Living in Suzhou

Learning Mandarin

In Suzhou, courses in this programme are conducted in English. International students however, are offered Hanyu language (Mandarin) and culture courses which are taught by skilled language teachers who can also communicate in English.

Climate

Suzhou, a city of just over 8 million inhabitants, is the historic silk capital of China. It is about 20 minutes’ train journey northwest of Shanghai. Being an integral part of the Yangtze River Delta area, the city has a rich history dating back more than 2,500 years. It is the home of Sun Zi, and the setting for his Art of War philosophy and book. European explorer Marco Polo called Suzhou "the Venice of China." The Chinese call it "Paradise on Earth."

Suzhou is located in a subtropical monsoon zone, so the weather is mild and moist with four distinct seasons. To learn more about Suzhou, visit www.suzhou.gov.cn/English/index.shtml

Dushu Lake Higher Education Town

Dushu Lake Higher Education Town, within DuShu Lake Science, Education and Innovation District is located at the lakeside of Dushu Lake in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP). It is the first higher education internationalization model area in China. Its development model is based on the principles of strong government support, extension of higher education provision by existing providers, market-orientation collective out-sourcing of logistical support and professional management. It employs the successful experience of a foreign higher education town as reference. It adopts infrastructure sharing, an open campus concept, a mutual integration mode of urban planning, development and construction. It aims to construct a Higher Education Town that is first-class in high-tech talent training as well as research.

Since 2002, Suzhou DuShu Lake Science, Education and Innovation District has been gradually developing into a modernized new district based on the collaborative model of education, research, social and emerging industries. The District now has educational institutions that value collaboration, with high-level talented administrators leading the way forward. Suzhou DuShu Lake Science, Education and Innovation District has attracted 24 universities and one national research institute to set up campuses. These educational institutions operate with a total of 75,300 students and 4,735 staff (teaching and non-teaching); comprising 46 training institutions, which educate more than 45,000 people each year. In total, 191 research and development institutions and platforms (35 at provincial level), 4 national level incubators and 5 provincial level incubators have been set up. More than 14,000 patent applications have been put forth, of which 75% relate to invention.

WenXing Plaza Student Village

WenXing Plaza is the centre for student village life where all daily student needs including student accommodation may be found. There you can find banks and ATM machines, supermarkets, canteens, pharmacies, post office, fast food outlets, newspaper stands, hotels, etc.

Places To Eat

There is a student canteen on the 1st floor of Wenxing Plaza, and a food court with a selection of Chinese food eateries on the 2nd floor of Wenxing Plaza. There are also a number of restaurants, and fast food restaurants (McDonald and KFC), and coffee houses within walking distance.

Dushu Lake Library

The beautiful Suzhou Dushu Lake Library is an integrated and modern digital library. It has 1.5 million digital books, 600,000 traditional books, 30,000 digital periodicals, 1 million research papers, and more than 10,000,000 library indexes. Free WIFI is available on the second floor in the library.

Dushu Lake Gym

The Gym has modern indoor facilities for basketball, badminton, billiards, table tennis, taekwondo, a fitness center, aerobics room, cycling, swimming pool, tennis courts, rock climbing, squash and chess facilities. It also has an outdoor stadium approximating 6,000 sq m for basketball, volleyball, tennis and badminton courts and soccer fields, etc.

Public Transport

Buses

Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District runs an efficient free bus service. The district is serviced by a good public bus transport system with buses on the 178, 146, 118, 142, 218, 812, 228, 128, 16 and 110 routes. Bus fares vary depending on the season.

Suzhou Metro

Two metro lines are in operation in Suzhou, and there are two metro stations of Line 2 nearby; just 10-minute walking distance from the dormitory to Songtao Street Station or Jingu Road Station.

Taxis

Taxi service is popular in China. Students can easily find a taxi on the street.

Shopping

Nearby supermarkets are located at Auchan, Century-Mart and Carrefour at LouFeng. There is a free bus services schedule to Century-Mart and Carrefour.

Accommodation

Dushu Lake Science, Education and Innovation District provides comfortable accommodation for international students. The dormitory consists of 4-person or 6-person rooms with separate bathroom, basic furniture, telephone, air conditioning, Internet and other facilities. Located at the southeast corner of the education town, the dormitory provides 24-hour hot water supply and has indoor facilities for common use such as electromagnetic oven and refrigerator. The information desk at Block C offers 24-hour check-in or check-out services. Sport facilities such as basketball and badminton courts are situated on the north and south sides of the dormitory.

Hospitals

There is a hospital in the Higher Education Town, close to GIST International College, at No 388 Linquan Street. Another hospital nearby is under construction.

Pharmacies

China has strict rules on the import of medicines and not all drugs commonly prescribed to westerners will be readily available. You are allowed to bring small amount of prescription drugs into the country in your personal baggage. You should bring a copy of your prescription with you as customs officers may need to check it. Chinese medicine is of course popular and Chinese remedies are readily available from the many stores in the city.

Police Station

There is a police station right next to WenHui Plaza. If students need police assistance to resolve any issue, there is an on-duty team available all day long.

Banking

The closest bank branch is the ICBC Bank at Multi-purpose Building. The bank business hours are 9:00am to 4:00pm, from Monday to Friday.

Cash and Credit Card

Credit cards are not popular or commonly used in China. Most restaurants on campus do not accept credit cards. Government authorities, for example, medical check-up and residency permit application, only accept cash transactions. Therefore, students are advised to bring enough cash for their stay in China.

Voltage, Frequency and Plug/Outlet Type

Electricity in China is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If your device does not accept 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.

Plug Adapters and Outlet Shapes

Outlets in China generally accept two types of plug:

If your appliances plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter.

Immigration

You are responsible for maintaining your immigration status and obeying immigration regulations while studying in China. Check your immigration documents to make sure they are in order. Write down when your visa needs to be renewed so you can remain in China without interruption.

Visa

A valid student visa gives you the right to stay in the country while you study. If you are accepted into a programme with a less than six months duration, you can apply for a short term visa – Visa F Type. If your programme duration is exceeds six months, student visa – Visa X Type – must be obtained.

Residency Permit with Visa Type X

When you enter China with Visa X, you must within 30 days report to the local authority to obtain a residency permit. A medical report is required to apply for a residency permit. Therefore, students must first report to the authorized medical check-up center for a medical check. If students already performed medical checks overseas and the medical report is recognized by the local authority, local medical check-up is not required.

Residency Permit with Visa Type F

If you enter China with Visa F, you are not able to apply for residency permit, thus no medical check-up is required. Generally, Visa F is a "single entry" visa - once you leave the country, you will have to re-apply for another visa for reentry.

Residency Permit with Visa Type L

If you enter China with Visa L, you must within 30 days report to the local authority to obtain a residency permit. A medical report is required to apply for a residency permit. Therefore, students must first report to the authorized medical check-up center for a medical check.