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aimei

bclu student life--questions

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aimei

Hi there. I'm a college junior hoping to attend BCLU next year for a semester to further my Chinese fluency. The site did not have a lot of info about what the dorms/food/extra-curricular activities were like. Could anyone who has been there or currently there give me any info about these subjects? Xie xie!!

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free1609

aimei, I just completed a 12 weeks short term mandarin course at blcu in Dec 2005. The following information may assist you:

1. Accommodation.

Please read the latest forum topic " BLCU housing information, what i know". Both dorm 4 and 9 have been closed down for renovation ( may take 6 months). I strongly advise you to pre book ( may require payment) if you want to get into the new dorm at the west gate. It is nice.

2. food;

It is something you will never need to worry. There are several restaurants , japanese, korean, chinese, muslim restaurants, cafe, sandwich bar, students dining halls on the campus.

Also there are fruits shops, general provision shops on the campus. There are many other restaurants of all sorts within short working distance of the campus. Food is cheap. Enjoy.

3. extra c activities.

There are gyms, basketball courts, badmainton, tennis , karaoke rooms, martial arts, tai chi, yoga , running field etc on the campus. I am sure you will enjoy all the shopping and the bargaining experience ( bargain hard!) and shightseeings in beijing. There are clubs and karaoke etc within walking distance where students can go.

4. Students life on campus is good. It is like a mini united nations with students from all around the world. Many students are from korea and Japan. I have enjoyed my 3 months students life at blcu.

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aimei

Thanks you so much for the info Free, it was very helpful! Xiexie :)

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earendil31

How does one pre-book? I've heard/read that reserving space means almost nothing to the housing office....

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amandagmu

Yes, I'm curious on the pre-booking. FYI I know it's possible at the BLCU conference center. They are booked months in advance and had nothing available from mid-July -> end of October when I asked this summer.

I think the ISC (see my previous posting) may let you pre-book. I'm not entirely sure. I'm sure Mengxi and that other hotel I previously mentioned would let you do so --- for a bit more money and only if you can speak Chinese on the phone to them (find someone to do this for you, preferably a native Beijing speaker).

Amanda

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amandagmu

I forgot to add. For a less traumatic experience, especially if you're planning to arrive in the afternoon in Beijing and going straight to BLCU, I would book at least one night at one of the very close by (e.g. walkable) hotels - Mengxi, Xijiao, or BLCU conf center. This way, when you're ready to move into a dorm, apartment, or other place, you can easily pick up and move but won't have to worry if you can't find a place that first day (in fact, you can spend that day walking around and inspecting the dorms mentioned here, the other hotels, the student center, etc and pick what you want). Frankly, this is what I should have done and may do next time I go back. I will negotiate and find the best deal the first day or two I'm there.

Unfortunately, BLCU really is not trustworthy for reservations. Rooms can only be booked in person, the day you go to the office, and you usually have to make a decision on the spot. An American friend of mine booked a dorm room a month or two in advance for the summer session, but they mysteriously "lost" her reservation the day she showed up. Everything on campus was booked solid, and she ended up at the International Student Center with a random roommate - surprise, surprise with someone who had *exactly* the same thing happen to her 15 minutes earlier at the BLCU housing office.

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free1609

Hi, i thought i will post some further information re BLCU. Hopefully some may find the information helpful. I will find out the new dorm phone number and the process of pre-booking and post the information later. I suggest you should arrive at blcu if possible several days before your term starts for the reasons stated by amanda. I am sure it will be easier to get a room before every one turns up!

Taxi:

Blcu to down town –RMB30-40

Airport to blcu –RMB70-80

Use only taxi and it is advisable to get a receipt for reference just in case you leave something behind.

Light rail/subway:

Use light rail at wu dao kou (cost 2RMB and the station is about 500 m from west gate) to connect to subway (subway cost 3RMB). There are 2 subway lines (1 and 2 ) which will take you to most major shopping centres and places like tian an men etc. Buses are cheap and run frequently along cheng fu road (south gate). They are pretty packed though.

Phone cards

You will need to buy a sim card (eg china mobile, china unicom) and a 201 card to use with the fixed phone in your dorm room, an IC card to use with public phone. It is advisable to talk to the folks at the friendship store near the basketball courts and other students re prices and other options before you buy them. Phone cards are readily available along the road.

Friendship store near the basketball courts.

Folks are helpful. You can buy DVDs, electronic dictionaries, phone cards, stationaries, bottle water, some sporting goods etc. etc

Language partners

Many local students seek language partners. Language tutors cost 20/30RMB per hour. (eg see the notice board at the friendship store)

Laundry

There is a laundry service near the friendship store and one in front of the new dorm which provides dry cleaning services. Dorms have washing machines (require you to buy tokens) but no driers

Hair saloons

There are hair saloons on the campus. The cost is significantly cheaper than many western countries.

Water.

Large water bottle can be delivered to the dorm but you need to purchase a pump (30RMB) and pay about 50RMB deposit for the bottle ( refundable) eg from the folks at the fruits shop near the friendship store.

