Frequently Asked Questions
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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are your admission requirements?
A: For University Programs:
- Aged between 18-60
- Have completed high school or equivalent (exceptions are sometimes granted)
- Peking University - Have minimum knowledge of 800 Chinese characters
For Summer / Winter / Short Term Programs at Universities
- Students over the age of 15 are eligible to apply and attend with parental consent.
- Summer Programs include the months of July and August only.
For Private Academy / School Programs
- There is no age minimum or limit for the private language school programs offered through CSA as they cater to all students.
Q: Will I receive documentation upon completion of my program?
A: Yes! All university programs provide students with a certificate of completion at the end of their program. Students must attend the required minimum of classes to be eligible for this certificate.
Certificates of completion are not available from private language schools. However, CSA can provide a document confirming all the details of your program if that is sufficient.
Q: Can I receive university / college credit for work completed on my program?
A: The universities that program participants attend are internationally accredited; therefore most international universities accept credit received from these schools. Many of our students in the past have received credit for their coursework completed here. CSA assists students in obtaining any information and documentation required supporting their request for course credit. Of course, the final decision to offer academic credit is up to your university.
As every university is different, we encourage you to check with your individual university in regards to your accreditation requirements.
Q: I have to leave the program a week early – will this effect my grading?
A: Exactly when you leave your program will determine the effect of the grading process. Exams at the universities are generally scheduled in the final week of your program with a graduation celebration on your final scheduled day to issue your participation certificates and overall results.
This of course differs for each university and school – some schools are more flexible with their program schedules than others.
Q: Can I arrive before my course starts?
A: Of course! CSA recommends that students arrive on one of the specified arrival dates for each program, which are selected so that you have a couple days to settle into your accommodation, make new friends, and explore the local area!
However, if you need to arrive before or after your program's official start date, or extend your stay after the official end of your program, this can be arranged for a small additional price.
Q: What lessons / topics does my course cover?
A: The classes focus on all parts of the Chinese language - speaking, listening, reading, and writing. There is also emphasis on Chinese skills that allow students to take advantage of the study abroad environment and be able to communicate in daily life.
In class, students generally go over vocabulary, practice reading the text, learn grammar points and sentence patterns, do conversation exercises with other students, do some language drills, and many other activities that allow for rapid acquisition of the Mandarin language.
Q: How many hours a week will I study?
A: The Mandarin classes at most universities and schools run from Monday through Friday for a total of 20 hours of university time per week. Classes are taught in 40-50 minutes periods with short breaks provided in between each.
Students in the CSA Intensive program have an additional amount of time of 1-on-1 tutoring with an experienced, private tutor. You can choose from 5 or 10 hours of tutoring per week (which works out to 1 or 2 hours per weekday).
Q: What are the lecturers and teachers like?
A: The professors are very experienced in teaching Chinese to foreigners and are considered experts in the field.
Q: What is the teaching methodology like in China?
A: The teaching methodology in China will be a bit different than what most people are used to - but it is effective for learning Chinese! There are a lot situational dialogues, so you'll be learning sentence structures along with general vocab. There is also a large amount of cultural and historical learning in the textbooks, so while your are learning the language, you'll also be learning more about China in general.
One of the biggest differences is the emphasis on previewing and not just reviewing. It is expected here that before you walk into a class a certain amount of preparation is done beforehand. Say you're just about to start chapter 3 of a book. If you haven't learnt all the new vocab yourself, before the class begins, you'll be completely lost. A lot of students are thrown off by this when they first arrive, but once you get into the habit of it, its not too bad!
Q: What size are the classes?
A: Class sizes range from approx 10 students in private schools and approx 20 students in university classes. Every student should have lots of opportunities to ask questions and practice Chinese with the teacher.
Q: What part of my day will classes be?
A: Generally classes are scheduled first thing in the morning until lunchtime to allow the rest of the day to be used for additional tutoring sessions, study time and homework completion. However, class times do vary at some universities depending on the institution and your class level.
