Wuhan students’ guide

A guide for new students coming to Wuhan

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International students enjoying at Wuhan social Open House party
International students

Are you getting ready for one of your most entertaining and exciting study journeys although at the end of the world specially in the capital city of Central China which is Wuhan? Great, I guess you are looking for everything that can make you feel more confident about the life you will have over here before getting into a flight? Yes, I understand. Just one word, relax!!! You know why, because as your fellow student I am going to give you an insight regarding students’ life in Wuhan, and provide some useful tips and advices to insure you a great beginning in Wuhan city as a freshman. First, let’s start by telling you more about your new city for the next years.

  • Wuhan City an introduction

    Yellow Crane Tower in wuhan at night
    Historic place in Wuhan

Let me introduce our adoption city as international exchange students. Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province. It lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain at the intersection of the middle reaches of the Yangtze and Han rivers. Wuhan is located in Central China which makes the city near to the major towns like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen etc. with 3 to 4 hours by train and less than 2 hours by flight. The education level of this city is comparatively high than normal city with a lot of universities mostly ranked among the best in china. Many famous universities of this city attracted more and more international students among them:

Huazhong University of Science and Technology (华中科技大学, HUST), Wuhan University (武汉大学, WHU), Wuhan University of Technology (武汉理工大学, WUT), China University of Geosciences (中国地质大学, CUG), Central China Agricultural University (华中农业大学,HAU /HZAU Huazhong Agricultural University) , Central China Normal University (华中师范大学, CCNU Huazhong Normal University), Zhongnan University of Economics and Law (中南财经政法大学, ZUEL), South-Central University for Nationalities(中南民族大学). Wuhan is a city where you can find any university offering the major of your dreams with a quiet, friendly and international environment but not compared to Shanghai or Beijing which are metropoles, just very cozy and peaceful kind of life for a student. Most of international students have fallen in love with Wuhan because of the good life and specially the big international students’ community you may find compared to any other cities around China.

  • Wuhan, what’s shocking and different?

    Wuhan university garden beautiful blossom at Spring
    Blossom of Wuhan university garden

Well, about student’s life in china, by choosing to come and pursue your studies in China, you have to be ready both physically and mentally. Of course, what do you think? You are going at the end of the world dude!!!

But relax, China might be different but it’s wonderful with a lot of exciting daily discoveries in terms of culture, food, funny activities and so forth, you just have to be open-minded. The point that made Wuhan special is it is different with other cities, the way Chinese people speak with each other, the food, the customs, the traditional architecture and the way everything is simple and beautiful specially in Spring with the blossom in most of universities’ gardens specially Wuhan University.

You might experience a culture shock yes but there is no way to be scared because chineses in Wuhan are quite polite and very friendly. The culture is really different from western culture, the way they eat, they dress, they talk almost everything is different in China including Wuhan and I will not get into details I will let you discover by yourself and fall in love with.

The shocking difference might be the time, the city start moving around 6AM and most of all the activities stop before 11PM after that time most of people outside are foreigners. In some schools, they even switch off the lights at 11PM and close all the entrances to the dormitories but that is not all the universities though. For example, a university like Wuhan University of Technology or Wuhan University of Law and Economics the dormitories gates are closed at 11 and most of international students are complaining which is logical because you cannot lock grown persons as if they were children come on!!! Apart from that, life in the campus is quite convenient because you are living nearby all the facilities like supermarket, bus or metro station and you have a gymnasium in every school with a football, basketball and other sports playgrounds which is pretty cool when you love sports and for beating the boredom sometimes. In terms of accommodation, it varies from one school to another, you might share a room or not which is not a bad thing in one hand because people become best friends with their roommate but in other cases they can also get into a fight although it doesn’t happen very often. Well, another point about the classes, if you are going to do your courses in English, trust me you will live a real choc the first time looking at the way some Chinese teachers speak English but between us we have to accommodate and understand that it’s not their mother tongue, however you can have teachers with very good English but those are the ones who graduated from other countries like US or Australia.

