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Handbook of Chinese Language Learner

I.  Student Life at ZZU

a. Chinese Language Classes:

All language classes are designed to provide an enjoyable and effective curriculum by combining core Chinese language or Business Chinese classes with guided language practice.

Current class schedules for Small Group Classes (short term, semester, and academic year programs) are as follows:

Weekday Classes:

M-F 8:30-12:30 or 14:00-18:00 (20 hours/week)

M-F 8:30-12:30 and 14:00-16:00 (30 hours/week) – Intensive Program

Weekend Classes:

(Saturday and Sunday)

10:00-12:00 or 13:00-15:00 (4 hours/week)

10:00-12:00 and 13:00-15:00 (8 hours/week)

Private class times are flexible, but must be worked out with ZZU and your professors in advance. Classroom availability for Private classes is on a first come first serve basis with priority given to group classes. Additional Small Group class times may be available. Please contact Department of Teaching Chinese as an International Language at SIE of ZZU.

b. Proficiency Level and Placement Tests

All students for Small Group Classes will initially be placed in classes based on the level of Chinese language proficiency they have stated on their application. Upon arriving in Zhengzhou, each student with Chinese language experience will be given a placement exam. This test will be used to ensure the class placement is correct. If necessary, students are free to apply to have their class assignment changed in order to find the pace that is right for them. Department of Teaching Chinese as an International Language will also continually monitor student progress and may periodically make changes to class assignments to ensure students of the proficiency level and rate of progress study together.

c. Attendance

Although attendance is required, students are expected to attend class and maintain proper pace with their class.  Failure to attend class for a significant period of time, without explanation, could result in dismissal from the program and withholding of the program completion certificate. Refunds are not granted for lack of attendance or program dismissal. Program attendance can be deferred by applying to SIE for necessary and urgent absences over two weeks in duration.

Private Program students have flexible course times and dates, and can determine their schedule with Department of Teaching Chinese as an International Language and their language professors. Private students are also expected to meet with their professors at the scheduled times.

Changes can be made to program structure and course availability at any time. Please our staff for complete details.

d. Exams

Several small exams will be given to Small Group and Private Students throughout their course. Exams are primarily used as a review tool for students and to also help language teachers understand student progress. Some students find it valuable to have more exams and quizzes and are free to request them at any time.

e. Course Certificate

All semester or longer students will be evaluated by their instructors and given a Certificate of Course Completion after they have successfully completed their program. Evaluations will consist of classroom participation, exam results, attendance, and general Chinese language proficiency.

f. HSK

Department of Teaching Chinese as an International Language also has programs to help students to prepare for and take the HSK examination. The HSK is the national Chinese Language proficiency test. Students that wish to take the HSK should make it clear at the beginning of their program. Based on your level of Chinese, Department of Teaching Chinese as an International Language will help you set appropriate goals for the HSK examination. Students are not required to attend seminars or HSK testing, but it is highly encouraged. ZZU also encourages all other students to take the HSK at some point during their language training. Our staff can assist with any information necessary for testing.

g. Language Partners

Language Partners are a great way to quickly enhance your Chinese language, gain cultural understanding, and meet new Chinese friends. If applicable to your program, Language Partners will be introduced upon request toward the beginning of the program. A typical exchange would include one hour of Chinese and one hour of English, but this can be structured anyway the Language Partners would like. We do our best to match proficiency levels and ages when assigning Language Partners.

h.   After-class Tutors

Department of Teaching Chinese as an International Language has after-class tutors available to assist all students with any questions or problems they may have. After-class tutors are also a great information resource for students to find things in and around Zhengzhou.

I.   Electives, Social Events, Seminars, and Trips

ZZU frequently holds elective, trips, and events courses for students that wish to attend. Sample elective programs include:

    Free Chinese Club

    Chinese Cooking Classes


    Tai Chi

    Chinese Music


j.   Student Lounge

A student lounge area is provided for students to relax, study, and socialize. Only students, staff, and authorized guests are permitted in the student lounge. All students are expected to treat the area with respect. Alcohol, drugs, smoking, illegal activities, and all forms of disruptive behavior are not tolerated. Any damage caused to school property is the responsibility of the student.  ZZU is not responsible for theft, loss or damage of student belongings. Misuse of ZZU property, including computer access, can result in language program dismissal.