Q: Will I be given homework?
A: Yes – it's generally best to spend 2-3 hours per day studying and completing homework. This is a tough program because we want you to learn Mandarin. A great way to study and keep on top of things is to sign up for our Intensive program and have the private tutoring sessions focus on the homework set for you in class.
Q: How do I know what level to start at?
A: Every student will take a placement test after registration to determine which class and level is most appropriate to begin their studies. This placement is given to all students, whether you are a complete beginner or have studied Chinese in the past.
Q: How long until I can expect to be fluent in my Chinese?
A: Most universities structure their courses to accommodate every level of student, from beginner to advanced. If you follow the courses from complete beginner level to the end of the advanced level, it should take you approximately 3 years. This includes study during summer and holiday breaks.
However, everyone is different. Some learn faster than others, and since you take a placement test at the beginning of each semester, it is possible to skip a level if you have progressed faster than expected. Therefore, completing all the courses is possible in less than 3 years.
Another thing to consider is that it is not necessary to be completely fluent or to have taken all the courses to be able to live and work in China. Students finishing the beginner level should already be able to use Mandarin in daily life and hold simple conversations.
Q: What is the advantage of private tutoring?
A: The Intensive program offers private tutoring, which most students find very helpful in advancing their Mandarin studies. Not everyone is good at learning in a classroom environment, so this really depends on your learning style. We find that students who have difficulty with speaking and listening benefit the most from the individual tutoring.
Also, the tutoring sessions are arranged to fit your schedule, making the extra study time easy and convenient. Many students choose to arrange their sessions in the afternoon after class, and typically students choose the location as well (e.g. in the CSA office or at local coffee shops). You can even have your tutoring sessions at home, it's that convenient!
Q: What documents are needed to apply to CSA language course?
A:Certain documents are required when applying to universities in China. They include:
- Passport Photo
- Proof of your most recent level of education (degree/diploma/school transcripts)
- Detailed Application Form
- Application Fee of USD$150
Q: Why do I have to pay an Application Fee?
A: Application Fees are required for all universities and private schools. It acts as a deposit to secure your place on the program. Without paying the application fee, your application will not be accepted and your place on the course cannot be guaranteed.
Q: Is the Application Fee refundable?
A: Unfortunately no. Once CSA receives your Application Documents and Fee, we process your application to secure your place on the university or private school course. Once we have paid the fee, we are unable to refund it.
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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What visa should I apply for to study in China?
A: Students who wish to come to China to study should apply for Visa X (Student Visa). Universities will issue an Admission Letter and JW202 Form which should be used when applying for your visa.
A: Students who will study for less than 180 days will be granted an X2 visa. This is a single entry visa which will cover you for the duration of your course.
A: Students who will study for over 180 days will be granted an X1 visa. This must be converted to a Residents Permit on arrival. This involves taking part in a medical exam. The exam results will form part of the application for your Residents Permit. The entire application process costs approx 960RMB and CSA will help you every step of the way during this process!
Q: Can I come to China on a Tourist Visa?
A: Yes. Late applicants often come to China on a Tourist Visa. Once you have arrived in China we can help you convert your visa.
Q: I want to stay in China after I have completed my course. Can I extend my visa?
A: It depends on what visa you entered the country with. YES - Students who are in China with a Visa L (Tourist Visa) can extend their visas by one month. This involves holding approx 20,000RMB in your personal Chinese bank account for approx 10 working days while the application is being made. NO - Students who are in China with a Visa X (Student Visa) are unable to extend their visa. They must leave the country and reapply for a different visa.
Q: How much money should I bring to China?
A: The amount of spending money you will need in addition to the program fee and rent will really depend on how you budget for food, transportation around the city, entertainment, and shopping.
