Practical information

Making your transition into student life in China a little easier

The best thing for me was learning about China, meeting people from other backgrounds/countries, and being stretched intellectually by my course and lecturers. I recommend others to go for it!

Alejandrina Catalano, Consultant Editor, USA

student food by Hye June SeoPhoto: Trying delecious food in Beijing by Hye June Seo

Once you have a confirmed offer for the LSE-PKU Summer School, it's important that you investigate and organise for the following:

Visas, travel, arrival and accommodation

Visa, travel and arrival

LSE-PKU Summer School participants are responsible organise their own visas, travel and arrival plans, however we are happy to offer advice if needed.

Please visit our visa, travel and arrival page for information and guidance. Please contact us with any questions. 

Please note: According to Chinese law and regulations, students must register with either an X1, X2 visa or a residence permit. Students with other types of visa will not be permitted to register.


LSE-PKU Summer School participants are responsible to find and organise their own accommodation, however a number of rooms have been reserved at the PKU Global Village for LSE-PKU Summer School participants.

Please visit our accommodation page for more information.


Travel and personal - The LSE-PKU Summer School provides no insurance cover for you during your stay. Prior to leaving your home (country), you need to make a decision about the level of insurance cover appropriate to the possessions you will bring with you. Although you will be able to take simple steps to protect your possessions, electronic equipment (such as laptops, iPods and digital cameras) are highly sought after by petty thieves and, therefore, should be considered ‘at risk’. You should also consider luggage insurance, in case your bags are lost in transit.

Medical - Please ensure you have personal medical insurance. Beijing has excellent hospitals and emergency rooms, and we will provide details of these when you arrive. It is also imperative that you have your medical insurance details with you at all times.

Chinese doctors’ prescriptions can be easily filled in one of the nearby pharmacies. We recommend, however, that if at all possible you bring an adequate, labelled supply of any prescription medicines you regularly take as ingredients in medications sometimes vary from one country to another (remember to keep them in their original containers). Also, please note that medication names vary from country to country, so consult a pharmacist if you are unsure. We also ask that you declare any known illnesses/allergies, in confidence, to the staff at PKU during or before registration so that we have access to this information should an emergency arise.

All participants should organise insurance which covers the duration of their stay before they arrive to China which covers the duration of their stay. 

Budget and money


We broadly estimate that you should allow £500-600 for accomodation (for fourteen nights). It is recommended that participants budget approximately £350 for meals and other additional expenses during the LSE-PKU Summer School.Costs will vary depending on your lifestyle and requirements, so it's important you do your own research.


The currency in China is the Renminbi (abbreviated to RMB) and also sometimes referred to as ‘yuan’. The sign for this is ‘¥’ and each yuan is subdivided into 10 jiǎo (角), which in turn are subdivided into 10 fēn (分). If you have not already arranged to exchange currency in advance, you can exchange money at the airport on arrival in Beijing. Many banks and ATMs that accept foreign cards can be found on or near the campus, where you can withdraw money in RMB.

Credit Cards - Foreign credit cards can be used in large hotels, the most upmarket restaurants, and to buy aeroplane tickets, but for virtually nothing else. Visa, Mastercard, JCB and AmEx are the most widely accepted. Cash advances on foreign credit cards are available at the Bank of China, but usually only from the main branch in each town. You’ll need to bring a passport have to withdraw at least 1200¥. The commision is 4%, but AmEx users don’t have to pay it. Don’t be fooled by the visa sign outside other Chinese banks and in hotels – it refers to Chinese Visa.

Mobile Payment - Alipay and WeChatPay are China’s two biggest mobile payment services.

Food and shopping


With the exception of Beijing’s best-known culinary export, Peking Duck, most of the city’s most famous dishes have been adopted from surrounding areas; Hebei, Shandong, Inner Mongolia, and Xinjiang.

On-campus - There are many cafeterias on campus offering low cost options, further details will be provided in the pre-arrival guide.

Off-campus - Outside the Southwest Gate of PKU and across the street, you will find the Changchunyuan Food Street (畅春园食街). There are plenty of affordable Chinese and Western restaurants.

About a 10-15-minute walk from the PKU Global Village  (Zhongguanxinyuan 中关新园), there is a street of restaurants that provides a variety of choices. You can take a bus from Zhongguanyuan Station (中关园站) and get off at LanqiyingStation (蓝旗 营) (only one stop), and you will find many restaurants on the south side of Chengfu Road (成府路).

A bit further away in Wudaokou (五道口), Zhongguancun(中关村) and Haidianhuangzhuang (海淀黄庄), there are Pizza Hut, Mr. Pizza, Korean and Japanese restaurants, as well as other foreign cuisines. You can get there either by bus or by subway.


On campus - There is a Family Mart, a Guoan Community store, and a fruit store located at Building No.29. There is also a Guoan convenient store at the New Sun Student Centre (underground).

Off campus - Convenience and fruit shops are found on the 2nd Floor of Building 4 in PKU Global Village. Wudaokou (五道口) is a popular area with supermarkets including Lotus Yichulianhua (易初莲花), Chaoshifa (超市发), Watsons (屈臣氏 Quchenshi), shopping stores, restaurants, cafes, and book stores. You may also take buses to Carrefour/Jialefu (家乐福), a French franchise supermarket. Carrefour, together with an array of boutiques, restaurants and other shops, are located at Zhongguancun Square (中关村广场)

Power and mobiles/ cell phones


China runs on 220V/50HZ power. The main power outlet type is ‘I’ type but ‘C’ type plugs work with an adaptor. Please ensure you bring the correct adaptors with you and that any electrical appliances are suitable for use in a 220V system. You can use your electric appliances in China if the standard voltage in your country is in between 220V - 240V (as in the UK, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa).

Mobiles/ cell phones

Most international mobile phones work in Beijing. However, you are still advised to check with your phone operator on the costs for making and receiving calls, texts, internet data use etc. before departure.

Data roaming can be very expensive, so 3G or 4G users may want to buy a local SIM card. There are 3 main telecommunication providers in China, each with their own SIM contract packages and telephone system requirements. China Unicom is usually recommended. You can find such telecommunication vendors near campus.

Please note - You will need your passport in order to purchase a SIM card and sign a real name registration contract.


Beijing’s weather can be hot and humid with occasional thunderstorms in August. The average temperature range is from 21°C to 30°C (70°F to 86°F) although temperatures can reach over 35°C (95°F). It is therefore important to pack suitable clothing (cotton and linen are especially good since these fabrics are breathable and can help to take perspiration away from the body and keep you dry) and an umbrella can also be useful for rainy periods or indeed periods of high sun. Sunglasses are also advised. It is also a good idea to dress in light layers and to take a good, light-weight waterproof jacket.


While the LSE-PKU Summer School is fully taught and assessed in English, the official language in Beijing is Mandarin. Part of the enjoyment of attending the Summer School is experiencing a new country and culture beyond the classroom, which includes its language. 

For those who do not already speak Mandarin or who are not attending our two week Pre-sessional Chinese Language Course, it may be useful to learn a few basic phrases to help when you are out and about in the city or elsewhere. It may also be a good idea to purchase a bilingual English-Chinese visual dictionary which includes images which you can point to when trying to make yourself understood.

Click here to learn about our Pre-sessional Chinese Language Course

There are many websites which also include free online introductory courses, here are a few:

BBC Languages - Chinese

Radio Lingua Network - Chinese

The Open University - Chinese