pre-party in your room, with people unfammilliar to the attendant?

gratefully yours

:help

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Shadowdh

Now I am an old man and so my view may be different from the younger of those who visit this forum... but my answers (as much as I can answer) are as follows...

* when you get the visa after applying to blcu, how long before the term start do this visa allows you to enter china? and how long does it allows you to stay when finished studying?Dont know but I am sure one of the more knowledgeable will help with this... my visa is for 60 days after entry... and as I am on a 6 week course this means I get an extra 18 days...

* how is it to live in university-dorms and at the students activities-center if you are a night-owl? is there any specific time when it should be quiet and lights should be out?

Personally I feel you should be considerate to those who are also living there and perhaps dont want to party hard.... use common sense as a guide and think of others... but I hear that there is some sort of lights out thing...

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xus-swede

I've been told there's plenty of ads around the blcu for apartments and other stuff, could someone just help me found out where? I'm a little bit confused as to where to start, I live at xijiao and I gotta find another place to live and I know nothing about this town.

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floressas

Shadowdh;

i don't go to beijing to "think of others"; when i have travelled half around the globe to live there for half-a-year, i want to be able to follow my common routines, as i am most happy with. moreover, i don't go to beijing in purpouse neither to disturb anyone, nor to break any rules and therefore get into conflicts with people. that's why i'm wondering about this rules, i still want to have my integrity intact.

another important question of mine is whether you are allowed to have visitor on your room or not? a couple of friends of mine are interrested to come and visit my in beijing, am i then allowed to host them at my room at campus or activity center for some some nights? and again; anyone know anything about the policy regarding alcohol?

maybe this seems like dumb questions from a troublesome writer, but hands on your hearts, i think many agrees this is important questions for a long stay in an unfamilliar city.

thanks in advance

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Shadowdh

i don't go to beijing to "think of others"; when i have travelled half around the globe to live there for half-a-year, i want to be able to follow my common routines, as i am most happy with. moreover, i don't go to beijing in purpouse neither to disturb anyone, nor to break any rules and therefore get into conflicts with people. that's why i'm wondering about this rules, i still want to have my integrity intact.

Fine you go to Beijing to think of others but consideration would be much appreciated.... I dont mean it in the way of comprimising your integrity rather that partying late may affect otheres...

another important question of mine is whether you are allowed to have visitor on your room or not? a couple of friends of mine are interrested to come and visit my in beijing, am i then allowed to host them at my room at campus or activity center for some some nights? and again; anyone know anything about the policy regarding alcohol?

I think having visitors is fine (as I have been and I have had visitors in my room) but having them for the night could be a no no...

maybe this seems like dumb questions from a troublesome writer, but hands on your hearts, i think many agrees this is important questions for a long stay in an unfamilliar city.

I can see where the concern lies especially in a new city but if you follow the general rules of respect and considerationg then you shouldnt have a problem... generally I have found the rules to be quite relaxed if you take care to consider others...

thanks in advance

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floressas

shadowx;

of course i want to consider others, if i didn't care about other people at all, i wouldn't bother with asking wether it's ok to be noisy late at the campus or not. what i was thinking about was, that if the rules at the blcu dormitory and/or the students activity center, are harsh regarding for example alcohol and quiteness at certain times, it may would be worth the extra trouble to get hand of an nearby apartment, in order not to disturb others.

isn't there anyone who can tell if it's ok to play music and drink a couple of beers at you room after midnight?

thanks in advance

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Shadowdh

thats cool, and from what I have heard here at the SAC then there isnt much problem with playing music (but it hasnt been too loud) or drinking in room... I was in a friends room having a few quiet beers (no music though) till 1 am one morning... walked through the lobby and said a cheery ni hao to all and no one said a thing... I think though if music is too loud you might get a couple of knocks on the door from either the staff or other people...

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lalibela

:help Hi there,

I am arriving on monday and after droping all my stuff at the Xijiao Hotel, I am planning to go to the Housing Service Center. Does anyone know the opening hours of this office? and, how far is that from the Xijiao Hotel?

Thank you all and hope to meet you guys soon,

Lalibela:help

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danier11

I'm bitter. I read the posts about how great the Xijiao Hotel is and planned to get a place for about 25 bucks but then they give me a price of 480yuan a night...or 60 dollars a night when I asked them.

Not that I know how to bargain...maybe thats why I didn't get her to go down...but I asked her half..she said no...I told her a friend of mine got it for half that and again nothing happened. I didn't feel up to trying to learn the art of bargaining after a 13 hour flight, the shuttle bus ride, and the travel time to the Xijiao. I ended up paying 35 bucks at this hotel down the street. If I had to do it again, I would have found the first foreignor that looks like they speak their language and say where can I find a hotel. You can ask them other questions and that will probably be your best bet.