While food isn't included in the program fee (except breakfast and dinner, Monday to Friday included with the homestay accommodation), there is a wide range of cheap and expensive restaurants in all cities. By eating in the university cafeteria or other restaurants near the school, meals can usually be purchased for 8-15RMB (US$1.25-$2.50). If you mostly eat at cheaper Chinese restaurants or the school cafeterias and do some shopping, US$75 to $100 a week would be more than enough for basic expenses and some exploring of the city.
Q: How can I access my money? Are there cash machines and currency changing services available?
A: Yes, there are ATM / cash facilities available on most campuses and within short walking distance of all our accommodations. Currency can be exchanged upon arrival at the airport or at local bank branches with presentation of your passport. CSA staff can help you exchange money if you're nervous about doing it on your own.
Q: Should I / Can I open a Chinese bank account?
A: Some students find it easier to manage their money and student budgets by opening a local Chinese bank account. CSA staff will help you through the process of opening one in your first few days after arrival.
Bear in mind that it can be tricky and expensive transferring money in and out of a Chinese account through international bank transfers or online. We find it best if you can deposit cash to fund your account.
What to bring to China
Q: What kind of clothes should I bring to china?
A: It’s best to research the climate of your program city prior to your arrival in China.
Winter can be extremely cold in China, particularly in northern cities like Beijing, so you should plan your winter wardrobe accordingly and prepare for below-zero conditions.
Same goes for the summer – temperatures can reach above 40 degrees in the height of summer, even in Beijing. Cities in the south like Shanghai, are also quite humid all year-round, and you might feel the need to take multiple showers per day!
While there are no cultural restrictions when it comes to clothes and fashion, it is best to pack whatever you think is appropriate and culturally sensitive.
Q: Is there anything special I should bring with me to China?
A: Most Western-style goods are available to be purchased here in China, but particular items and specific brands may be difficult to find or rather expensive.
We find that some students prefer to bring certain items from home rather than purchase them here; they include spray-deodorant, tampons, dental floss, pain medication, and beauty products.
|Anymore Questions?||Check out our unofficial 'China FAQ' blog writtin here.|
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Arrival in China
Q: How do I get to China?
A: FLY – Start searching early for flights from your departure country to your program city on the specified arrival dates, so you can take advantage of the cheapest deal possible. CSA programs do not include flights to China.
Q: My course is booked in a city which I can't get a direct flight to - what should I do?
A: Most students, if they are unable to find a direct flight to their chosen city, fly first to Beijing or Shanghai and book onward connections from there.
Q: Can you recommend a good website to book my flights?
A: Of course we can! CSA works with www.StudentUniverse.com, a website that helps students find flights at a lower cost. Let us know when you're planning on coming and we will give you a PROMO CODE so that you can get a further discount on your flight.
Q: I am planning on traveling though China before my program begins and will be arriving at my program city by train – is this ok? Am I still entitled to my pickup service?
A: Yes, of course! Make sure you send your arrival details to your Program Advisor and your pickup service will be arranged from there.
Q. How does my arrival in China work exactly? Is there someone to meet me at the airport?
A: Yes! For all CSA student arrivals, a CSA representative will be there to meet you at the airport and take you directly to your CSA accommodation. CSA staff are easy to spot at the arrivals gate – just look for the happy face holding the CSA sign!
During your application process, your Program Director will inform you of the arrival dates for your specific program with plenty of time to shop for the lowest airfare. You will be provided with more information about your arrival during the pre-departure process.
Q: What can I expect from my first few days in China?
A: On the day of your arrival, CSA staff will take you to your accommodation and settle you in. Here they will go through all the living arrangement information you need to know. If you're not too tired, they will also show you around the local area.
You will be shown the essentials - the CSA office, your university campus, nearest bank and cash machine, supermarket and local cafés and restaurants. There will also be a CSA Orientation Day and Welcome Dinner to get you acquainted with staff and fellow CSA students.
Eating / Drinking
Q: Can I drink the tap water?