Book shops

There are book shops located at the library and south gate. Books/ dictionaries etc are much cheaper than western countries

Other facilities within the campus

There are newspapers/magazines stands, internet cafés (cost 4RMB/hr and cheaper if you use your own laptop), a post office, a bank (limited service), travel agents etc on the campus. If you want internet connected to your own room, you need to arrange it with the folks near the west gate. There are branches of bank of china within walking distance to the campus that provide a wider range of service. You can also exchange foreign cash at the small shop at the corner of change fu road and the old Southgate.

Finally, travel light to china. Enjoy your cheap shopping of everything (bargain hard! ) in China. Watch out for the traffic and enjoy the learning, food, sight –seeing, new friendship and cultural experience.

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free1609

BLCU - reserving a room in new dorm no 17.

I have obtained the following information if you want to reserve a room in the new dorm (xin jian liu xue sheng gong yu 17 lou) from overseas near the west gate.

service desk phone number is 82303216 , fax is 82308216

office number: 82303286 ( same number for fax)

I rang 82303286 this morning and spoke to the staff there. There is a miss guo in the office who can speak english, but i would recommend you have a fluent mandarin speaking person with you if you ring up and make any enquiries.

Clearly , you are able to reserve a room from overseas. You must pay 4 weeks deposit.

I would therefore suggest you fax your details , eg copy of course acceptance notice, date of arrival, your intended length of stay and whether you require single or share room to the office number 82303286 and ask for the correct procedure and the payment amount to reserve a room in the new dorm. As i understand it, they will then provide you with the necesary detail, eg banking /account details etc so that you can pay the 4 weeks deposit by telegraphic transfer. After you have made the payment you have to send copies of your payment receipt and student approval notice to the office.

Amanda makes comments about the unreliability of prebooking from oversea. I just wonder if a deposit was paid for the reservation. I would hope that if you have paid a 4 weeks deposit for reserving a room in the dorm then a room will be guaranteed on arrival.

clearly, the booking procedures and rates etc may change , it is important to know that you can reserve a room from overseas. The phone numbers above should help.

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earendil31

wonderful information, thanks. Although, it may be easier to do everything by fax, as my nearest mandarin fluent friend is currently 12k miles away heh

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amandagmu

I doubt a deposit was made. But, as you also pointed out, I bet you could do it with the help of a native speaker at hand to do the arrangements for you over the phone. They really aren't set up to help non-native speakers, even though they love to take foreigners' money.

I think it's great that you posted that helpful information about BLCU (where to buy things, etc). I'll add some of my own tidbits here as well. I think this would be a great way to let people know "all those things I wish I had known" ahead of time.

Internet.

Walk out the gate with the big yellow building, towards the towers with starbucks/subway in them (forgotten the name). On your left as you walk up a block or two is a yellow? sign on the side of one of the buildings for shang wang/ internet. Hard to find, but if you do, 3 kuai an hour for very fast, new machines with flat screen monitors, head phones. They have a bar and stuff. Something crazy like 600 computers in there. You can even get a frequent users card. Pretty obscure place, may have to ask around, but one of the few that was also air-conditioned (I was there in August).

Phone cards.

I bought cards to call home (the U.S.) from two different ladies right off the gate entrance next to the hospital (is that the south gate? I don't remember). They were 35 kuai for 100 kuai cards = 40-45 minutes. Dirt cheap if you ask me. Only problem? Figuring out how to use it. Despite what the card says... there are NOT instructions for English!! Get a native to help you (that's what I did) then write down the EXACT instructions and numbers to push in what order. It seemd to work for every card I bought with the same company name on it after that (china telecom? I don't remember...).

Groceries/ Water.

This depends on how you eat, really. Chaoshifa has some stuff. There is a much, much larger store close by, however. If you walk out what I believe is the main gate (the one with the big yellow building in front of it) and walk towards the towers with the starbucks and subway on it. That building also has a multi level store inside. The bottom floor is only beverages, etc, but walk upstairs.... they also have imported food and electronics. It was the only place very close to BLCU where I found you could actually purchase a coffeemaker that brewed REAL coffee as well as imported REAL coffee (I didn't actually do this, but if I moved back for a longer period of time I might). Also has lots of fruit, fresh items, bins of stuff for making trail mix, bakery, clothing, large selection of bath products. Bottom line: lots more than chaoshifa, but the prices aren't that different.

If you crave an even more diverse and better selection of food and items in a supermarket/walmart atmosphere (w/o going too far) then Carrefour ("Jia-le-fou") is on Zhongsan -- take the 307 towards Qinghua/WuDaoKou/Beida. After it makes a left onto Zhongsan pay attention and get off at the stop. Big sign for Carrefour. It's underground and also has other shops, Starbucks, yummy bakery, right outside the store itself. Taxi there would only cost 10-12 kuai. Could split it and save big. Carrefour is a french hypermarche chain. So you can expect some delicious REAL, yes folks, baguettes, breads, cookies, in their bakery. I visited just for the pain au chocolats and croissants.

Gym.

