Cost of living in China for international students: Your best and complete guide to tuition fees and other monthly expenses

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As one of the biggest economies in the world, some expect that the cost of living in China for international students will be intimidating.

Today, we will present the cost of living in China for international students in 2024 to address your concerns. We will also include valuable tips and answer some commonly asked questions.

cost of living in China for international students

Tuition fee

Let us start by discussing the most significant part of the cost of living in China for international students: the tuition fee.

Shanghai University is one of the best learning institutions in the country. It has international rankings from respected organizations, such as QS World University.

Available courses: Chinese language (Mandarin), Culture, Economics, International Trade and Business, Globalization, Social Sciences, Finance, e-commerce, and Marketing.

Tuition fee per semester: 2,490 EUR

Cost of Living in China for International Students

After the tuition fee, below is a detailed breakdown of the cost of living in China for international students.


One-bedroom apartment in the city475.45 EUR
One-bedroom apartment outside the city289.92 EUR
Three-bedroom apartment in the city1,150.66 EUR
Three-bedroom apartment outside the city624.02 EUR

Monthly utilities

Electricity, heating, water, etc49.20 EUR
Mobile phone with a monthly plan with calls and 10GB15.39 EUR
60 Mbps or more internet connection at your accommodation11.58 EUR

Grocery items

1.5 liter of bottled water0.52 EUR
One liter of milk1.81 EUR
A loaf of bread1.58 EUR
One kg of rice0.90 EUR
A dozen of eggs1.66 EUR
Local cheese11.88 EUR
One kg of chicken fillet3.46 EUR
One kg of beef11.05 EUR
One kg apple1.70 EUR
One kg banana1.30 EUR
One kg tomato1.13 EUR
One kg onion0.87 EUR
One kg potato0.73 EUR


Monthly pass25.34 EUR
One-way ticket0.38 EUR
Starting rate of a taxi ride1.39 EUR
One liter of gasoline1.08 EUR

Leisure and wellness

Gym membership36.30 EUR
Cinema ticket6.33 EUR
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant3.17 EUR
McDonald’s combo meal4.18 EUR
Cappuccino3.18 EUR
0.5-liter local beer1.01 EUR
.33 liter imported beer2.53 EUR
.33 liter Coke or Pepsi.43 EUR


A pair of midrange rubber shoes71.62 EUR
Leather shoes78.38 EUR
Jeans49.69 EUR
Dress30.79 EUR

Tips on how to budget the cost of living in China for international students

There are several ways to lessen the cost of living in China for international students. Here are some valuable tips you must try!

Choose student residence halls as they are generally more affordable than apartments. Search online and ensure they are a few blocks from your university so you can walk instead of riding public transportation.

Practice cooking meals a few weeks before your flight to study abroad. Aside from lessening your daily to monthly expenses, you can eat healthier as you specifically know the ingredients.

Create a well-balanced student life in the country by equally joining fun and free activities like concerts, cultural shows, sports clubs, volunteer opportunities, and academic associations provided by your university. Doing so allows total immersion and a meaningful connection with the locals.

Our Budgeting tool can seamlessly assist you in sorting out your expenses in the country. Simply download to calculate your cost to study abroad in China.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why study in China?

Aside from the affordable cost of living in China for international students, below are some of the best reasons:

  • Achieve top-notch education with specialized courses.
  • Learn Mandarin Chinese to extend your opportunities after graduation.
  • Be influenced by a progressive and modern nation.
  • Create meaningful connections that will assist your professional goals.

Is China safe for international students?

Yes, China generally offers a safe environment for global learners. The country also has specific regulations and laws aimed at protecting them.

Like in any other country, you must specifically take precautions and stay alert. Save the numbers of the police and embassy for emergencies.

What are the student visa regulations in China?

Your student visa is part of the cost of living in China for international students, as you must pay a fee. To know more about the student visa in the country, click HERE.

What is the teaching method and class structure in China?

The teaching method and class structure vary depending on your preferred Chinese university. Lecture-based and interactive classes are generally standard, including practical training.

What are the modes of transportation in China?

China has Metro/Subway, high-speed trains, and buses for land travel. Riding public transportation instead of Grab and other ride-hailing apps is highly advisable as it generally reduces the cost of studying in China for international students.

Can I apply for a scholarship in China?

Scholarships are generally helpful as they lessen the cost of living in China for international students. The Chinese government, some universities, organizations, and foundations may specifically offer this privilege based on your credentials.

What are the best places to visit in China during school breaks?

The country has many tourist attractions to see.

Beijing has the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square. On the other hand, Shanghai offers The Bund, Yu Garden, and Shanghai Disneyland.

Furthermore, Xi’an has the Ancient City Wall, Muslim Quarter, and Terracotta to explore. At the same time, you can go to the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base, Jinli Ancient Street, and Leshan Giant Buddha in Chengdu.

Summing it up

The cost of living in China for international students is indeed worth it, as you get a total immersion in a progressive nation, learn from the best universities, and specifically establish personal and professional connections.

Schedule a free counseling session today and start your exciting educational journey in the world’s second-largest economy!

Moreover, aside from China, learn more about other exciting study abroad destinations through our Virtual Booth. It features other stunning locations in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Finally, regularly visit our Blog Section as we cover everything you need to know about studying abroad!

About the writer

Mark has been a professional content writer for four years. He is an expert in creating articles about education and studying abroad. His writings not only inform but also establish emotional connections with readers.