Top 5 Cities to Study Abroad in China

by DIWYY · 1 comment

Its been said that in the 19th century, the world belonged to Britain and in the 20th century, the States took over. Well, we’re now in the 21st century, and its looking more and more like its China’s turn to take the global stage.

China is and will continue to be part of our lives whether we choose to accept it or not, so why not get involved? Invest in yourself and learn about the Chinese culture or language  now. There really has never been a better time to study abroad in China! (or boost a resume with this experience – cha-ching!)

My name is Megan Lee and I studied abroad in China during my undergrad years. Twice.  It was a difficult, hilarious, and eye-opening experience. Be it dodging bicycles on the streets, posing for pictures with strangers, or climbing the Great Wall for the first time, I loved studying abroad in China.

Fast forward 4 years, and I now work for a company that helps other students study abroad in China. I have called Beijing home for over a year and I guess its safe to say I haven’t had enough of this Asian giant.

For all of you considering joining me in the Middle Kingdom, I recommend the following cities.


Beijing – For the Chinese politics, language, & culture enthusiast

If you are looking to experience more than just the language while in China, you need to consider studying abroad in Beijing. Beijing is big in its politics, its populations, its size, its potential, and its horizons.  For language learners, the Beijing dialect is Mandarin’s standard, and the local universities have the most established programs for teaching Chinese to foreigners. Beyond the language, there is a plethora of cultural sites to entertain you during those much-needed study breaks (including the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City!). If you want to experience the “essence” of China then Beijing is the city for you. Hope floats high in this city (even more than the often-scorned smog!)

Check out different study abroad programs in China on


Shanghai – For the money-minded and forward thinker

Shanghai represents the new China: redefining cosmopolitan, it is a mesmerizing culmination of the nation’s recent past and bright future. If you are the more money-driven type, ready for some heavy financial networking and living the high-life, then this is the city for you. The pace in Shanghai echoes Hong Kong or New York, and to live and study here is to see first-hand this Asian tiger’s race into the 21st century. Despite its worldly charms, Shanghai remains intimate and cultural, as it still retains a fascinating mix of East and West. Whether by taking in a scenic view of the historic riverside Bund or exploring the imperial gardens, Shanghai will not be soon forgotten.


Kunming – For the lover of the great outdoors and unique travel opportunities

Bordered on the south by Burma, Laos, and Vietnam, and Tibet and India to the west, Kunming’s key location in the southwest corner of China has created one of the nation’s best travel hubs. Its distance from the coast and major Chinese cities give study abroaders a unique perspective on life inland, free of excessive foreigners. Yunnan province’s unparalleled landscapes, natural beauty, and its rich melting pot of  colorful cultures (over 25 different ethnic minorities call it home!) makes the city unique not only in China, but in the world. Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring, there is a pleasantly moderate year round climate, and ample opportunity for study abroaders to go out and explore. If you are adventurous and enjoy a challenge, Kunming would make a great fit!


Chengdu – For the serious student (who can handle spicy food!)

For an immersion experience that’s not in the back country, Chengdu rises to the top, the perfect example of a Chinese city that comfortably integrates modernity with tradition. It’s status as a smaller city, distanced from more developed cities means that significantly fewer foreigners live here. Chengdu is a beautifully forested city, and boasts of tea houses, sky scrapers, and China’s favorite export (the Giant Panda). Even though Sichuan Province has highly influenced Chinese culture, it is most famous for its fiery cuisine. Studying in Chengdu gives you a chance to really get involved in the Chinese way of life, to make and spend time with Chinese friends and to immerse yourself in the Chinese language.


Hong Kong – For the student who loves Asia, but not THAT much.

Hong Kong actually consists of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories, and a group of 263 different islands. Being slightly larger than 1000sqkm in area, thats a lot of city packed into a small space! Hong Kong has grown from a small fishing village to now the world’s 4th largest banking and financial center. If you want to experience Asian culture, but still hold on to the comforts of home, you’d be hard pressed to find a more exciting city than Hong Kong. With signs in English and many English speakers, this clean city gives refuge to those language-barrier follies, while still allowing for engagement with Chinese locals. Hong Kong is vibrant, manic, and opulent, and a great transition into understanding and familiarizing yourself with Chinese culture.

About the Author: Born in the year of the Rabbit, Megan’s first expedition to China ended in failure when she tried to dig there from Indiana at the age of eight. After her 2+ year post in the Middle Kingdom, Megan led study abroad programs before settling down in Colorado with

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