  • Wuhan’s Social life

A picture of international students attending an Open House part held by WuhanSocial
International students attending a WuhanSocial’s party

In China, when you are coming to study, the development of your social life is just about your behavior, you can meet friends for life and even find a soulmate if you don’t have one already. In most of schools, they organize some welcoming events to help students blend with each other and avoid homesickness of the first days or in other cases some parties are held in the campus or in some spots nearby the universities to welcome all the newcomers. So, a personal advice, if you decide to attend these parties even if you go alone, you have to talk to people and present yourself do not always wait for people to come to you. Another meeting point, your class, you have to be opened and willing to talk to people so that your classmate will be enthusiastic to be friend with you because all the classes are international with people from all over the world and you can really take advantage from that and learn from each other and have fun. You can even take the initiative to organize something like a dinner, a night out or a visit as long as you are all new sometimes, just plan something and those who are willing to join will probably be your closest buddies for all your stay in China believe me. You will gain a lot by being socially open because one friend can introduce you to another friend and so on and you will end up being part of a whole network and attending all the great events. Most of your friends you will find them that way including Chinese friends even though they are very shy, they are friendly and once you smile at them it gives them confidence to come and talk to you and then a friendship can start with the exchange of WeChat and everything, besides that Chinese love hanging out with friends, offering gifts, asking you tons of question about your town, family, to get improved English and so on. Hence, the key world is to be free and enthusiastic to know new persons every day and you will see that your social life will be great, since it will not be easy every time far from family and you will need people to count on for sure.

  • Good life at low cost

Street with a lot of international brands
Han street at night

As students, we want to get the biggest advantage of everything without spending much. Of course, it is possible specially in Wuhan where life is everything but not expensive :).

First you can eat well without spending a lot considering two alternatives; for those who like cooking you can have all the commodities at very fair prices from the big supermarkets like Walmart, Carrefour, Chicony etc., if you don’t like cooking you can still enjoy local foods which you can find at every corner in Wuhan my best lazy day dish is Chinese fried noodles which are delicious, you can also have international foods made by foreigners. At weekend, you can take a tour to Guangu, Hanjie, Hankou, Tiandi where you can find very cozy places with very nice food. I am a food lover, so I literally try everything no matter the cost but don’t worry food is not expensive in Wuhan and most of the time it worth it.

Second, the weather in China specially Wuhan is very special with the two extremes in cold and heat. So, you might need specific clothes for every season; you can bring your clothes from home or not, considering the fact that you can find everything you need in the city according to your budget from low prices shops to luxury ones. Wuhan is a city where you can find a mall almost everywhere and some small shops selling cheap and quality things. Some places where I like to look for nice stuffs are Han Street, Hankou, Xunlinmen etc. with many international and local shops with reasonable prices following international standards.

Finally, for going out and having plenty of fun at low cost, the secret is to hang out with friends so that all the costs will be shared and let’s be honest it’s always more funny when you are more than three (emojis). In Wuhan, you can easily find a cozy place where you can chill with friends, enjoy good food, have a couple of drinks with a cool environment made of local and international people, most of them are located in Hankou, Hanjie, Guangu etc.

  • Holidays schedule and plans

Passport picture
Passport picture

Holidays in China and specially Wuhan are quiet cool, with two big holidays which are the Chinese New Year from January to February and summer vacation from June to September. Vacations are cool with a lot of things to do in the city, but at summer Wuhan is like hell trust me (burning emojis), nobody is out even Chinese people. Also, it coincides with the end of school and graduation periods with most of international students returning to their countries, so the boredom is real and I know what I am talking about because I have experienced it and I will not do that mistake ever again. Even with that, some people are not very open to the idea of returning home very soon and want to discover as much as possible, so if you are one of those, there is a lot of cool places where you can spend your summer around China at the seaside like Yunnan province or in countries nearby like Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines etc. with quite cheap flight tickets. All you have to do is to find some friends and make a plan so that you will enjoy your summer and discover new paradises. In summary, you have a lot of free times to discover a lot things during those different vacations so take advantage of that once you get in Wuhan and find your squad.

To finish this article, I will just give you one advice, life is short and you will not come this far to stay indoors and not live life. Yes, you should study but you should also bloom while you are young because most of your best life memories you will have them in Wuhan, so guys stop thinking too much and come over, WUHAN is welcoming you!!!

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Aissatou Dieng SARR
Young girl, from Senegal West Africa. Currently studying a Master of Business Administration in Central China Normal University. I love reading, discovering,meeting new people and always ready to help. Favorite quote: Always challenge yourself