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If you decide to organize your Internship in China without an Agency, One of the biggest challenges you will probably face is securing an Accommodation. Due to the language barrier and prevalence of fraudsters, foreigners looking to arrange their our Internship Accommodation in the upper tier cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou are sure to face some difficulty. You need not worry about this if your China Internship arrangements secured via a provider. When you just get to China, staying in a hotel is always an option, but there are limited hotels that allow foreigners (laowai，老外). These hotels can be a little pricey so getting an apartment might work out to be cheaper plus; having enough personal space and comfort is an added advantage. There are several options when it comes to securing accommodation for international students in China but understanding the details is key
If you are new to China without a grasp of the language, not knowing the city and not having contacts to help, your apartment hunt might be a daunting task not only finding an ideal location for the right price but also, trying to avoid being scammed and cheated.
For a laowai (老外) who is considering relocating to China for Internship, work, visits or tourist purposes, there are four main tips to consider when looking for an apartment in China. These ranking factors are: Effective Methods of apartment hunting, Location factor, Price factor and Condition of the living places
For many Interns who have lived in China for long, they prefer contacting the landlord(fangdong, 房东) directly to avoid payingagency fees and higher rent than the actual price to agents who are trying to score commission. These charges are intermediary fees (Service Fee) charged by Accommodation Agencies for connecting you to the owners of the room.
If you are an Intern in China and cannot speak Chinese, these methods are safer and recommended;-
Searching online— in the upper tier cities, there is a huge population of foreigners hence there are many websites designed for helping you find apartments. Searching online is especially helpful because the websites are written in English. There are also countless websites written in Chinese for apartment hunting, so if you find a classmate, colleague or anyone who can read Chinese, you will significantly increase your chances of finding your ideal apartment. Searching online makes your hunt easier by filtering the location, type of apartment and price range. Moreover, there are pictures, contact information, and vital information about the apartments before going to see it in person.
Helpful sites to find accommodations as an International Intern:
Agencies–You will remember I mentioned that the services of these agencies are not free but a good Agency will save you so much time and remove the stress associated with finding an apartment as First Timers. They usually list property owners which makes it easier and quicker. Two of the biggest, well-known and most used companies by foreigners “I love my home” (wo ai wo jia,我爱我家) and HomeLink (链家). They are easily found along most streets in the cities and have a broad range of apartments for rent. In some places with manyforeigners, some agents can speak English but if not, these are some of the keywords to use;
Ni hao, woyaozufang- 你好，我要租房(Hello, I want to rent an apartment)
Woyaoyifangyi ting de – 我要一房一厅的(I want one bedroom one living room)
Woyaoliangfangyi ting de – 我要两房一厅的 (I want two bedrooms one living room)
Airbnb- At the dawn of social Economy, these Applications come in handy. Just like Uber, Airbnb allows you to book rooms even before coming to China. Accommodation for international students in China is made easier by Airbnb. It is simple, straightforward and there will be no fraud. I encourage Interns and Chinese language students to make these arrangements before arrival to avoid stress. Consider the location of your internship company or language school before making any agreement so you save yourself some sleeping time. Reseacrh about the locations on line before making any selection. Feel free to send us an email if you need some help. Visit the Airbnb site to read more
Its always good to learn from senior travelers who has been through it all. The famous blogger Normadic Matt in his article how to find Cheap Accommodation listed very comprehensive criteria and factors you should consider while looking to book an apartment on Airbnb. He said “I’ve never had a bad host on these sites”. So let’s run through his lists to order to get rid of the bad hosts. I have also helped moist of my clients sign unto other websites including those listed above using same factors and it works
Aside what Matt listed, we encourage you to make your own assessments and add more questions and factors. The higher the better. If you a novice traveller, we encourage you to follow his blog and read more.
The wisest thing to do is to find a location close to work or school. As expected the apartments close to Central business districts, schools and hospitals are expensive compared to those that are a further away. If you are an international Student looking for a good accommodation, the location will be an ideal consideration. Depending on your budget, college students or graduated may decide to opt for locations closer to their place of study or Host Internship Company.
Major Chinese Cities are structured into rings and the farther the ring, the more affordable the rent gets.
Because of this, you might be forced to live a distance away from work or school. In this situation, the ideal thing to do has become familiar with the transportation system, which in China upper-tier cities are among the best in the world. I strongly advise Interns to consider using the subway system rather than the public bus. Because of heavy traffic and congestion especially during peak hours, commuting by road is much slower in large cities like Beijing andShanghai. It is highly recommended to find an apartment closer to the subway for convenience purposes to avoid traffic, especially during rush hours. Using the subway is faster and cheaper route.
When considering location, you also want to pay attention to the presence of supermarkets and restaurants with foreign products and food as you go through the transition to living in China.
Prices vary depending on the type, condition, and location of the apartments. Prices may range from 2000 – 8000 RMB, but if you do not mind sharing rooms with other people, rent will not be a challenge since you can divide that in two, three or even four.
Keep in mind that rent prices are negotiable so give your price range and remember to indicate price lower than what you budgeted. International Students may sacrifice comfort and go for affordable yet decent accommodations.
In China, there are many old cities with old neighborhoods even in Beijing and Shanghai; you would want to avoid living in one of the older apartments, as they usually look dirty and broken down. You should ask for 新房 (xinfang) new apartment or gang xiu (刚修) newly renovated apartments. The conditions of the rooms as would be expected are much better. Most rooms in China come with airconditions, waters heaters and in the colder northern parts, central heating systems. Ensure that all the utilities work fine before signing to any contract. If you are going to rent a furnished apartment before signing the contract, negotiate for the furniture you want to be changed or added. In most case, the agencies will meet your requirements. If you sign the contract before requesting some changes, you will regret it! Don’t forget to ask lots of questions even if it means using a dictionary and translator.
Let’s then recap all that we discussed above for simplicity sake. Finding an accommodation in China could be daunting, but with little scrutiny and following these simple tips, you can make it quickly. Ask friends to assist you to speak directly to property owners, so you do not pay agency fees which have a tendency of increasing your expenditure. Agencies may not necessarily be a bad idea as they have lots of listed properties and people who arrive fresh could utilize their services. Make sure you look through as many options as possible and compare. Scrutinize everysmallcomponent of the room and make sure they work well. As part of negotiating prices of the apartment, don’t forget to add your requirements especially furniture and fittings to the cost before you agree to anything.
Don’t sign any document till you are satisfied. If the process takes longer, you can settle in an Airbnb apartment while you fix these out. I wish you all the best with the search and don’t forget to drop me a line or leave a message on this Article and I will assist you with further details