A: We strongly recommend you do NOT drink the tap water. However, those with stomachs of steel do indulge in the practice from time to time. Bottled water is available in large quantities and can be delivered to your accommodation upon request.
Q: Is street food safe to eat?
A: Yes – and it’s great! A helpful guideline is to wait a few weeks until you tuck into the delicious offerings of meals on a stick, just to make sure your stomach is ready!
Q: Are vegetarian / vegan / halal options available?
A: Yes! All cities in China have good vegetarian and vegan options. Please remember to ask when ordering, because in China many consider seafood to be a vegetarian dish.
There are also many halal restaurants around China, due to the number of Muslim Chinese who originate from the western provinces like Xinjiang. They are usually advertised as Muslim restaurants, and their lamb kebabs and flatbreads are super tasty!
Q: What should I do if I have allergies to certain foods?
A: You should always clarify that the food you are allergic to is not in your dish or used to prepare it. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, please do not eat it.
Q: How much can I expect to pay for meals?
A: The amount spent on food varies according to your taste. You can have a meal at a street stall for as low as 5RMB, and you can go to a top restaurant and pay upwards of 500RMB per person. The average meal is usually around 20 – 40RMB, including beverages.
In general, Chinese food is much cheaper than Western food, though in areas with high numbers of foreign students, competition among restaurants can drive down prices of burgers and sandwiches to very reasonable prices.
Q: Is there a fitness gym I can sign up for? How much is membership?
A: There are gym and fitness facilities located on all the university campuses, as well as in the areas surrounding CSA apartments. Memberships vary dependent on the quality, location and length of time you wish to sign up for. A handy hint is to go with a fellow student or sign up for a longer period to get the best deal.
Q: Can I get internet access in my dorm?
A: Yes – this is a service available for setup from the internet store on campus. Our CSA staff will show you where and how to set this up during your orientation of the campus.
Q: Is there a local supermarket where I can buy supplies?
A: Yes – generally there will be small supermarkets or convenience stores situated on campus or around your apartment. For a wider range of food and supplies, there are larger supermarkets within walking distance from your accommodation.
Q: What clothing should I bring to China?
A: This varies greatly depending on your program city as well as the time of year. Both winter and summer are known for extreme temperatures, especially in Beijing, so please be sure to research your city of study prior to packing your suitcase.
Our Program Directors will happily point you in the right direction, so do not hesitate to ask them for their advice. China also has many clothing markets and Western department stores with reasonably priced clothing, should you find you need anything once you have arrived.
Q: How can I do my laundry?
A: Washing machines are available in all CSA apartments and homestay arrangements. There are also laundromats available in certain areas in the city, though they tend to be quite pricey. For dorm students, there are usually laundry services available on campus for a small cost.
Q: Are there dry cleaning facilities available?
A: Yes - each city has dry cleaning services available. In most cases, these services can be found within your apartment compound or university campus.
Q: What voltage is used in China? Are power adapters readily available?
A: The electricity standard here is 220V at 50Hz AC. There are two types of plugs typically used in China: the North American standard 2-prong ungrounded plug and the Australian standard 3-prong grounded plug (2 blades in a V-shape with a grounding blade above).
Adapters, converters and multi-plug power strips can be purchased locally at supermarkets and electronic markets.
Q: What is the weather like in China?
A: This is dependent on the city's location and time of year, and you can find more information about weather in the individual city sections on the website.
It can be very hot and very cold - in Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian, the temperature can reach up to 35 degrees Celsius in summer and –10 degrees Celsius in winter. Shanghai is milder in the summer but far more humid. The winter temperatures in Shanghai can go as low as 0 degrees celsius.
Please research your program city prior to your departure and bring appropriate clothing. But don’t panic if you forget anything or bring the wrong clothes; there are lots of places you can buy clothes from within China at all price ranges.
Q: Do people generally ride bikes to get around?
