The People’s Republic of China, simply known as China, is a country located in East Asia. It is the continent’s largest country and at the same time, it is the world’s most populous one. Currently, there are around 1,416,687,000 individuals residing in China. Moreover, its capital is Beijing.

In China, the majority of the population speaks Mandarin. However, other major dialects are also widely spoken such as Cantonese, Hunanese, Min dialect, Gan dialect, Wu dialect, and Kejia or Hakka dialect. As for religion, five main ones are being practiced: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism.

Being one of Earth’s oldest civilizations, it is only natural that China is a country with an immensely rich history. In line with this, it has loads of tourist destinations. A few of these include The Great Wall of China, The Forbidden City, The Summer Palace, The Classical Gardens of Suzhou, and The Bund.

Aside from the above-mentioned landmarks, folks who take a trip to the country also come there for the food. China has a delectable cuisine and lots of its dishes are loved and well-known across the globe, like Peking duck, chao fan, hot pot, dim sum, char siu, and a lot more.

Over the past few years, approximately 500,000 students from countries far and wide have chosen to study in China. Some factors that are attributed to this large number of international students country include the generous scholarships as well as the cheaper tuition offered by many Chinese institutes of higher education. Here are the best cities in China for international students!

Top Cities to Study in China for International Students

1. Shanghai

The city of Shanghai is the first on the list of best cities in China for international students and is considered the main commercial and industrial center in the east-central of the country. Furthermore, it is a highly populated place and 25,200,000 individuals are presently residing in the said urban area. On another note, Shanghai is absolutely perfect for international students who prefer city life. It is not only a top tourist spot, the location, in general, is also great for those who are actively looking for new career opportunities.

With that being said, international students can also land a job in Shanghai if they would like to have a side hustle while they pursue their education. The city is big on commerce and finance, and it is also known for its top-ranking universities. Some of these include Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tongji University, East China Normal University, and Donghua University. Additionally, Fudan University, a public research university that is a reputable and highly selective institution in China, ranked #31 in the QS Global World Rankings for 2022.

2. Beijing

China’s capital city, Beijing, is perfectly balanced in terms of being a cultural and historical place as well as a hustling and bustling modern hub. Before the 15th century rolled around, Beijing was formerly known as Beiping which translates to “Northern Peace.” Moving on to the city’s attractions, these include The Forbidden City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to this, Beijing is also the home of The Great Wall of China, which is part of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World and the New Seven Wonders of the World.

For international students who plan on moving to Beijing, it is a great choice of city in China as there are a handful of prominent universities to choose from like Tsinghua University, Peking University, Renmin University of China, Beihang University, and Beijing Institute of Technology.

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, Beijing’s Tsinghua University is the 16th best tertiary education institution worldwide. As for prospective individuals who plan on entering a field that is focused on engineering, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and the like, the Beijing Institute of Technology is an excellent option.

3. Hangzhou

Hangzhou is another great city for international students in China and is the capital of a coastal province located in the eastern part of China called Zhejiang. It is also dubbed “Shanghai’s Backyard,” due to the fact that it is relatively near the said city. There are many must-see areas in Hangzhou, including West Lake’s famous bridges, Yue Fei Temple, and Lingyin Temple.

When it comes to the city’s most outstanding centers of learning, these are Zhejiang University, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou Normal University, Communication University of Zhejiang, and China Academy of Art. Students who are interested in taking up a media and communication-related study program may choose to go to the Communication University of Zhejiang, which is a leading Chinese university in the aforementioned field.

4. Shenzhen

In Guangdong province, there is a city named Shenzhen that connects mainland China to Hong Kong. It is a vibrant location that is popular for its recreational spots such as shopping malls, parks, and more. In addition to this, Shenzhen is a top city in China for international students who wish to study in the country, and more than 12,800,000 persons call Shenzhen home at the moment.

Students from overseas who are about to move to Shenzhen should consider the following institutes of higher education: Shenzhen University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK-Shenzhen), and the Southern University of Science and Technology. Shenzhen University, for instance, is a respected public university that came in at 327th place in US News’ 2022 Best Global Universities.

5. Chengdu

Chengdu is another top city for aspiring international students who want to study in China. It is the capital of southwestern China’s “Land of Abundance,” which is the Sichuan province. It has been the province’s capital since 1368. As of 2022, the population of Chengdu is at 9,479,000. In this city, there are also several places frequented by tourists but perhaps the most notable one is the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. More than that, visitors would likely be glad to know that Chengdu is China’s happiest city as stated by the results of a survey from Oriental Outlook.

On the topic of universities, there are quite a few options in Chengdu such as Sichuan University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Southwest Jiaotong University, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, and Chengdu University.

Furthermore, Sichuan University is one of China’s prestigious universities. The institution has 34 colleges that concentrate on 12 learning areas which are agriculture, art, economy, education, engineering, history, humanities, law, management, medicine, philosophy, and science. Moreover, one of China’s founding fathers, Zhu De, as well as a Chinese national hero Jiang Zhujun, are alumni of the said center of excellence.


We hope that this article on Best Cities in China for International Students was helpful. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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