PKU Campus Life Shenzhen FAQ


(1) Getting Settled at PKU Shenzhen
 
(2) Living on Campus
 
(3) Housing and Dining
 
(4) Living in Shenzhen
 
(5) Getting Around


Getting Settled at PKU Shenzhen
 
How do I register?
All students need to register at the PKU Shenzhen Education Administration on the designated day of registration. You must be present on the day of your registration; no one can do it on your behalf. If you cannot be present for registration, please fill a leave request form and submit it to your school for approval. Students who don’t register within one month of the beginning of classes without approval will be dismissed from the school. You will receive information on online course registration from your school during orientation. 
 
What is included in orientation?
PKU Shenzhen offers a campus life orientation lasting about one week. Your school will also provide an academic orientation. PKU Shenzhen staff and your school’s staff will assist you with school registration, applying for your campus card and applying for your resistance permit. We will organize a campus tour, a Chinese language survival course for beginners, a trip to Ikea and go on some cultural excursions in Shenzhen. We will also assist you with buying a metro/bus card and familiarize you with the metro and buses that serve campus.

What do I need to do to get my student ID?  Library card?
After registration, you will receive both your student ID number and your campus card. Your campus card has many functions including bank service. University Town campus cards are managed by Ping An Bank. In addition to serving as a bank card, it has as a campus account that can be used for payment at all University Town cafeterias and convenience stores. The campus card also serves as a library card and is linked with your campus internet account.

How can I open my personal bank account?
Your campus card is linked with Ping An Bank personal bank account. Shenzhen University Town has a partnership with Ping An Bank and there is a Ping An Bank on campus. You are also welcome open a personal bank account outside of campus. You will be required to present your passport to the bank when opening an account. There are also several foreign banks around campus (HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citi Bank). You will find their addresses and directions in the Campus Guide given to every PKU Shenzhen student at the beginning of the year as well as on the PKU Shenzhen website.  

Do I need to buy medical insurance?
Yes. All students of Peking University are required to be medically insured throughout their entire period of study (for students enrolled for more than 6 months) by a local Chinese insurance company. PKU Shenzhen recommends purchasing the Comprehensive Insurance Plan of Foreign Students provided by Ping An Insurance Company (recognized and recommended by the Chinese Ministry of Education), which covers accidental injuries and hospitalization - but not outpatient care. For more information on insurance visit our insurance webpage.
 
Should I exchange money before I get to China? Will I be able to use ATMs? Should I take traveler’s checks?
We recommend that you open a checking account at a bank in China once you settle down at the university and transfer money to this account. Your campus card is automatically linked with a bank account and serves as a debit card. CNY (RMB) is the only legal currency in mainland China. You may convert most of the world currencies at any Bank of China branch in Shenzhen.

If you have an international credit card belonging to either the Mastercard or the Visa network, you can withdraw RMB at any ATM belonging to those networks. The transaction fee will depend your bank. There is a Bank of China ATM and Ping An Bank ATM located on campus besides Mirror Lake. Travelers’ checks in USD are accepted by many Chinese banks but the procedure to cash them is very lengthy. It can take a month to cash Travelers’ check, so we do not recommend that you use this method. For more information visit our Banking and Money webpage.
 
 
Living on Campus

Can I join a sports team? Can I join a Chinese student club for volunteer activities?
You are encouraged and welcome to join any of the 36 student associations at PKU Shenzhen and to take part in all the events organized by the school. Student associations include rowing, golf, rugby, English language school newspaper and dance, just to name a few. In addition, you will be informed by email or through PKU Shenzhen website of the events organized by the school. To join or set up an association, please contact the Student Affairs Office (H Building 102B). You can find on this website a list of all the Student Associations.

Are there sports facilities on campus?
Yes, Sport facilities include a gym, ping-pong tables, badminton courts, pool tables, tennis courts, a track and field, a football field and basketball courts. The new University Town Sports Center also includes a swimming pool, gym, tennis courts and basketball courts. For detailed information on the sports facilities, hours and membership costs, visit our athletics page. Student associations (football, basketball, rugby, golf, rowing, etc) often organize activities open to all students.

Is there campus security? Is the campus in a safe location?
Yes, University Town and PKU Shenzhen are gated with 24 hour security. All campus entrances and dormitory buildings have security guards on duty 24 hours. In addition, the campus card only allows residents to enter dormitory buildings. Any visitors are required to register with the security guard in the lobby.
 
The campus is located in the suburbs of Shenzhen. The campus is primarily surrounded by the Shenzhen zoo, a golf course and other natural areas. There are some small villages nearby campus where you should beware of petty theft. Campus is highly secure, but you should beware of theft. Always lock your dormitory doors and take care of your belongings.