II.  Daily Life in Zhengzhou

a. Accommodation

ZZU offers a variety of accommodation options for students. Including:

   •Home Stay –

The best option for students wanting to quickly master the Chinese language and experience Chinese culture is our Home Stay accommodation option. Home Stay students are given the opportunity live and learn with a Chinese Host family. Each Host Family is selected based on a number of factors, including: convenient location, comfort and cleanliness of the home environment, quality of the meals provided, educational background, and lifestyle. For privacy and convenience all Home Stay options provide a private room. Each room is furnished with new and modern furniture including a bed, desk, chair, and closet. Additionally, two meals (breakfast and dinner), electricity, gas, and water are all included. International telephone calls will incur additional charges and are to be paid by the individual.

   • Private Apartment –

Each modern apartment is equipped with a bedroom, a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen. The living room has sofa, coffee table, TV (including cable), chairs, Internet access, telephone and DVD player.  Each bedroom has a bed, desk, chairs, and large closet for clothes and personal belongings. The kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, microwave and basic cooking utensils.

   • University Dormitory –

University Dormitories are fully furnished and comprise of two bed-rooms, a bathroom and s sheared kitchen. The room has a sofa, coffee table, TV (including cable), chairs, internet access, and telephone. Each bedroom consists of a bed, desk, chairs, and a large closet for clothes and personal belongings. The kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, microwave and basic cooking utensils.

b. Electricity

Electricity in China is 220 volts.  Plugs in most apartments and buildings are both the two pin style (but without the ground wire) and the three angled pin style. Extension cords and surge protectors that fit nearly all style of plugs can be easily found in all supermarkets. If you need power (voltage) converters, however, please bring them with you. They can be difficult to find in China. If you come from a country that uses 110 volt power, please check that your electronics are dual voltage (both 110 and 220 volt compatible). If they are not, you will need to use a power converter.

c. Internet

Free internet access is available at ZZU in the student lounge. These computers are only for basic internet access, therefore, changes to computer settings and/or downloads are not allowed. Additionally, internet service, for those with computers, is available in each ZZU sponsored apartment. Please let us know when you arrive at ZZU if you will require internet service and we will help you set it up.

It is important that all students recognize Chinese laws and partake in responsible internet use.  If any student is found to be using the internet for anything that is unethical or contradicts Chinese law, internet service will be immediately suspended and dismissal from the program may be possible.

d. Laundry

All apartments and Home Stay accommodation options have a washing machine and a place for line drying clothes. Clothes dryers are not typically available in China. Additionally, there are several inexpensive professional laundry and dry cleaning services around ZZU and the private apartment complexes.

e. Phones

Landline Phones – All accommodation options are equipped with a landline phone for making local calls (by request only for apartments). Students wishing to make international phone calls from their landline phones will need to purchase an IP Card.  IP Cards can be bought almost anywhere, including the small convenience markets around the apartment complexes. The selling price of an IP Card is usually about half of the card’s face value (e.g. 100 RMB card generally sells for around 40 RMB). We recommend using Skype for making international calls as it is the most convenient and inexpensive method.

Mobile Phones – Most students select to purchase a mobile phone and phone number when they arrive in China. If you have an international compatible phone, you can just purchase a phone number (SIM card). If you do not currently have a compatible phone, phones can easily be purchased for between 500-3000 RMB. Monthly service subscriptions are not needed when signing up for mobile phone service.  Both Chinese mobile phone operators use the pre-paid billing method, where you purchase airtime and load it onto the account for your phone number. Cards can be purchased in 50, 100, 300, and 500 RMB denominations. Mobile phone numbers (SIM cards) also need to be purchased.  Please be aware that phone numbers with lots of 8's and 6's will be more expensive as they are considered lucky in China; whereas, numbers with lot's of 4's will be less expensive as they are considered unlucky.

f. Climate

Zhengzhou weather changes drastically from season to season. Summer months are hot and humid with a light rainy season from May to August.  Fall is the most comfortable time of the year with mild and cool temperatures. T-shirts, shorts, and other light clothing is the most suitable for summer and fall. Winter temperatures, however, come quickly around late October/early November. Winter temperatures are cold and dry, so dressing in multiple layers is appropriate. December through February may require long-underwear, wool sweaters and down jackets. Spring brings mild temperatures, but strong winds, and dust storms can still make temperatures a bit cold.

g. Clothing

Spring: Light jackets, jeans, long-sleeve shirts – days can be warmer, while nights may still be a quite cool.  Summer: T-shirts, shorts, light pants, summer dresses, and other light clothing. Autumn: T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, jeans, and jackets or sweaters for the evening. Winter: Long underwear, jeans, long-sleeve shirts, sweaters (preferably wool), down jackets, overcoats, scarves, gloves, and earmuffs or caps. Clothing is both cheap and easy to find in Zhengzhou, so it is advised that you pack light. Anything you will need, for any season, will be readily available.

