Hangzhou Dianzi University
💼 Bachelor: Business Management
⏳ Oct 2020 — Jun 2024
Hangzhou Dianzi University
💰 Partial Scholarships Available
🤓 25,000 Students
🌏 4% International
How I decided to study in China
I am not one of those students who always dreamed about a specific country and ended up applying there. I wasn't particularly interested in Asian culture, even though I spent a lot of time in Asia.
It all started when my mom learned that some of her friends' children were studying in China. She suggested that I consider this option. At first, I wasn't sure about it, but after some discussion, we decided that the experience of international education was worth a try. The country itself wasn't as important as the fact that I would be getting an education outside of Russia.
About my university
When choosing a university, I started by considering different cities. Hangzhou caught my attention because it is close to Shanghai and has a thriving business community. In fact, Alibaba, a well-known Chinese e-commerce company, was founded in Hangzhou. Additionally, one of the founders of Alibaba had studied and later taught at my university, which had a strong focus on business education.
The availability of scholarships was another key factor in my decision-making process. I applied to several universities and ultimately chose the one that offered the best scholarship opportunities.
Finally, I was drawn to the fact that the program at my university was conducted entirely in English.
The application process took about two months and I used the services of an agency to help with the process. Some of the documents I had to submit included:
Application form with basic information about myself
Transcript (translated to English)
Motivation letter, also known as a "study plan," explaining why I wanted to study in China (not at a specific university)
In China, academics are very important to universities. Like any other school, they also want to see proactive students who will contribute to the development of the university, such as starting a new club. As a result, the admissions committee looks at individual achievements, but grades are still a major factor in the decision-making process.
For the past six years, I have been committed to volunteering and used this experience in my university application. My volunteer work has provided me with the opportunity to organize international events, collaborate with other volunteers, oversee volunteer centers, and even establish new ones. In the past year, I served as a member of the organizing team for a series of events held throughout Russia, where were helped organize thousands of forums.
There are many scholarship options available at my university, both from the province and the university itself. It can be challenging to navigate these options, as much of the information is in Chinese. However, my university is part of the 111 Project, which is directly overseen by the Ministry of Education, and as a result, has a high budget for attracting international students.
In my first year, I received a scholarship of 20,000 yuan (2,870 USD) per year from the province. Tuition costs 18,000 yuan, and the cost of housing is 5,600 yuan. An interesting fact is that education for foreign students is often cheaper than for local students. The university tries to attract as many foreign students as possible, as it is prestigious for the school.
Scholarships must be applied for each year. In my second year, I did not receive a scholarship from the province, but I did receive one from the university that still fully covered my studies. This year, in my third year, I received a partial scholarship of 10,000 yuan and am covering the rest of my expenses myself.
These merit-based scholarships are given based on good academic performance and involvement in various activities. For example, I received extra points for being a class leader.
Diversity of student body
As the class leader, I have a lot of interactions with students from my major and other majors, and I've noticed that there can be communication difficulties due to cultural differences. Previously, I thought that differences in mindsets don't exist, but I've come to realize that I've mostly interacted with Europeans throughout my life.
My university has students from a wide variety of countries, including Arab, African, Asian, and also CIS countries. There are a lot of Moroccan students, who seem to be very fond of China. There are also a few American students, but they are more isolated cases rather than common practice.
Academics and workload
Chinese people are very patriotic and education in Chinese universities is geared toward developing their country. As a result, when they find out that I am a foreigner studying in English, they understand that I most likely will not stay in China after graduation. This seems to be reflected in the way that teachers approach their teaching, as they do not seem to be as invested in my education. For example, they do not respond to messages from students outside of class time, and we do not receive feedback on our work. Most of our grades are only revealed at the end of the semester when we see our final grades.
While the coursework itself is not necessarily difficult, the first year was challenging for me, especially because I was studying online and there was a significant time difference. It has become easier in subsequent years, and now I have classes three or four times a week. During these classes, we are not required to turn on our cameras and the lectures are mainly done as live streams, with an option to watch recordings if we miss a session. We use American textbooks for our coursework.
In addition to my studies, I have been working full-time for the past two years. While this has caused me to fall behind on my scholarship requirements a bit, I am still able to manage.
Student life at my university is quite active, but the school tends to separate foreign and local students by organizing separate events for each group. There have been instances where teachers have scolded Chinese students for talking to us, foreign students. Recently, I helped organize a major sports championship at the university. The school was very supportive, but it took a lot of effort to convince them to allow both Chinese and foreign students to participate together.
One of the benefits of studying at my university is that the campus is huge and has everything students need, including sports facilities, swimming pools, cafes, and more. However, one of the challenges is the distance from the rest of the world, as it can feel like you're living in a "university bubble." Additionally, the Chinese government's censorship of the internet means that we have to use our own apps (like WeChat and VooV) rather than global services.
In the future, I do not plan to continue studying or working in China. After living and studying here for three years, I have come to realize that the country's mentality does not align with my own values and preferences. It's possible that my perspective might be different if I were physically living in China, but my interactions with Chinese people over the past three years have been sufficient for me to make the decision to move on.
Instead, I am planning to study in Scandinavia and have already begun learning Swedish. I am interested in pursuing a degree in Human Rights, and it makes sense to me to study this subject in a country with a strong track record in this area. Scandinavia also has great scholarship opportunities!