On-Campus Living: How to Choose the Right Dorm

Choosing the right university dormitory is a crucial decision for international students studying in China. Your accommodation plays a significant role in your overall college experience, affecting everything from your comfort and convenience to your ability to make new friends. In this article, we’ll discuss the various dormitory options available to international students in China and provide some tips on making the best choice.

Dormitories are generally reserved for students who are enrolled in a full degree. If you’re a non-degree student (for example, if you’re studying a Chinese language. foundation or seasonal program), it’s likely that on-campus living won’t be an option. But don’t worry, we have plenty to share on how to find off-campus living.

READ MORE: Get Your Copy! Moving to China: International Student’s Guidebook

Understanding Dormitory Options

Dormitories are generally reserved for students are enrolled in a full degree.  are given the first option to choose dormitory. As an international student in China, you’ll typically have several dormitory options to choose from, depending on your university’s offerings. Your first choice may not always be available, but try to make the best of what you do get. Your worries will rarely manifest!

Let’s explore the most common types of dormitories:

International Students Dormitory

The most common and widely available option for international students is the International Students Dormitory. These dorms typically offer a room with an ensuite bathroom. You may have the choice between a double room (shared with a roommate) or a single room, some of which may come with balconies. The pricing may vary depending on the specific building and room type, although single rooms tend to cost a little more.

Apartment (Suite-Style) Dormitory

Some universities offer suite-style dormitories, which consist of small apartment blocks with common areas like a dining room, shared bathrooms, a kitchen, and a balcony. These apartments usually house several students, either in double or single rooms within the same unit. While these can be more affordable due to shared facilities, they also provide a great space for socializing and studying with roommates.

Whether you opt for a regular dormitory with individual rooms or a suite style dormitory, you will often get a choice between a double room or a single room. Here’s what to consider:

Double (Shared) Rooms

Shared rooms, typically double rooms, offer some compelling benefits to new international students. Sharing a room can help you save money and provide an opportunity to make friends right from the start. The university usually does a good job of separating the space to ensure privacy. If you choose this option, discuss with your roommate how to divide the space and consider using room dividers for additional privacy if needed.

Single Rooms

Opting for a single room in an international dormitory offers maximum privacy and independence. However, there are some drawbacks, such as the higher cost and potentially limited availability. Single rooms are in high demand, and senior students often get priority. It’s a good idea to consider starting with a shared room and requesting a single room later if necessary.

Image: CCTV

Tips for Choosing the Right Dormitory

💰 Consider Your Budget

Your budget will play a significant role in your choice of dormitory. Single rooms tend to be more expensive than shared rooms. Be sure to factor in the cost of accommodation when planning your finances for your stay in China.

🤗 Balance Privacy and Socializing

While having a single room offers privacy, it may limit your opportunities to make friends initially. Consider starting with a shared room to meet new people and switch to a single room later if needed.

⏳ Availability Matters

Single rooms are in high demand, so it’s possible that they might not be available when you apply for accommodation. Be prepared to adapt and make the best choice among the available options.

💬 Communicate with Your Roommate

If you choose a shared room, open communication with your roommate is essential. Discuss how you’ll divide the space and set boundaries to ensure a comfortable living arrangement.

🏢 Explore Suite-Style Dorms

If available, suite-style dormitories can provide a balanced experience. They offer shared spaces for socializing and the privacy of your room.

📅 Book Early

Accommodation on campus can fill up quickly. As soon as you know you’ve been accepted at the university, inquire about the accommodation booking process and secure your spot.

International student dorm at University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC). Image: MinYoung via University of Nottingham Blog

Pricing Guidelines

While prices may vary between universities and regions, here are some approximate costs based on our experiences:

  • Shared room in an apartment: Around 5,500 RMB per semester.
  • Single room in a shared apartment: Approximately 7,000 RMB per semester.
  • Double room in a normal ensuite International dormitory: About 8,000 RMB per semester.
  • Single room in a normal ensuite International dormitory: Close to 10,000 RMB per semester.

As you can see, there’s a few things to think about when it comes to choosing the right university dormitory in China, including your budget, social preferences, and availability when making your choice. By carefully assessing your options and following these tips, you can find the ideal accommodation that suits your needs and enhances your time as an international student in China. Don’t be dismayed if you don’t get your first choice, you are bound to have a great on-campus experience regardless. If you find yourself uncomfortable with your living situation, your university can always help to find a solution you are happy with. If you have any specific questions about dormitories, feel free to ask your university for guidance.

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Kay is a marketing assistant at China Admissions. A "third-culture kid" based in Thailand, she has had lifelong exposure to international communities and has worked with top global brands. Having studied abroad herself, she encourages young minds to invest in their self-development and foster an appreciation for new countries and cultures.
Kay Marlowe

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