h. Fitness

There are many fitness centers to choose from in the area near ZZU. The quality is generally up-to-par or superior to Western standards, however, the price is usually more than you would expect to pay. Keep in the mind that prices will decrease per month if you buy a longer membership.

i. Food

Chinese restaurants and Muslim restaurants can be found on ZZU campus with all prices ranges and styles. At local hole-in-the wall eateries, meals typically cost 5-10 RMB ($0.60-$1.25). Nicer Chinese restaurants can range between 20-40 RMB ($2.50-$5.00). China is both a large and diverse country, and this is especially reflected in the different types of regional foods. If you aren’t already familiar with Chinese food, you will soon learn that Sichuan style food is very different from, for example, Shanghai style cooking. Every region of China has its unique cooking style, and in Zhengzhou you have the opportunity to sample food from all of them.

One of the best aspects of Zhengzhou is its wide variety of international cuisine. Restaurants specializing in nearly every kind of international fare can be found near ZZU and both apartment complexes. Examples of international restaurants include American, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Indian, Thai, Korean, and Italian. At restaurants offering foreign cuisine, you can expect prices to be higher than most Chinese restaurants. International cuisine generally starts at around 40-80 RMB ($5.00-10.00) and can be much higher depending on the restaurant. Supermarkets and small grocery stores are also readily available in the area near ZZU.

j. Health

Climate - Many students when they first arrive in Zhengzhou suffer from colds, coughs and sore throats until they can get used to their new climate and environment. Part of this is due to the fact that the temperature in Zhengzhou can change drastically from day to day (especially during the winter months).  During most of the year the climate in Zhengzhou is very dry and dusty. It is therefore very important to keep yourself both warm and hydrated.

Food and Water-Nowadays in Zhengzhou you can eat almost anywhere without having any digestion problems. However, for those with an easily upset stomach, it is advised to choose the places you eat very carefully.  It is also advised to avoid street vendor food, at least until you have become accustomed to the local diet. Water from the tap in Zhengzhou is safe for brushing teeth, but it is not advised to drink without first boiling. Tap water is also fine for making both tea and coffee.

Medicine–Chinese pharmacies are easy to find and are very cheap if you are in need of cold or other types of medicine. You can often find many medications that would require a prescription in other countries for sale over-the-counter.  If you do not feel comfortable using Chinese medicines or have specific allergies, there are also western pharmacies available that offer most over-the-counter drugs.  Watson's is the closest to ZZU, located on the bottom floor of the World Trade Center shopping mall. The International SOS clinic has English speaking doctors on staff, as well as, an on-site pharmacy if you should find yourself in need of a prescription. If you have any concerns about prescriptions please contact ZZU staff and we will do our best to locate the medicine for you.

k. Insurance

Medical and accidental insurance is not required to enter China or to attend ZZU language courses, but it is highly recommended. Please check with your current insurance provider to see if it will cover you while overseas. If not, it is advised to purchase medical and accidental insurance before starting the program.

l. Safety

Zhengzhou is an extremely safe place to both live and visit. In most cases, the worst thing that can happen is you meet a pickpocket. You can help to avoid any possible trouble by always paying attention to yourself, your property and your surroundings. This includes not flashing money or personal valuables, or inviting trouble in anyway. It is also advised to always keep your belongings locked up in a safe place when you do not have them with you. If you should encounter any trouble, please immediately let ZZU know and we will help direct you to the appropriate police to report the crime.

m. Transportation

There are several transportation options available in Zhengzhou from which you can choose, depending on your budget and time restraints. These include: walking, bicycle, subway, taxi, and private driver. Please use caution however, when riding a bicycle or walking throughout the city. In most situations the pedestrian does not have the right of way, and minor accidents between vehicles and pedestrians are common. By paying attention and using common sense it is possible to avoid any problems.

Bicycle:Riding a bicycle around Zhengzhou is both easy and effective way to travel. You can purchase a used bicycle for around 150 RMB (or approx. $15-20). New bicycles are a bit more expensive, and it is not recommended to purchase one as they are often stolen. Typically the most average looking bicycle is the best.

Bus:Bus tickets range from 1 RMB to 3 RMB depending on distance. There are several bus routes in Zhengzhou, with bus stops in nearly all locations. Buses with air-conditioning generally start at 2 RMB. Bus cards are available for 20 RMB offering up to a 80% discount on rates.

Subway:The Zhengzhou Subway is one of the easiest and fastest modes of transportation in the city; although, it may be a bit crowded during rush hour. There are several basic subway lines, in use, with more on the way. Subway tickets are 2 RMB or more for the main subway lines. Access to the subway are located at east and south gate of ZZU.