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amandathepanda

I don't think that it is possible to stay at Xijiao for $25 anymore. I stayed there during my six week language course this past summer and was paying 248 rmb's a night, and I am fairly certain that's the lowest it goes. :( As far as negociating the price, I think it may be best to find a friend who lives in Beijing to help you.

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teachinator

Sorry to ask what is probably a repeat question, but I just want to clarify this as we're arriving in Beijing in less than two days. I'm taking the 12-week course at BLCU and was just going over the admission notice. It says the first step in registration is to go the housing office and pay the housing fee. That could be taken to mean that you must live in BLCU housing, but that's not true, is it? Students can live wherever they choose -- correct? I was planning to try to get a room at the International Students Center.

While I'm asking, what about eating at BLCU? If I don't live there, can I still eat in the student cafeterias by showing my student card? Or is there a meal plan that one has to buy by the term, and if so, can I buy it if I don't live on campus?

Thanks for all the help!

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Phantim3dx

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone especially Amanda for their enlightening words of wisdom on this thread. I had joined this forum specifically because I was searching for answers, and a link popped up on Google on this specific thread. I have questions like you all and I was hoping through the brainpower of all that we could help each other ought.

My name is Jay K. and I'm from Oklahoma State University, who plans to attend BLCU for the 1 year program starting this February 2007. I too have questions, that I hope may be answered because each day moves I get more nervous about my procrastinating actions. I have been accepted and have the student X Visa all set in place, now it's just a matter of getting the ticket to Beijing AND the Housing aspect of living in/around BLCU. I am going to graduate this December and doing BLCU solely through myself and not through my University or some Agency program like Worldlink.

An important note I should add is I studied Chinese 2 years ago for 2 semesters, and that was it; the maximum extent of my University's Chinese program...yes it is sad. And humbly yet bluntly stated, my Chinese skills are not the greatest if anything there almost non-existent in comparison to the people on this forum. Hence my worries that I hope can be thoughtfully viewed while answering my questions.

My first general question is transportation.

Once I arrive in Beijing Intl. Airport, how do I get to this University? Can I arrange for the University bus/shuttle, personnel, etc to come pick me up or in groups that are going to this University? If not, I am under assumption I have to take a taxi and how much would that cost? Any other forms of transportation?

My second question is housing.

As I've already read some and skimmed some on this thread, there is no guarantee in obtaining a room in BLCU, as what Amanda had stated, is this still the case? I plan to live in a double room fixture which was rated on BLCU's website @ around 50-75 RMB/day. I have no problems with this, since in all honesty I am a person who can survive on basic necessities in a student housing center ( I just need shower/bathroom facilities, a bed, refrigerator, and a closet...I could deal with this even in somewhat sub average conditions, except toilets). If I can't obtain a double/single economical room in BLCU, what happens then, does the staff suggest to you places that are business friendly with the University?!?! If worse comes out of this, and I do have to stay off campus, temporarily, can I try again in trying to obtain a double room with the University when their is an availability? My budget is around this area, and anything lower would be great! Some of you have stayed in hotels? Did you negotiate and discuss prices in terms of English or was your Chinese proficient enough that the conversation had to be done only in Mandarin? I do hope to live in a double room @ the rate I had stated before. ANY other comments/suggestions that I did not ask I am very much obliged and waiting for your response(s).

My third question has to deal with my Chinese proficiency.

I don't think I should be posting on this thread, but I thought I might as well. I intend to study for 1 year in BLCU, and as I have already stated my proficiency in Mandarin is poor due to the circumstances as I had described prior to my questions. When I do arrive, would BLCU staff automatically place me in the most basic and beginners level of learning Chinese or do I have to request this? On my "Admission Notice" from BLCU I have been assigned in the "College of Advanced Chinese Training as a General scholar student" and the words of "Advanced" made me really nervous and quite frankly scared. I was wondering if this was just the formal name for the beginner's course, and if not can I change it to the most beginners course in the Chinese learning program at BLCU once I arrive in the campus?

Thanks.

:help

Jay K.

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teachinator

Hi Jay,

I am just finishing the 12-week course, so I'll try to give you some answers. Other people will have more complete information.

About your level: I had a similar fear (I thought I was getting put into the intensive course, which I didn't want). Don't worry about it. They will test your level when you arrive, or you can even just tell them that you want to start at the beginning. "College of Advanced Chinese Training" is undoubtedly just their English translation of the one-year Chinese course.

Transportation: I live in a hotel right behind the university and the last time I rode from the airport it cost about 120 kuai (RMB), including a 10-kuai toll that you have to pay. This was during rush hour when we got stuck in traffic a lot. I think that at less crowded times it might be as low as 90 kuai or so.

If you take a taxi, get in the taxi line at the airport (it's pretty obvious where it is) and get one that way. Don't go with anyone who comes up to you offering a ride for a certain price. The first time we came we were swamped with these so-called "hei che" guys, but the airport seems to have cleaned them up since.

