China Program

Practical Matters

Prior to departure, students receive a detailed handbook (in both print and digital formats) that contains practical and academic information about the program, including critical dates and deadlines, logistical concerns, practical matters, and academic policies. The following basic information is important to note.

Travel Information


Students need a passport to travel to China. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months.

Visa Information
All students enrolled in the China Center are required to apply for and obtain a Short-term Student Visa (X2 Visa) to enter mainland China, no matter how long they plan to study in China. A tourist visa is acceptable for late applicants, but additional visa fees may apply after arrival.

For more information about China visa types and requirements, please refer to the Visa Information section of the website.

Housing & Food


Students stay in on-campus housing at the International Student Building, a 10-minute walk from the China Center. There are two options for on-campus housing: shared apartment and single dorm.

Shared Apartments are half furnished and include two air-conditioned bedrooms with a shared bathroom and a kitchen. One bedroom is equipped with a single bed and the other is a double dormitory-style bedroom. Utilities are not included.

Single Dorms have an air-conditioned private room with a single bed and an en-suite bathroom. Dorms do not include house cleaning and includes only 60 kilowatts of electricity each month (enough to operate lights and a computer). Students using air-conditioning have to pay extra. Laundry service is available in the basement.



There is an International Student dining hall located in the International Student Building that provides both Chinese food and a few Western options. There are also four student canteens located on campus.


While traditional teahouses, small eateries and inexpensive outdoor markets abound, Western fast-food establishments like KFC, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds, and upscale restaurants serving Japanese, Korean, Thai, Argentine, Italian, Indian, French, and fusion cuisine can also be found throughout the city. Plenty of inexpensive and delicious Chinese noodles, dumplings, Turkestani, and Sichuan cuisine can be found near the campus, where students can select from a range of inexpensive and healthy foods.

Other Options

Students who are living in shared apartments also have a small kitchen in which to cook. There is also a fresh market and a Walmart close to the Yuquan Campus for groceries and food supplies.

What to Bring

Students must check with their airline carriers regarding the amount of luggage they are allowed to bring to China. If a student is not flying directly to Hangzhou and has planned a stopover in China, the number and size restrictions for checked and carry-on baggage for international and domestic carriers may differ. Please note that different luggage restrictions for international and domestic flights exist even within the same airline, so please check baggage restrictions to avoid fees for overweight baggage. Most airlines, however, allow two pieces of checked baggage in addition to one carry-on item.

A detailed packing list is included in the student handbook. Students should keep in mind that most things can be purchased in China. Some important things to note:


  • Passport with at least 6 months left until the expiration date

  • Valid Chinese visa (all students are required to arrange a student visa prior to departure for China)

  • A valid health insurance policy


  • Prescription medications

  • Laptop with wireless access

  • Feminine hygiene products

  • Non-prescription drugs

  • Research books

  • Chinese-English dictionary

  • Winter coat


  • Illicit narcotic and psychotropic drugs

  • Pornographic material of any kind

  • Religious or political material

  • Cold cuts or fresh fruit

  • Fire arms or explosives

  • Over $5,000 cash or its equivalent in another currency needs to be declared at Customs.

Local Services

Local Time
There is only one time zone in China: Beijing time, which is eight hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time or Greenwich Mean Time (UTC/GMT +8). China does not observe daylight savings time (DST). This means that during the summer months in the northern hemisphere when New York is observing DST, Beijing is exactly twelve hours ahead. So if it is 8:00 A.M. on Monday morning in New York, it is 8:00 P.M. on Monday evening in Beijing and Hangzhou.

Electrical Requirements

Electricity in China is 220 volts, 50 cycles AC, so students need to bring a voltage converter or transformer (and plug adapters) for any electrical equipment. Most new models of laptop computers, however, are dual voltage, which means they can be used both in the U.S. and abroad, including China, without a voltage converter. Regardless of the voltage requirements, students should still bring a universal grounded wall outlet plug adapter appropriate for China.


The China Center’s student desktop computers and faculty computers are all equipped with wireless, broadband ADSL Internet. The Center is also equipped with a VPN-installed WiFi, which allows students to access websites such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube.

Students may also apply for broadband Internet access in their dormitory rooms at the International Student Building. Students living in off-campus apartments may also apply for broadband Internet service with private providers.


Currency Exchange

The local currency in China is Chinese Yuan or Renmingbi  (CNY or RMB). The current exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and CNY is approximately 1 U.S. dollar = 6 CNY.  

Deposit and Withdraw Money

Students can withdraw money using a U.S. debit/ATM card from ATMs that have the card’s logo (Visa, Mastercard, etc.). Students may be charged a small fee when withdrawing money abroad depending on their bank.

Local Bank Account

China Center staff helps students open a bank account at Bank of China during orientation. Students are able to deposit and withdraw money from most of the ATMs in China with this card. A small fee may be incurred when withdrawing money from ATMs of other banks.

Health & Safety

Students should check with their family physician prior to their departure for China about any health-related concerns. Students are encouraged to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website (search keyword “China”) and also the China page of the World Health Organization (WHO) website regarding communicable diseases in the region. Students should make the Center Coordinator aware of any persistent health issues prior to arrival.


For the most accurate and current information regarding health precautions, what immunizations are necessary, and how they should be administered, students should consult their physician, the CDC, or their local public health office.


Although many of the prescription medications available in the U.S. and other countries are now readily available in China, it is recommended that students bring all essential medications, both for daily use and emergency use, including but not limited to asthmatic inhalers and birth control pills.


Health care facilities are generally adequate in the Hangzhou area. For minor health problems, an on-campus university clinic (close to the International Student Building) can provide basic treatment. (There is an Emergency Room available 24/7 but with very limited medical services.) For more serious health problems, there are several local hospitals equipped with advanced medical facilities. Center staff can accompany students to see doctors who do not speak English concerning any medical related issues. Students can best protect their health, however, through physical exercise and by being cautious about what they wear, eat, and drink.