Taxi :Taxi’s are available in Zhengzhou anytime day or night, and are by far the most comfortable means of transportation. The basic fee for taxis is 10 RMB before 11pm and 11 RMB after 11pm. This fee includes approx. 4 km. The charge per km after the initial 4 km is 2RMB. A sign should be clearly posted in the window of the taxi showing the rate. Please be aware of private taxis that do not have a visible rate sign, license and/or meter. These taxis may try to charge you much more than the going rate.

Private Driver:If you are looking to take a trip outside of the city or have special need, private drivers can be hired relatively cheap in Zhengzhou. Many students choose to rent a car and driver for trips to other areas just outside of the city.  Driver's can be found by many APP such as Uber and DIDI. You also can use Wi-chat to contact private driver.

n. Mail

All ZZU students are able to have their mail sent the school address for ease of delivery.  Students can collect their mail from the ZZU reception area. Both packages and regular mail will be accepted for you.The address of School of International Education is: School of International Education, Building 17 Liuyuan Park, Zhengzhou University, 100 Science Avenue, Zhengzhou, Henan, PR China, 450001

It is also important to note some differences when mailing letters from China. If the mail is domestic, the Recipient’s Address is written in the upper left hand corner of the envelope, and Recipient’s Name is written in the center of the envelope. Sender’s Name and Address are written in the lower right corner of the envelope. International standards are accepted for letters sent outside of China.In domestic Mail, the postal code must be written in the red boxes in the top left corner of the envelope to help ensure delivery.

o. Money

There are three names for China’s currency:  Ren Min Bi (RMB) is the formal name, Yuan (元) is the normal name, and Kuai (块) is the informal name. In everyday life, “Yuan” and “Kuai” are both very common ways to refer to money. Yuan/Kuai comes in smaller denominations as well. 10 Jiao (角) make up 1 Yuan/Kuai, similar to a dime.  In spoken language, (as opposed to written) a Jiao is called a Mao (毛). Ten Fen (分) make up one Jiao/Mao, similar to a penny.

Paper Notes - include  1 Yuan, 2 Yuan (rarely found), 5 Yuan, 10 Yuan, 50 Yuan, 100 Yuan, 1 Mao, 2 Mao (rarely found), and 5 Mao. Paper notes of 1 Fen, 2 Fen, and 5 Fen are also printed but rarely found.  100 Yuan is the largest note printed, and the size of paper notes decrease with the value. Coins - are found in the following denominations: 1 Yuan, 5 Mao, 1 Mao, 5 Fen, 2 Fen, and 1 Fen. Renminbi (RMB) is the formal term that encompasses all monetary denominations in China.

Fake bills are found throughout China, but are becoming rarer. To minimize your chances of receiving a fake bill, you should get change for 100 Yuan notes in legitimate stores, and use smaller change when buying from a street vendor or taking a cab.  In the case that you have to use a 100 RMB bill in a less-formal setting, you should feel each bill that you receive to check their genuineness (fake bills usually feel like regular paper).

1. Changing Money

There are many places to change money in the Zhengzhou. There is no need to shop around for the best rates because they are uniform throughout China. Make sure that you bring your passport because it is required when you change money at a bank (for all transactions at a bank, you must have your passport). Not all banks change traveler’s checks.  

2. ATMs

ATM’s are found throughout the District and only some accept all foreign-issued credit and debit cards.  ATM’s only dispense RMB, and there is maximum amount of cash withdrawal allowed per day.

When a foreign-issued card is inserted into an ATM that does not accept foreign cards, the machine may keep the card (this is very rare). When this happens, a request must be made to bank personnel for retrieval of the card. Your passport needs to be presented for purpose of identification. When the ATM is not directly connected to a bank (although they usually are) the location of the ATM and bank name must be noted so the bank can be contacted afterwards for retrieval of the card.

3. Credit Cards

Although internationally issued credit cards are accepted in Zhengzhou, they are accepted at a limited number of establishments, mostly better hotels and selected restaurants, malls, and shops.     The most frequently accepted credit cards are Visa and Master Card. The predominant mode of payment in most parts of Zhengzhou is still cash.

4. Opening a Bank Account

There is no minimum deposit in Zhengzhou for opening a savings or a checking account. Your passport must be presented to the bank when opening a bank account. Bank of China is highly recommended as in case of remittances from abroad, this bank has the fastest processing and shortest lead-time. If you would like assistance with opening a bank account in China, ZZU will be happy to help you.

Please be aware that some international banks require that you set up wire transfers in person. So if you are planning to wire money to a new account in China, please verify any restrictions with your home bank before you arrive in China.