There is also an airport express bus that costs just 16 kuai, but I never tried taking it while carrying luggage. Also, this bus doesn't drop you off right at BLCU. The closest drop-off points are the Aeronautics University on Xueyuan Lu (actually the gate is on another street) or in the nearby ZhongGuanCun district for 15 kuai or so. So it would be cheaper to come that way, but more of a hassle. Depends on how broke you are. If you could share a taxi from the airport with another student, that would be pretty cheap and also convenient.

However, you come, whenever you take a taxi I recommend having a Beijing map in hand so you can show the taxi driver where you want to go. That way if you do get a dishonest driver, he will know he probably can't get away with taking you in a roundabout way to jack up the fare. I've heard people complain about this, but I never felt I had this kind of problem in a taxi.

Housing: I don't think you'll have any trouble getting placed in a dorm with a roommate if you're not picky. Some dorms are apparently much better than others -- there are some discussions of this here.

I live in the XiJiao Hotel behind the university (north side), but I wouldn't do this again, and it would be out of the question on your budget. Even with a "discount" it's very expensive. Lowest price I know of here is 260 kuai/night.

If you're here for a year, renting an apartment may be the best value for your money. I have a friend who lives in a big complex behind my hotel with a Chinese roommate, and I think their 2-BR apartment is 2400/month, so it's about 40/night for each of the two people living there. You get a LOT more space than in the dorm rooms. The location is not quite as convenient as living in the dorms, but it's only a 20-minute or so walk to class for her.

A few other things I would have liked to have known before I got here 1) you have to buy a card to use the library (and short-term students like me weren't even allowed to buy one!); 2) there's no free gym -- you have to pay to join it; 3) you should get a dining hall card as soon as possible after you register for class so you can eat conveniently in the very cheap dining hall that is to near the south gate. You have to get someone to show you where to buy the card; it's near the dining hall but I can't describe it easily.

4) There are MANY other places besides the dining hall where you can eat on campus for cash. Many of them are upstairs in the dining hall building. You don't need a student ID to eat at these restaurants, so just go on in.

5) No tipping! No one expects it -- not even the taxi drivers nor the restaurant staff.

6) I *highly* recommend buying the tapes (or CDs if they finally have them) that come with the textbooks. I think it's a great help in studying. The only drawback is that you might have to buy a tape player (or you could bring one, but remember the plugs are different so bring an adapter or plan to use batteries).

Good luck and have fun at BLCU!

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Phantim3dx

teachinator,

thanks so much for your insight. i was debating as to whether or not I would go and you've sparked my interest once more and given me that extra push. Much appreciated!.

Jay

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dumplings

hi!

i was wondering if u know much about the safety of the dorms and the apartments in china? have ur stuff ever got stolen?

i also have a few more questions, but i can not send u emails...and i dont know how to use this site at all.....

Kimi

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teachinator

Kimi,

I have only been here since September and have lived in a pretty good hotel the whole time, so I am a little more protected. I have never had anything taken. But I had the same kind of worry when I came. I bought one of those cable locks and I always lock my laptop to the desk in my room; however, I think this is probably not necessary. I asked another student who lives here and she never locks her laptop, and there's been no problem. But I do recommend getting a cable lock for peace of mind. There's a picture of one on this web page (chosen at random for having a clear picture):

http://www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=262319

I have another friend who lives in an apartment and she hasn't had any problems either, nor have I heard of any thefts from the dorm rooms this semester. However, there are signs all over the school warning you to watch your stuff, as well as never to do things like leaving your bookbag to save a place at a table! And I know someone who had his things taken when the "friend" who was supposed to be watching them wandered off. I think you can assume that "opportunistic" theft is very common, but it seems to me that break-in type theft is not as common. But that's just my observation based on a short time here.

I have also felt comfortable walking around, even at night, in heavily traveled areas. I've never had any concerns.

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shadopup

Beijing is quite a safe city actually. The dorms are fairly safe too but thefts have occured. I lived in building 1 on the 14th floor and one of my friend's had stuff stolen from his room because he forgot to lock his door. The thief didn't steal the laptop but stole smaller things like a cellphone and an electronic dictionary. I'd agree that actual breaks-in probably don't happen often but rather oportunistic ones. My crappy bike also got stolen but again I didn't have a proper lock on it. Getting a lock for your labptop and bike (if you buy one in china) and also locking up some other valuables in a drawer would be a good precaution.

There's usually somebody from the staff sitting at the front desk and in the elevator all day and while they won't bat an eyelash at any foreigner, anybody Asian that they don't recognize they will be suspicious of and ask them to sign in at the front desk. Not sure if some dorms are actually locked after midnight (building one is not locked but they shut the elevators off)

There was a murder in one of the apartment complexes near XiJiao hotel earlier this year but it wasn't a break-in...it was personal something like an exboyfriend killing his exgirlfriend, both foreigners.

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