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Well, I bought my ticket. August 27 at 9:50am arrival.
Hey everybody, I’m back with a question.
I’m looking at getting my plane ticket now. August 28 arrival seems to be a good deal, and it’s right next to the turn of the month (so maybe easier to get an apartment around that time?) Anyone have any thoughts on this? Is this too late of an arrival date if I’m set to start school on Sept 9?
Hey Kim, couple questions (or anyone else who can answer).
How much is health insurance in China?
How expensive is electricity compared to US? (ballpark). How many times more expensive? 1.5x? 2x? How much should I expect to pay per month on utilities in general along with the regular rental fee?
ok, so where do I go when I first arrive then? A hotel or something?
Awesome, thanks Rick. 5 star answers.
They aren’t so much penpals as they are my actual friends, since I’ve known them for years. But I see what you are saying, and I have been browsing websites looking at places, just to see the kind of stuff I can afford.
Now that I think about it, I guess I could use a good colonic cleansing anyway.
Hey again everyone.
Since I’ve never lived in a foreign country before, I would appreciate it if anyone here could give me some tips on what to do to prepare for it. I want to leave no things unconsidered. Is there anything you wish you did to prepare that you didn’t do?
I already have pen pals in the city, but don’t know any expats in the city who could tell me what it’s like from an American perspective, or to tell me what I should prepare for.
I’ve already got over $10,000 USD saved up, but I’ll be working remotely to replenish what I use up.
My penpal(s) say they will help me find a place to rent before I arrive. I should be arriving sometime in mid-late August.
Do I need health insurance in China? If so, how much does it typically cost? (I’m completely healthy)
Did your body have trouble adjusting to the new diet? If so, how did you get over that?
How do I avoid being taken advantage of/being ripped off? I can speak very basic Chinese already, but don’t know any 四川话.
Thanks in advance
Damn, that’s a pretty good deal. I can see how I’d get sick of that if I ate it every day though. I’ll keep it in mind. What about the spicy stuff that Sichuan is known for? I love spicy foods.
Anyway, thanks for your responses everyone. Anyone have any other words of wisdom, tips, or general comments?
By the way, how much is take out style food? Is the cost more/less/same as America? Not sit-down style restaurant, but you know, if I want to buy something good to eat and take back to my place.
I think I’ll get by too. My friends will show me the way to live. I’d love to learn how to cook simple Sichuan style foods by myself，especially if it’ll cut down on my overall cost of living.
I’ve actually seen some charts of the cost of items, I did see that electronics, coffee, milk, and luxury items are more expensive in China.
So now, eating is my concern, haha.
I don’t know anything about those places really, and I’ve got my heart set on Chengdu. It feels like the right place to go. I’ve already been accepted to 四川大学 and have already got the ball rolling. So I’d like to make this situation work out.
To answer your question, I’ve taken 3 Chinese classes at a community college (101, 102, 201) I’d say I have a very very basic ability to speak and understand and read and write it, the entire point of going there is to study at the university and improve my Chinese ability. I think at the current moment I’d only be able to have very basic conversations with people.
There are two reasons I chose Chengdu. Two of my best chinese penpals live in Chengdu. Awesome, I won’t be alone when I arrive. The other is that I’ve heard Western China is more cheap than places along the coast (generally). I know Chengdu isn’t the cheapest place to go, but I feel like it’s a good balance, being that it doesn’t seem like a shit hole, and doesn’t seem ridiculously expensive either.
Looks like I’m gonna have to kick my coffee habit before I leave, haha.
Hey Ray, thanks for telling me. Before I posted here I was thinking about spending roughly 600 USD/month (average) while in Chengdu. Do you think that’s reasonable for someone like me, or is that borderline poverty?
I’d love to hear anyone’s ideas on cheap, easy, nutritious things I can cook by myself when I’m feeling cheap, haha. I’m pretty much poor as hell anyway, I thought by going to China I’d have a chance at a slightly upgraded lifestyle and a chance at adventure before I get older and have real responsibilities.
Rick: Thanks a lot man. As I said I’m really poor here in the states, I’m having a tough time imagining that living in China would be more expensive for me, although like I said, I’m probably completely naive to this entire thing and probably don’t understand the full scope of what I’m getting myself into. Which is why I value your guys’ advice. I figured places near the University would be more expensive (those areas here in the states are borderline rape) but I guess it’s the opposite in China? If I can get a decent place near the university, I’d be set.
No actually, I don’t have support from my parents (I wish I had that luxury LOL), but I do live with some family at the moment, which won’t last long anyway. I’ve seen apartments online for 1500 yuan/month and under that look pretty livable (as in I’ve lived in places that were the same or worse-looking). The idea of a squat toilet does kind of suck, but I think I could get used to it. Like I said, don’t need anything fancy, just want it to be clean. I’m just enrolling in the language learning course at Sichuan University, it’s not even a degree program, and besides the 4 hours a day of class, I’m not sure how much homework they will assign and how much time per day I can dedicate to my $12/hr job.
I was planning on getting around by bus and subway. I know it’s not the most luxurious way to get around, and maybe I’m a bit naive, but I’d like to experience how a normal person would live. There’s no way in hell I’m going to drive around in a car, and I’d only take a taxi if I absolutely needed to. Going out and about and travelling I plan on doing in moderation. My biggest nightmare is arriving and spending way more money than I planned on, so I’d like to have all things considered. I appreciate your responses.
I have about $11,500 saved up to my name. My goal is to spend as little of that as possible, especially since most of it is in a money market account, gaining interest.
Really? That’s more expensive than I thought it would be actually. I don’t even spend 1k a month here in the states. What makes it so much more expensive as a foreigner?
One last question. Plane and tuition aside, how is the cost of living? I’ve been asking penpals about it, and I get a wide range of responses when it comes to “how much is enough”. I’m pretty frugal, at least here in the states, and I don’t need to live a life of luxury. I’d like to just get my own tiny apartment. Doesn’t need to be fancy, I just want it to be clean, lol. All things considered, like rent, food, transportation etc, how much per month do you think I should expect to spend?
Alright, thanks for your response. I have money saved up for the trip, but my goal is not to burn through all of it by the end. So I want to work and at least replenish what I’ve lost basically. So maybe I should deduct what I need from my current savings account and open up a Chinese bank account and convert it all at once, and just keep working and having my work money get deposited into my regular bank account, to use when I come home? I’m not sure which would be the best course of action. Ideally I’d like to minimize loss due to exchange fees, so I guess a large amount all at once would be better.
What’s the ballpark figure on exchange fees?
Well actually, do you have any suggestions as to which bank I should open up an account with? Getting a new bank account is probably not gonna be a big deal for me, I’d just like to choose one that is convenient and has a good enough exchange rate. Or will it not even matter?