5. Western Union

Western Union money transfers can be sent and received at all Agricultural Banks of China and many post offices throughout Zhengzhou. You need only to bring your passport to collect money transfers. Please note that the maximum amount collected at a time is USD 2000.

p. Chinese Holidays

ZZU students can make use of Chinese national holidays for travel and recreation. The following Chinese Holidays that are recognized:

January 1, New Years Day, No classes

January 28-Feb.3rd, Spring Festival/Chinese New Year, Winter Vocation

April 4, Qing Ming Festival, No classes (exact date TBD)*

May 1-3, Chinese Labor Day, No classes (exact date TBD)*

May 30, Dragon Boat Festival, No classes (exact date TBD)*

October 1-3 National Holiday, No classes

October 4, Mid-Autumn Festival, No classes (exact date TBD)*

* These holidays are all 1 day.  Exact dates will be determined by the Chinese Government and will be posted after the official announcement date.

It is important to note that for Chinese New Year, International Labor Day and National Day, the holidays are usually scheduled to include a full week plus the weekend, so the total vacation period will range between 5 and 7 days. The extra days of vacation are usually made up during the weekend following the vacation period. Please check to confirm the exact dates. Also, please note that Christmas Day, December 25th is not a holiday in China, and if applicable, classes will be held.

q. Shopping

You will find that almost anything you would ever need or want can be purchased in Zhengzhou. In the upscale malls you can buy nearly every label imaginable, but expect the price to be equal to or more than you would pay back home. You can also find many quality Chinese brands in both malls and shopping districts at a much cheaper price. Free and open-air markets are also available in every district in Zhengzhou, and offer name brand clothing at greatly reduced prices. You must use care, however, when shopping in Free and open-air markets to ensure the products you buy are both quality and authentic.

Additionally, almost all supermarkets now have a foreign foods section and carry many western brands for household goods and hygiene (at a much higher price of course).  There are also a couple of grocery store chains that specialize in carrying foreign products.

r. Toilets

Most new and modern buildings in Zhengzhou use sitting toilets, the most common are still equipped with squat toilets. This is especially true once you get a little outside of Zhengzhou. Toilet paper is not often available in public restrooms, so it is advised that you carry some with you at all times. Also, squat toilets are not designed to dispose of toilet paper like sitting toilets, so to avoid problems please use the garbage bin beside the toilet and do not flush the paper.

s. Visa Extension


All students studying at ZZU must first register for a tourist (L), F, X1, or X2 visa in their home country, whichever applies to their program.  L visas can be requested for 1-3 months. If your stay at ZZU is longer than your original visa, ZZU will assist you in extending your visa. Students will need to pay the extension fee; however.

*Please confirm with ZZU regarding your visa requirements prior to arriving in China as the visa policy changes frequently and cannot be guaranteed.

The Visa Duration and Extension

Visa L: The L visa ranges from 30-90 days and can be extended once to an F visa. This policy changes frequently and L visas may not always be extendable to F visas.  Please confirm with ZZU prior to arrival if you are planning to use this method.

Visa F: The total extension time for F visas can add up to no more than 1 year.  ZZU will assist students that need an F visa once they arrive in Zhengzhou.

Visa X: ZZU will provide students studying in China for more than 6 months an X xisa. Students applying for an X visa will also require a physical examination. The physical examination will include, but is not limited to: Medical History, Height, Weight, Blood Pressure, Vision, Heart, Lungs, X-Ray, ECG, Blood Test. ZZU will assist students with the visa application and physical examination requirements.

Student Registration with the Police station

All students are required to visit the local police station after their arrival and register for temporary residence. You will be required to bring your valid passport, visa, rental contract, and 1 passport size photograph.  ZZU will assist all Gold Package students with this process. You will need to retain your Form of Temporary Residence and submit it with any visa extension requests.

t. Contact Resources and Numbers

The following phone numbers are available for needs you may have in China:

1. ZZU Language Center - (86 371) 67739073 Contact Ms Yang Yiwei for teaching learning affairs, and Student affairs Office - (86 371) 67739529 Contact Ms Zhang Maggie for student affairs.

2. Police - Dial 110

3.  Fire Department - Dial 119

4.  Ambulance - Dial 120

u. Patience

We look forward to you starting your Chinese Language program. If this is your first time in China, we respectfully ask that you approach everything with patience and understanding.     There are several process and culture differences that may be very unlike your home country.        This is part of the beauty of China, but it does take some adjustment. Please be aware, that some things are efficient and easy, while other things may be less efficient and challenging. We will do everything possible to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable, but there are many things outside of our control and must be accepted as part of life in Zhengzhou.