The course starts in February and September every year for approximately a four month semester and a minimum 20 hours a week of class instruction.
Tuition fees: RMB 9,500/half year; RMB 19,000/year;
Application fees: RMB 500/person.
Nanjing University has the most expensive language program in Nanjing but is slightly cheaper than comparable programs at the top universities in Beijing and Shanghai. The higher tuition fees do not necessarily reflect a premium in quality but more so the reputation of the university in China.
The Nanjing University Language Center is perfectly situated in the downtown suburb of Gulou and offers a convenient location which is becoming increasingly rare in China. In recent times many universities have vacated lucrative real estate in the city centre and built huge concrete university campuses in the city outskirts. While local Chinese undergraduate students at Nanjing University have all been sent to the new campus in Xianlin, foreign students remain on the old campus in Gulou. The old campus is an architectural treasure, with ivy laden towers, green lawns and a maze of historic buildings. The spectacular Xuanwuhu Lake and City Wall are a 20 minute walk away, and the city centre, Xinjiekou, is a similar distance in the opposite direction. Close to campus, students are spoilt with three bakeries, including the famous Skyways Bakery (an institution in Nanjing!), as well as a smorgasbord of coffee and drinking options. The proximity of two bars, both called Talking just 25 metres from the teaching building must also set a university record in China! There is a reasonable number of food options around, including Korean, Japanese, Italian, hamburgers. However there is unfortunately a lack of quality Chinese food options. Nanjing food doesn’t seem to be a big favourite with foreigners but there’s still the odd delicious Sichuan, Xinjiang and Dongbei restaurant close by as well.
Many students stay at the Xiyuan International Students’ Apartment at Nanjing University; which offers private on-campus accommodation including single and double rooms. Accommodation at the bottom end is basic, with communal shows and squat toilets, but the slightly more expensive rooms on the top floors are well equipped with toilet and bathing amenities. The other foreign student accommodation building above the classroom building offers a much higher standard and includes bathrooms. Most students move out and find accommodation off-campus for a similar rate for their second semester. The best way to find a room to rent is to ask around when you arrive to Nanjing or check out expats websites (Nanjing Expat website and Hello Nanjing). Decent short-term accommodation down the road from Nanjing University can be found at Jasmine Youth Hostel. At the start of the semester the hostel is full of students all in the same boat looking for accommodation, so you might just find a new housemate there! Overall, taking a dorm at the university is the easier option and especially if you’re new to China, but with patience and the right help it is not difficult to find higher quality accommodation off campus.
The Nanjing University Chinese language program has a reputation akin to most universities in China for a heavy focus on grammar and comprehension, and which caters more to prospective degree students seeking a bridging course and where less ardent students go for a semester to party. Despite Nanjing University’s overall high reputation as a university, the reputation of the language program itself does not rate all that high for teaching standards. Whilst there are certainly some excellent and experienced teachers at the university, the program does cut corners by sourcing numerous inexperienced postgraduate students (majoring in teaching Chinese to foreigners). The student community in Nanjing unanimously cite Nanjing Normal University as offering a better quality language program.
Nanjing University has a large foreign student body of Korean, Italian, German, American and Australian, and English is generally used outside of the classroom. The program has a great party atmosphere and particularly in the summer with students drinking cheap Chinese beer on the steps of the foreign dorms. There’s also a lot of mingling outside and during classes. For those keen to study hard there are ways to avoid the party scene, especially if you live off campus. In general, Nanjing University has a lax study atmosphere and teachers are very lenient.
The Australia China Youth Association is very active in Nanjing, and Nanjing University students drive this initiative so keep an eye out for opportunities to participate and join events. Nanjing has little to offer in regards to part-time internships with multinational companies but there are plenty of English jobs advertised online on the Nanjing Expat and Hello Nanjing. In recent years a number of Australian students at Nanjing University have featured on Jiangsu TV station’s famous Feichang Wurao reality dating show. To access TV opportunities in Nanjing its all about who you know and asking around will eventually lead to the source. For Mandarin speaking foreigners, there are definitely a lot opportunities in Nanjing for 15 minutes of fame!
Asia Options Verdict
Nanjing University no doubt has a prestigious reputation and a beautiful campus, but the teaching standards of the Chinese language program as a whole are certainly not outstanding. For a better study experience in Nanjing we recommend Nanjing Normal University. Nanjing University though is an excellent option for a beginner who is on the younger side, keen to party and content to enjoy a relatively easy study load. Attending ‘Nanda’ will also earn you lavish praise from Chinese people because of the university’s prestigious reputation.
Good party atmosphere
Mixed teaching standard
Lax study standard
Surplus of English speaking foreigners
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