A: Yes! Bike are considered a main mode of transport in China. Bike riding is quite safe, provided you stick to the bike lanes and pay attention to surrounding traffic. Our CSA staff will help you purchase a bike in your first few days of your program if you require one.
Q: How far / where is the closest subway station to my apartment?
A: The subway station in the university area is usually no more than a 10–25 minute walk from all of our accommodations. In most cases, it is also located close to all the local cafés, restaurants and social areas.
Q: How much should I expect to pay for a bus / subway / taxi?
A: Public buses are quite inexpensive and usually cost 1-2RMB per ride. Subway fares differ per city - in Beijing, you can go anywhere on the subway system for 2RMB, while in Shanghai, fares are based on distance travelled.
Taxi fares also differ depending on the city and time of day you're travelling. In Shanghai, the meter starts at 12RMB (16RMB at night) and includes the first 3km, increasing by 2.4RMB (3.1RMB at night) per km for the next 7km, and 3.6RMB (4.7RMB at night) for every km after the first 10km travelled.
In Beijing, the meter starts at 13RMB (14RMB at night) and includes the first 3km, increasing by 2.3RMB per km for the next 12km, and 3RMB (3.4RMB at night) for every km after the first 15km.
Q: Where do I buy a subway / metro card?
A: These are usually available at any subway station in the “IC” ticket window. You can also purchase single-trip tickets from the automated machines in the station.
|Anymore Questions?||Checkout our unofficial 'China FAQ' written here.|
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
CSA Student Community
Q: When will I get to meet other CSA students?
A: The CSA Orientation Day and Welcome Dinner are a great way to meet other CSA students at the beginning of your program. Our staff will do their best to get you in touch with fellow students in your first few days in China so you can feel a part of the CSA student community!
Q: Who attends the CSA activities? Are they compulsory?
A: Generally, scheduled activities are not compulsory for students, though the Orientation Day is an exception. Activities and events are usually held on a weekly basis and are optional to all CSA students and their friends.
Some students attend every activity every week and others pick and choose the trips they have an interest in. Each student will be given a CSA Activity Schedule in the Welcome Pack upon arrival.
Q: Who are the other CSA students? Where are they from?
A: CSA students all share a common interest here in China: to learn Mandarin Chinese. Students come from all corners of the globe, on different programs, for different lengths of time, making the CSA student community a fun and exciting blend of people. Some students speak English as their first language and others don’t – either way, you'll find making friends easy and it’s a great way to practice your Chinese!
Q: Who will I be roomed with if I choose a shared accommodation?
A: All students on our program are roomed with fellow CSA students. Generally, we do our best to match students according to their gender, age, program, and school so that they can share their experiences together. However, we can arrange for couples and friends to be together if requested.
Q: Who will I be roomed with if I choose a homestay family?
A: All homestay families are from middle to upper-middle class and have been interviewed for suitability. They are also selected based on the school you choose to allow for the shortest commute possible. Most homestay accommodation only has one room so you will not be paired with another student, however, occasionally some families can accommodate two CSA students. All homestay families are used to having students to stay and often are eager to show foreigners around China.
Q: What facilities are the apartments equipped with?
A: All apartments come furnished and ready for your arrival with items such as a bedroom with bed linens, desk and lamp; a lounge area with a TV and DVD player and couch; and a kitchen equipped with basic utensils, stove, microwave and fridge. All apartments also come with bathroom and washing machine facilities.
Q: Are bills and utilities included in my accommodation costs? If not, how much should I expect to pay?
A: All utility bills are covered in the accommodation price of our Premium apartments, dorm and homestay accommodations.
Students in Standard apartments will be billed monthly by CSA for the amount of gas and electricity used, which is usually no more than US$40 per month.
Q: Is there wireless internet access in the apartment?
A: Yes, your internet connection will be set up and ready for your arrival. The network information and password will be given to you when you move in.
Q: Will I have my own bathroom?
