If you are going to study at BLCU, you are probably considering to live on campus in a student dormitory or rent an apartment nearby. There are different types of dormitories for international students with different prices, here I’m not going to talk about the costs and details, I want just share my experience of housing in Beijing and introduce both on and off campus life.  What I write here are mostly about dormitory building No.4, however, some information maybe the same in all dorms. You can find details and prices about BLCU housing on BLCU Accommodation Booking.

Location

Building No.4 is just located in the southwest of the Yifu building and near the south gate.

map

Facilities

Central Heating

It is very cold in Beijing, especially for the students who are coming from warmer countries. The rooms which are only equipped with central heating may not be very comfortable for such students. Since it is usually tuned on in November and again turned off soon in March.

Air Conditioner

The rooms which have air conditioner are more comfortable since you can adjust the temperature of the room both in winter and summer. It can heat in winter and cool in summer. However in some dorms they do not give you the remote control of the air conditioner all the year.

Kitchen

There are kitchens in all dorms, however not all dorms have one or two kitchen in each floor. Usually there are not so many students willing to cook in the dorms, so you won’t see the line of students for using electric cookers. Each kitchen is equipped with a microwave, one or two electric cook and sinks. Other cooking equipments you need to buy by yourself.

kitchen microwave

Laundries

There are laundries (two washing machines and one dryer machine) in each floor usually inside the kitchen. For using them you need to buy coins which costs 4 Yuan, and you need to use one coin per wash and two coins per drying. These coins can be bought from the reception in the first floor.

laundries laundries

Bath

Bath is a very important factor to consider when you are choosing your dorm. Having a bath in your own room means a lot of comfort. You don’t need to get out of the room each time just for the bath and you can save a lot of time on it. Additionally public bathrooms are not usually very clean.

Internet

If you want to access to the internet from your room, you can buy the internet card (网络卡) from the supermarket inside the campus or any news-stands around BLCU. There are two kinds of internet cards, one is 1 MB and the price is 80 Yuan, the other one is 2 MB and costs 120 Yuan. You can choose each of them depending on your need.

There is also another internet service which calls Cernet Internet. The office is just located near to the southwest gate. It has three types of services. 1-day service 10 RMB, 15-days 80 RMB and 30-days 120 RMB. They also provide modem which costs 120 Yuans.

Other facilities in the Rooms

Other facilities include; TV, refrigerator, desk, bed, book shelf, chair, telephone, desk lamp, electric kettle and etc.

general facilities

Services

Services are very good in the dorms, servants empty bins each morning and sometimes they wash the bathroom. The bedding is washed every week. If there is anything impaired in your room (for example the lamp or desk lamp or electric kettle is not working), just call the reception and they will repair it for you or give you a new one. In addition, water, electricity and the gas are free in dormitories.

Regulations

The regulations may be different from dorm to dorm. International students have cards and are able to open the dorm gate every hour in the day or even at midnight, but for the visitors there is limitation and they are not allowed in after 22. Before 10 at night foreign visitors can enter the dorms by leaving their student or ID card to the reception.

Other regulations include not using electric machines in the rooms for example using ovens, vacuum cleaners and other electric devices are forbidden in the rooms for more safety. Another thing you should know is that when you leave the room and take out your electric card, all the electricity in the room will be automatically disconnected except the one for the refrigerator. Do not use the refrigerator’s outlet for other devices because they will check it frequently.

Renting apartment

It is strongly recommended for the new comers to live on campus at least for the first semester. It is safer for the foreigners who are new to China. In addition, you will be more in touch with your classmates and other students while staying in a student dormitory. However, there may be situations which you need to live off campus. On the other hand, booking accommodation in BLCU is not really easy. There are not enough rooms for all the students to live in the campus. Scholarship students would be given a room automatically but for the students who applies by their own there is not much chance to book a room in the international student dormitories, unless apply it through CUCAS.

Furthermore you should know that BLCU do not allow the students of the different sex to live together on campus. So if you are married or wishing to live with your boy or girl friend, then renting a house would be the only option.

Consider to live in a hotel for some days in order to have enough time to look for your desired house. The prices near BLCU are very high due to the number of international students willing to rent houses around BLCU. So you can’t find an apartment cheaper that 3000 Yuans. If your budget is tight then you can choose shared apartments which are very cheaper. You can find one by only 2000 Yuans.

My experience of renting apartment in Beijing

When I first arrived at Beijing, I had no Idea of how should I rent the apartment, where should it be, I did not know what the regulations would be like and how much the renting fee would be. I just referred to the real estate agency in the Fu Run Jia Yuan Community. They asked me what kind of apartment I am looking for and how much money I am considering for the renting fee. Firstly he took me to see an apartment which was on the 7th floor with no elevator. In my country apartments up to 4 floor would have elevators. Then he took us to the Cheng Hua Yuan Community which is not very close to the university, but there are many students from BLCU living there. There are also some apartments near Wudaokou subway station. By walking it would take about 20 minutes from home to university.  It is more convenient to go by bicycle. You can also take the bus, there is a bus station near nearby. When looking for a room you should consider different factors, for example apartments with electric water heaters would increase your costs since electricity is much more expensive than the gas in China. So here I spend more than 300 Yuans per month for electricity. My apartment is 56 square meters with no bedrooms and furnished with new fittings. I pay 4100 Yuans per month. I think I could have found a better apartment with a better price if I had more time and experience.

There are some real estate agencies about 200 meters from the east gate to the left, on the opposite side of the university. There may be only a few or even no people in real estates who can speak English.  However they may find somebody to understand you but it is not really wise to look for a house in Beijing alone as you are a foreigner with no Chinese knowledge. So you’d better to ask a Chinese friend to help you.

Be careful! Since you are a foreigner and are not familiar with the prices and regulations, some agencies may want to mislead you. Do not believe everything they say. Try to bargain as much as you can because the price they offer is surely higher than the real price. However it is normal for the price to be a little bit higher for the foreigners than the price for the Chinese themselves. You should also pay one month renting fee to the agency. Try to pursue the landlord to pay it or at least to take half of it. The renting house leases are usually one year contracts and landlords usually do not accept shorter periods. Furthermore the hiring fee would be higher for short periods. In most cases in China you should pay the renting fee on a three months basis which means you should pay the renting fee of each three months in advance. However you can talk about another type of payment with the landlord.

Tips:

 In Beijing houses which are facing to the south are better. Because there is a pleasant cool breeze which blows from the south to the north and in winter the freezing wind blow from north to the south. Therefore These house would be cool in summer and warmer in winter.

 

Therefore, when you are signing a one year lease you should pay the agency’s fee and one month renting fee as the deposit and the first three month’s renting fee. Some landlords would ask you to pay renting fee 1 month earlier. You don’t have to agree; try to pursue him/her to decrease it to 3 days earlier or at the most one week. If they asked you for foreign taxes, do not accept, since it is usually included in the renting fee and usually landlords should pay it themselves. Read the lease carefully. The lease is in Chinese, an English translation may also be available. Read it part by part and then sign it.

So allocate time for finding the room, do not hurry, there are many chip hotels near BLCU which you can stay for 1 or two weeks, so that you have enough time to buy a sim card and call your friends which can help you to find the best option or at least inform you if the renting prices offered by agencies are reasonable or not.  Also, there are many empty apartments around the campus which you can choose from.  Wish you a good accommodation in Beijing.