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General Questions About Living in Beijing


Where in Beijing is Global Exchange Center located?
Global Exchange is located in Hai Dian District, just north of the fourth Ring Road. It is 15 minutes (by bus) east of the closest metro station call Wu Dao Kou.

WEATHER -- What is the weather like in Beijing?

Winter (December - March) in Beijing is dry, rather cold, and windy. The capital generally experiences one or two snowfalls during winter. The temperature generally hovers around 0 to minus 5 degrees Celsius. Down jackets are recommended. Spring (April - May) is brief but temperatures of 13 - 18 degrees Celsius are pleasant. Occasionally, Sand and grit from the Gobi Desert is blown into the city. These dust storms usually take place around the spring months. Summer (June - August) is hot with sticky humidity and afternoon thunderstorms are fairly common. The average temperature is 26 degrees Celsius but it can get as hot as 40 degrees Celsius. Fall (September - November) temperatures range between 10 - 15 degrees Celsius. Evenings may turn unexpectedly cold so light jackets or sweaters are needed.

What about Money? I will need cash, right? Are their enough ATMs or do I have to search them?
There are plenty of ATMs all around the city. However, often they accept only a selection of different debit and credit card providers. If you are a visa card holder bring that one since it is the one accepted almost everywhere. Of course, most other cards are accepted as well, you might just have to walk around the corner to the next ATM.

I want to see the great wall, but I know it is fairly far away from Beijing. Can you help me?

No problem, our center frequently organizes trips to the Great Wall. Check hour activities wall, and make sure you sign up.

Afterwards or even in between, I would like to travel the country a little bit. Can you help me find an agency?

We’ll gladly help you find an agency for further travel plans. For little things, like booking flight/train tickets, making reservations, etc. we can also help you directly.

Beijing is a big city, how do I get around town?

Beijing has a fairly advanced public transportation system consisting of busses as well as subway lines. Currently, there are 3 subway lines, another 4 are under construction. Upon arrival in our center you will receive an English-Chinese map showing the subway lines as well as the buss lines.


How about if I don’t really like taking busses and subways?
No problem at all, at any given time there are thousands of caps on the city’s streets that just wait for you lift you hand. Additionally, our students have often purchased vehicles themselves. Mostly, they have purchased bicycles, a great way to get to know the city - especially in the summer, but also scooters and motor bikes have been in the possession of our students.


I also want to go out every once in a while for fun. Where do I go, what is there to do?
Beijing is a big city. As every big city it offers almost everything the heart desires. Sometimes if you are locking for something specific, non mainstream you might have to look a little longer, but you will find something. There are hundreds clubs and bars, rap, rock, pop, swing, house, salsa, techno, theatre, ballet – you can find anything. In your center we have magazines free to be read by everyone that give monthly event schedules of the major locations, and also the not so major ones.


Can I buy western goods in Beijing?
Of course you can buy western goods in Beijing. You might not be able to find everything in the store around the corner, and you might not be able to find your favorite name brand of cheese, but generally you will be able to the most common brand names somewhere.


I can’t live without peanut butter; can I buy that in Beijing?
Yeap. Actually, most stores carry all kinds of Skippy peanut butter. ;-)


What kinds of food are available and how much does it costs to eat out?
There are many Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Western restaurants near our center. And in Beijing all together it will be hard for you to walk 5 minutes without bumping into some kind of restaurant or street vendor. Food can also be delivered to your room. On average, lunch or supper costs 10 to 30 RMB ($1.5 to $4) per person, but you can get a filling meal for as low as 4 RMB. Western food is generally a little more expensive than Chinese food. Like anywhere, there is no limit on how high the prices can go. If you desire the luxury of a 5 Star meal, the nostalgic of a bowl of noodles eaten standing on the side walk, or something somewhere in between;? the city has it all


Is tap water in Beijing drinkable?
Tap water in Beijing or any other location within China does not qualify as drinking water. Drink bottled water and processed water only. Living with a host family you will have drinking water available to you at all times. In the dorms and the apartments you can buy a weekly supply of drinking water for as little as 1 Euro.


Opening hours of facilities; when do supermarkets, clubs, bars, etc close?
Beijing is striving 7 days a week. Regular supermarkets generally open around 7 in the morning and close around 9 in the evening. A sign saying “open 24/7” does not necessarily mean that the store really is open that long. Nightlife in Beijing has not time limit. As long as there are enough people bars/clubs will not close. If you need to know exactly about a certain facility, please check it out personally. Don’t rely on the data too closely. A McDonalds that closes at 11 p.m. might already have its doors locked at 10: 30.

What if I get sick and need to see a doctor/go to the hospital? Where do I go? How do I communicate?
In our center you will be able to find the information of hospitals you can visit. And no worries, should something come up over the weekend, you will have for emergency cases two phone numbers to call.

Also, one of our staff can accompany you the hospital to help you talk to the doctor. However, most of the international hospitals have English speaking staff or certified translators present at each consultation.


Is it safe in Beijing?
Like in almost any other big city you should be aware of pick pocketing and take the appropriate measures. Additionally, it is not recommended to walk dark alleys in the middle of the night. Common sense will ensure your safety.

Learn Chinese in Beijing, China with Global Exchange Education Cente, a leading Chinese school in China
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