A: Students in a single apartment will have their own private bathroom facilities. For students who choose a double accommodation option, the bathroom is shared between the two CSA students living in the apartment.
Q: What is the difference between Standard and Premium apartments?
A: Standard and Premium apartments differ only to the level of comfort and inclusions. Both accommodation options are of a high standard and come fully furnished.
Standard apartments come complete with the basics - kitchen, bathroom, individual bedrooms, laundry, and living and dining area. There is a TV and DVD player in the lounge area as well as a couch and wireless internet. The monthly cost of utilities are low, usually about US$40. There is also a weekly cleaning service.
The Premium apartment option comes with all of the same Standard inclusions, plus a little bit more. The apartments tend to be newer, furnishings and decor are more modern, the kitchen is better equipped, and all monthly utilities are covered by your program payment so you never have to worry about bills!
Q: What if I don’t like my roommates or homestay family?
A: Students generally get along with their roommates / homestay families. Homestay families are put through screening methods and we will never employ a family that has received negative reviews from one of our students.
However, if there is a problem, we will find you a new homestay family / roommate in order that your stay will be as pleasant as possible. We will try to make sure it's the same type of accommodation. Of course, it is not easy to find new housing, but we will do our best to move you within a reasonable amount of time as long as we find your problems to be legitimate. CSA will always do its best for you within reason.
Q: Are there gym / supermarket / bank facilities near my accommodation?
A: Yes – all these facilities are usually within walking distance to all our accommodations. The CSA staff will show you these areas during your first few days of arrival in order to get you acquainted with your new home and local area as soon as possible.
Q: Who do I call if I need something fixed in the apartment?
A: Simply contact your city's CSA staff and they will arrange a time to meet at your apartment and repair whatever is required. All staff numbers are programmed into your CSA mobile phone for you to contact at any time for any reason.
Q: Can I cook in my apartment?
A: Of course! All CSA apartments are equipped with facilities such as a gas stove, microwave, refrigerator and basic utensils.
Q: Where is my apartment located in relation to campus?
A: In most cases, apartments are located a 10-25 minute walk from your particular campus. This is a journey made even quicker by bike, bus, or taxi. In rare cases, homestays are situated one or two subway stops from campus.
Q: How do I get to campus from my apartment?
A: It's most common for students to ride a bike or walk on foot to class, but students who live a bit further away from campus sometimes choose to take a bus or subway or catch a cab to get to school each day. For the more adventurous type, electric scooters are available for purchase.
Q: Are there English-speaking doctors available in China?
A: Yes! In each city CSA runs its programs, there are English-speaking doctors available, and there are also international hospitals and clinics in the larger cities that foreigners call home. Please keep in mind that English-speaking health services do cost more than regular local health services, as your medical insurance may require you to pay upfront and be reimbursed your expenses after filing a claim.
In the event you need to see a doctor, CSA staff have all the relevant information you may require, and they can also accompany you to an appointment if needed. CSA always recommends making an appointment if possible, as emergency fees may be charged otherwise.
Q: Do I have to go to the hospital or doctor on my own?
A: No! If you're at all nervous, don't feel that your Chinese is strong enough, or would just like the extra company while you are unwell, a CSA Staff Member can accompany you.
Q: I have a pre-existing medical condition – are medications available in China? Are there many pharmacies around?
A: There are pharmacies throughout China offering most types of medicine. However, we strongly recommend that you bring all prescription medication with you before you arrive in China.
We also strongly recommend that you bring medical records with you if you have pre-existing health conditions, because for certain medicines, prescriptions are required and your medical records will help expedite these matters. CSA staff will be there to help you with any problems you may encounter.
Q: Do I need vaccinations to come to China?
A: Yes. While it is usually not compulsory (this may depend on your originating country), we do advise all applicants to get vaccinations prior to arrival. We recommend that you check the following vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Japanese B Encephalitis, Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Typhoid.
|Anymore Questions?||Checkout our unofficial 'China FAQ' written here!|