Can I take Chinese language classes?
Yes, PKU Shenzhen provides a beginner, intermediate and advanced Chinese course to its international students and faculty, free of charge. Classes are typically once a week for two hour sessions in the evenings. These classes are not extensive, but they will introduce you to the language or continue your language study. You can also request to be paired with a Chinese volunteer tutor to work with you one-on-one. Orientation includes a “Survival Chinese” crash course for beginners. 

Do international students have any student counselors? Is there any international student’s office on campus? Whom should I turn to if I have questions or difficulties?
All schools have staff members in the main administrative offices trained to help with student issues. The School of Transnational Law and HSBC Business School have staff members specifically to serve the needs of international students. Please feel free to turn to them for any questions or difficulties. For school wide issues or problems that cannot be resolved by your individual school, please contact the International Affairs Manager for PKU Shenzhen, Megan Mancenido (Tel: 2603-3261, megan@pkusz.edu.cn).
 
Are there winter and summer holidays? Can I stay in my dorm room?
All students have a winter holiday for Chinese New Year in January and February. The break lasts for about one month in between semesters. The summer holiday is from late June until early September. You are welcome to stay in your dorm room over the winter holidays and over summer holidays after your first year( provided you pay for your room for your 2nd year). You can view the 2014-2015 academic schedule here.

Can I travel on my own in China during the holidays?
Yes. You are free to visit China, alone, with friends or with your family. Some areas/regions are under strict control at some periods, you should make sure that no part of your trip covers restricted areas and obtain prior approval from the Chinese authorities.

Can I have an internship in China during my holidays?
Your student visa doesn’t permit you to do paid work in China, whether full-time or part-time job or an internship. You can, however, apply to work on campus. The jobs available on campus are working as a student reporter/editor for the school newspaper, teaching assistant, research assistant or having an internship in an administrative office.

Can I invite my family members and friends to come to China during my holiday? How can I help them to get the visa?
To apply for a visa on behalf of your family members (spouse and children younger than 18), you are required to submit the required documents to Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Department. The procedure will be assisted by your school’s administration. Your friends and other family members can apply by themselves at a Chinese embassy or consulate. Your family cannot stay with you in the dormitories, but you can find a visit of nearby hotels for your family here.

 
Housing and Dining
 
Does PKU Shenzhen offer housing for international students? How do I apply for it?
We offer single room dormitories on campus for all students at PKU Shenzhen. If you choose to live off campus, we can assist you in providing information on housing areas in Shenzhen, but we do not provide off-campus housing for students.

What will my dorm room be like? Should I bring my own blankets and sheets?
On campus dormitories include a private bathroom with a western style toilet and a balcony.  All dorm rooms are equipped with basic furnishings: a single bed, dresser, desk, chair and bedside table. The first floor of the dormitory has a laundry room with washing machines and a dryer. For a better picture of our campus and dormitories, peek into current international student rooms and take our 3D Tour.

You will be asked to provide your own bedding. Basic bedding is available at the campus shops or you can bring your own bedding with you. Student orientation will also include a shopping to trip to the nearby Ikea where you can buy everything you might need for your room.

I’m a married student; can I live on campus with my spouse?
Dormitories are reserved for PKU Shenzhen students only. If you and your spouse are both enrolled, we can arrange a shared room for you. If your spouse is not a student, he or she cannot live in the dorms with you. We can provide basic assistance on living off campus, but you will ultimately be responsible for arranging your own off campus housing.

Is wifi on campus and in the dorms?
Yes, the University Town’s wifi network covers the entire campus, including the classrooms, the library and the dormitories and costs 20 RMB per month. Once a student has received his/her username and password, the internet will be available for use on a 24-hour basis.
 
The campus is also covered by the CMCC network by China mobile (excluding dormitory 5), which you can access by registering your China mobile cell phone number. The CMCC network costs 1 RMB per 100 minutes.

Can I take my electronics? Will I be able to use my laptop?
You can use your own electronics in China, and the majority of the plugs fit several countries standards, including Europe and the United States. The voltage is 220V; you will need an adapter if the voltage in your own country is different. Electronics such as laptops and smart phones often have a built in converter. Smaller electronics such as hair dryers and razors will require a separate converter. It is recommended to buy smaller electronics in China as it is often cheaper than buying an international converter.