I went to Fusion on campus. 298 kuai for mid-July-> late August. Ask about their specials. They have decent equipment compared to most gyms I saw (read: it wasn't 25 years old), though, not compared to those that cost more off campus. The ones that are nice off campus may cost heaps more, but I think it may actually be worth it, if you're a gym rat like me (you like nice equipment, personal TVs on cardio equipment, and aerobics classes). Next time I go back I do plan to some price checking... not sure Fusion is worth it for a longer stay. Here's what I normally did: after class and before lunch I headed there for 45 or more minutes on the treadmill, core work (stability ball), other days up to an hour on the exercise bike. They had small towels, lockers with keys and showers downstairs, so I could work out then go eat and to the tutor, all within a couple hundred yards. Biggest caveat was hearing "kongtiao huai le" nearly every day this summer (a/c is broken). Biggest extra perk: free internet. If you go in the middle of the day the computer is usually available. (Just don't spend more than 20 minutes on it if someone else is waiting--great way to check e-mails, but not great way to tool around on the internet.)

Hospital/Medicine.

The good and the bad. As someone from the U.S. who is used to buying over the counter meds without a problem, I found this to be a hassle. I got an upper respitatory infection/cold three weeks into my trip. For mild symptoms, visit one of the numerous Watson's in the city (there's a good one inside the Oriental Plaza/ Wang fujing). They don't have anything heavy duty (Nyquil/Dayquil) but they do have sore throat and cough drops imported, and other stuff you can actually read. Unfortunately, mine URI got worse. I had to visit the hospital for BLCU. Here's the process for those that don't speak much Chinese. This will save you a lot of time:

- go to the south (?) gate where the restaurants/xi jiao is near. Right on that street with all the construction is a little, old building with the characters for hospital (yiyuanr 医院 - I believe). Ask someone "yiyuanr zai na li?" if you can't find it

- inside the building. Go to the end of the hall. There are two windows. One is the pharamacy, one the reception. Go to the non-pharamacy-looking window and tell them "wo bing le" (I'm sick), describe symptoms if you can (wo you ganmao - I have a cold is I think what I said) or show them, cough or something. They give you a piece of paper with a name on it.

- walk back down the hall you first walked down, these are the doctors offices. find the doctor you were assigned to. When they examine you they'll ask your name, age, id etc, symptoms, and look at you for a few minutes. Then prescribe you stuff.

- take prescription to pharamacy window. Pharamacist will write how many pills/ times per day on each thing they give you. Unfortunately, it's all herbal medicine which means I took 16 pills a day.

- if you're still sick, there are western hospitals in the city. This is why I previously recommended the That's Beijing Insider's Guide -- it lists these with phone numbers and addresses.

I'll keep adding when I think of more. This is a good thread.

Amanda

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aimei

Is the conference center affiliated with the university? Are the rooms the size of an average dorm room in the US, and are they modern and clean? Thanks!

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free1609

Aimei,

Sorry i really have no idea what is the average dorm size in the usa. Australian here, hehe.

But i can tell that the single room in the new dorm 17 is big enough ( it can accommodate 2 single beds, 2 study tables, with 2 built in cabinets, bath room, toilet, fridge, etc.) Don't worry , you will find it big enough!

I was told that the new dorn 17 and the conference centre are run differently from the other dorms, but i can't tell you exactly what it is.

I have posted information regarding new dorm 17 under the heading " blcu housing info " , please read. If you want a single room, i will recommend you to book into the new dorm 17. Its single room is much bigger than the single room in the conference centre.

Essentially, the single room in the conference centre is purpose built whereas the single room in the new dorm 17 is the same size as a double room but you pay more for the privilege to live by youeself.

Happy new year.

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aimei

Thank you so much, this info is so helpful! Btw my real name is Alex. Xiexie Free!

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adrianlondon

What an excellent idea. Anyone got access to the apart-hotel dorms in BNU, and a digital camera?

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xcode

Can anyone advise me whether it is possible to stay at BLCU dorm while not studying at BLCU ?

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jodelia

all of you who have contributed to all these questions- thank you. I was stressing out about arriving at BLCU in February but I must say you have all made me feel much calmer. I have a few questions though about the Conference Centre Hotel. I am going on a CSC scholarship and was wondering if anyone knows whether this means i can pay extra and stay there instead of the cheap accommodation that is offered, or what the deal is? The CCH seems to be the nicest accommodation, is this a fair assessment? is it really anti-social though? Any ex- or current CSC students out there?

Thanks!

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amandagmu

The atmosphere at the conference center from the summer was not at all like a dorm, much more like a hotel.

By the way, if you haven't already booked it, I highly doubt they'll have rooms for the conference center. They usually get booked several months ahead of time. Just FYI. At this point I would try for one of these new dorms people are talking about.

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jodelia

thanks so much for the tip. I''ll try and book at one of the hostels (dorms), thank you!

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free1609

jodelia,

i would recommend you to book a room in the new dorm 17. It is new and nice. The standard of the other dorms are not anywhere near to the new dorm 17.

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