Global and International Studies
Beijing Language and Culture University, China
Man oh man, the cost of living. In any country, being a college student is going to be hard. The first month is paying for anything and everything in order to not be kicked out before classes start. For example, tuition and housing. Many people told me that things would be cheaper in Beijing. They lied. Not only did China devalue their currency before I arrived but I also attend school in one of the most expensive parts of Beijing. I live in Wudaokou, or what most people would say is, Korea town. The South Korean students that come to Beijing and attend University are most of the time very wealthy, so buying brand name items are easy for them. Paying tuition in cash, no problem. Then theres me. The American attending on scholarship. I had four different scholarships that helped pay for my schooling. None of that money is given to me for free spending. So whatever I needed to buy, I had to pay for with my own money.
In America, I can do a lot with 50 dollars. Go to the dollar store, a movie, maybe stop by forever 21 and get a few new tops off the sale rack. Here in Beijing, 50 RMB (Chinese currency) can get me, a meal in a nice restaurant, …maybe. There is no dollar menu at McDonoalds, KFC is a sandwich might be 17 RMB. Don’t think about the conversion. Think about how much that item is in that currency. One dollar is six RMB. So you’re thinking, wow everything is cheap! No. China devalued their currency, what does that mean? Prices go up. Way up. You want that new MAC lip gloss that’s just came out, okay, you look at the price 200 RMB. Well if I convert it, that’s not bad, but oh wait, China has a luxury tax on their items. Any American brand item is now a luxury.
Don’t get me wrong, you can find super cheap things in China. If you don’t mind eating street food, only eating at the school dining hall, living off of instant noodles and never going shopping, sure, you’re good. You can bargin in Beijing at a lot of the shopping malls. So you need new shoes, what are most of the sizes in China, small. In America, you can find your size in clothes or shoes, in Beijing you should be thin, short, and have small feet if you want to freely shop for women. I have saved a lot of money on clothes because I can’t buy anything.
By now you’re probably thinking that you don’t want to come to Beijing. Hold on. Don’t get scared. It’s 2015, what does that mean? The internet. Where do most people in China shop? Online. Want something cheap and good priced? Shop online. Need new shoes? Shop online! Don’t worry! There are ways to get around the high prices. Instead of trying to buy a new purse or new shoes, save up for a train ticket and go to another city, it’s cheaper.