How early can I get in the student dormitories?
Since you have 30 days after your entry in China to obtain a residence permit and that the procedure to apply takes about 20 days, please do not come to China ahead of time. You will be welcome in the dormitories a couple days before the registration day. The Campus Service Center is open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 12:30pm and from 2:00pm to 6:00pm.

What are the food options on Campus? Is there non-Chinese food available? Are there Muslim and Kosher food options?
There are dining halls and restaurants on campus (a meal costs between 7 and 25 RMB) four restaurants including Subway sandwich restaurant and an American style pizza restaurant. In addition to restaurants on campus, there are typical Chinese urban villages adjacent to the campus where you can eat local noodles and Chinese BBQ. 

There is a 'Halal and Kosher food' counter on the second floor of the dining hall. You can also find Chinese Muslim Uygur restaurants and BBQ around campus and in Shenzhen.
 
 
Living in Shenzhen

I’ve never heard of Shenzhen, what is the city like?
PKU Shenzhen is a diverse and globally-conscious campus in the thriving entrepreneurial city of Shenzhen. Thirty years ago, Shenzhen was a fishing village of little more than 20,000 inhabitants. Today, this Special Economic Zone is leading China’s modernization and development movement with a population of over 14 million. Located in Guangdong, the most vibrant province in China, Shenzhen is adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau, and only one hour by train from Guangzhou (Canton). Shenzhen also has growing expatriate community. You can find many international restaurants, shopping malls and grocery stores in Shenzhen. 

Is it easy to buy things in Shenzhen? Are there international brand stores?
You will be able to find many international brand stores, such as Ikea, H&M, UniQlo, Decathlon, etc. You will be able to find almost everything you need in Shenzhen, so there is no reason to over pack. For more information on what to pack for China see our Packing list.  

What kind of clothing should I take?
Shenzhen climate is sub-tropical, very hot and wet in summer, with frequent storms and abundant rainfall, while humidity makes winters rather cold, even if the thermometer rarely drops below 11 (51F). Spring and autumn are the best seasons with temperature varying between 29-36C (80-95F).

Can my use my cell phone in China?
You can use a Chinese SIM card in most cell phones. During orientation, you will receive a free China Mobile SIM card that can use used with prepaid phone cards. However, you may need to unlock your phone to be able to use it internationally. SIM cards are very cheap and most people buy prepaid phone cards, which are available at most stores. You can also buy a monthly pre-paid 3G plan for smart phones.

What is there do to in Shenzhen?
As a young city, Shenzhen lacks the cultural sites of Beijing and Shanghai, but has many hiking opportunities, city parks and beaches to explore as well as a growing expatriate community. See the PKU Shenzhen website for directions to popular tourist sites. Shenzhen is still growing at a rapid rate; new restaurants, shops and bars are constantly opening. You can find out what events are happening in Shenzhen in the expatriate magazine That’s PRD. Copies of That’s PRD are distributed for free on campus every month. The online websites Shenzhen Party and Shenzhen Stuff also list events.

 
Getting Around
 
How will we be able to get around town? Are taxis affordable? Are buses easy to use if you don’t understand Chinese?
Shenzhen has a large network of buses and 7 subway lines. The closest subway station is 25 minutes away on foot from campus and a bus stop serving the city center 10 minutes away on foot. While it can seem overwhelming to navigate public transportation at first, the increasing use of English makes it very accessible. The subway is very modern, practical and all directions are indicated both in Chinese and English. The radios on most buses and all subways announce the stops in both Chinese and English and most major bus stops are written in English or Pinyin.  

Taxis are also very convenient and relatively inexpensive, and easier to take than a bus, provided that you hand the address of your destination written in Chinese to the driver. PKU Shenzhen being close to several natural sites however, traffic is not as heavy as in downtown; consequently taxis are also scarce around the campus. You can see a map of transportation around the campus and a map of Shenzhen subway on the PKU Website.

We provide students and faculty with all the information they need to navigate the Shenzhen transportation system during the first few weeks of their arrival, organize trips and shopping days in Shenzhen and help them with all their transportation-related issues.

Is it easy to travel to Hong Kong?
If you go to the border by car, it is about 30-40 minutes. There are 5 border checkpoints that associable by the metro, bus, or ferry. It takes about 1 hour by metro to the border and then about another hour by subway to central Hong Kong. There is also a ferry and direct coach buses that (also about one hour) to central Hong Kong. Depending on the day and time you visit the border, it can take 20 minutes to 2 hours to pass through customs. For more information on transportation to Hong Kong visit the PKU Shenzhen website. While for most nationalities a visa is not required for Hong Kong, some nationalities are required to have a Hong Kong visa. Be sure to check with the Hong Kong consulate.