One of the biggest concerns when studying abroad is how to budget your money. Here are some tips to help your yuan stretch farther and allow you to better enjoy your time in China.
One of the biggest sources of funding for SF State study abroad students is the Gilman Scholarship. If you’re eligible for Pell Grant, you’re eligible for this federal scholarship that awards up to 8,000 dollars for a year of abroad. The online application for spring 2018 opens in mid-August. In addition to the Gilman Scholarship, there are many scholarships, including some by the Chinese government that can help you fund your trip.
2. Eating Chinese food
Chinese food is delicious, so why wouldn’t you want to eat it? Beijing has a wide variety of Chinese food from all over the country, so you’ll never run out of options. More importantly for this post, Chinese food is much cheaper than non-Chinese food. An average meal at one of the many little resturants in the city, can cost you as little as 15 yuan, or 2-3 dollars. An average Western meal will cost you about 10 dollars. Eating on campus is also a great option to save money.
One of my favorite meals in China. Only 16 yuan
3. Travel to more affordable places
Over the winter break, I traveled to Korea, Thailand, and Southern China. I spent more on my week in Korea than the other two trips combined. If you want to save money, I suggest going to more affordable destinations, like traveling within China or Southeast Asia. If you get a good deal on your plane tickets, a trip to Southeast Asia can be very affordable. If you go during the winter, it’s also a nice break from the Beijing cold.
4. Ride bikes
Bike sharing has become very popular in Beijing. It’s a great way to see the city and it’s also cheaper than taking the subway. Some companies give you a free hour each ride if you use your student card. After that, it’s only 1 yuan per hour. It’s one of my favorite ways to get around the city.
5. Seek out free activities
Two of the biggest museums in Beijing, the National Museum and the Capital Museum, are free admission if you bring your passport. The National Museum, in particular, is huge and you could spend a whole day there. They both have great collections of ancient and modern Chinese artifacts. In addition, there are also many parks and lakes that are free or have a very low admission price.