Chinese Government Scholarship

大家好!

-Hello everyone!-
If you’re here you know that this blog is going to be my soundboard while in China. A travel blog of sorts but I’ll be in one place most of the time. I plan to go to China to study for a year or two, and the subject matter will be Mandarin Chinese.

If you’re here you know that as of 7/24/15 at 9:01AM, I’m still anxiously awaiting my scholarship verdict from the Chinese Embassy in D.C. If there is anything I know about Chinese institutions is that they’re not known for being prompt with these kinds of things and they can be quite disorganized.

I wanted to talk a bit about the scholarship application process. Not the most exciting material but it might be helpful to the fellow wanderluster on a budget. The scholarship is always subject to change (it changed this year) but as of 2015 it covers tuition, a dorm (cheapest option), basic medical insurance, and a monthly stipend to live on (which increased this year because they removed the ‘off campus subsidy’).

The process follows these steps:

Research schools and programs to find the best fit. If you’re choosing a degree program, the school’s prestige will come into play. Language programs don’t matter as much and the city might be more important than the school itself. Some things to consider:

  1. Temperature/Climate – I chose a northern city because I am much hardier with cold weather than I am with hot.
  2. Cost of living – stipends granted with scholarship are the same regardless of your geo, so if you’re in relatively expensive places like Hong Kong or Shanghai, you might need to supplement your income with your own money. You’ll have an easier time making your stipend go further if you’re in a place with a lower overall cost. I did not consider schools in more expensive cities for this reason.
  3. How adaptable are you? – Some cities, like Beijing or Shanghai (or even smaller cities in the richer southern cities) have A LOT of “western” convenience. They tend to have food from pretty much anywhere so you’ll not have to go without some home food comforts. You can find things like 星巴克咖啡 (Starbucks) and Walmart. These tend to be pretty common in more “international” cities. Sometimes size of the city is a good indicator, but in some cases, smaller coastal cities might have more international influence than a larger western one. Should this be important to you, find out what’s there! Google maps is a beautiful thing. My city of choice I chose specifically because it’s more “Chinese” and less of an international city. I’m going to China, not the UN! In general though, if you’re a ‘go with the flow’ kind of person like me, you’ll probably be fine.
  4. FOOD – Of course food is relevant. If you do not like spicy food AT ALL, perhaps Sichuan isn’t a good fit. I typically recommend to people to try the cuisine if they can before making snap judgements. While Sichuan food is spicy, it isn’t ALL flaming asshole spicy. It depends on the dish, so if you have some ability to handle averagely spicy dishes, it might be something you can handle, especially if you’re there and will adjust to it. Just bring the Pepto Bismol. Another food consideration: If you don’t like seafood. I was so annoyed at the lady in my English teaching group when I was in Zhejiang who would always be like “I don’t like any seafood” and she’s getting free food in a coastal town. She was a nice lady, but I’d think “woman, eat the goddamn food that’s given to you”.
    1. SIDE NOTE: Don’t go to China if you’re even picky with American food. Like.. be open to trying things as best you can and you might be surprised! When in Rome… 
  5. Pollution – Of course it can’t be a talk about China without talking smog! While China is generally a bad place to go if you don’t like pollution, it varies wildly from east to west, north to south. Consider your own possible problems with poor air quality. For most people, the time  you’ll be in China to complete a degree or language program, will not impact your life. Get an air filter for your room and you’ll be fine. If you’re more sensitive that this is a major factor for you, go south to Fujian to escape the worst of the smog. While I wouldn’t go to some of the worst areas, Anshan is still better than Beijing, but I wasn’t too worried about it as long as it wasn’t at like 170 on the air quality index every single day.

You’ve found some good choices. Now what? The next phase of the application process is to reach out to the schools you’ve found and start narrowing down to 3 choices (if you’re not there already). You will want to ask specific questions that you cannot answer using their website. Some good questions are, “Are utilities/is internet included in dorms?” This is not always assumed! You will want to know when the registration times are because it can be as early as Aug 28th or as late as Sept 15th. This might be a factor for your schedule or working situation.

A big thing that helped me narrow down the schools based around communication and immersion friendliness. My 3 choices ended up being Anshan Normal University, Dalian University of Foreign Languages, and Zhejiang University of Science and Technology in that order.

My reasoning for my first choice is from the perspective of a cold/winter loving language student who is fearless:

Anshan Normal
Pros – Cold, my contact at the school was quick to reply and give good complete answers. She was super helpful along the way and took a lot of the stress out of the process. I want someone like that in my corner. Low cost of living, and the school is within the city so walking around and exploring will be easy! Easily upgraded to single room for cheap. Yay privacy!
Con – Pollution is a bit worse than other two, a bit inconvenient to get there as flights direct to Anshan are super expensive.. I have to go to a nearby city or Beijing first then take train.

The other two schools were either, hot, not super responsive, or I would be stuck in a double, triple, or quad room. They were good choices though, and wouldn’t be depressed to go to them. Dalian is the city I’d want to go to the most.

Once  you’ve narrowed your choices down to 3 schools, email them and inquire about a preadmissions letter. This is a big deal and you’ll want to include it in your CGS application. Now some schools do not give them. If they do not respond or advise they do not offer such letters, then you won’t be able to include it, but that’s ok. If you CAN include it you want to, but it doesn’t mean you won’t get scholarship without one. Having one just increases your chance of getting your first choice school since the school is advising CSC (Chinese Scholarship Council) they will accept you. If you put a first choice down, with no letter, then the CSC will contact the school to see if they’ll take you but they might not. The result is probably the same either way but you’ll get added peace of mind if YOU know that you’ve been accepted to the university already.

Getting a pre-ad letter is usually pretty easy. You send in highest diploma, transcript, passport, and anything else they might email you for and it only took my letter 2 days to be emailed to me after supplied all of my materials.

The application for Chinese Gov Scholarship is April 15th, but you want to start getting materials well in advance as some might take you awhile. The application and required documents are on the Chinese Embassy site. Of these documents some are obvious like a notorized copy of your diploma. Other forms can use a bit of explanation or some protips:

  1. Medical Form (filled out by a physician):This part can be a pain as you need blood work done and a chest exam. Seems extreme but this medical form is used for the student visa you’ll need. While there are plenty of people who will say on the forums that talk about this subject matter, that the medical exam isn’t necessary, it can be grounds for your application being tossed. I wouldn’t risk it and strongly recommend providing all that they ask for in the manner they ask (translated, notarized, etc). Keep in mind this is only valid for 6mo so you probably want to finish it and  have it signed for sometime in March. You’ll likely have to get a medical exam when you get to China anyway though. Annoying!!
  2. AGENCY NUMBER: this is at the top of the actual CGS application. It should be correct. If you’re applying through the People’s Republic of China Embassy in Washington D.C. then your agency code is 8401. If through a university, they should be able to tell you but there is also a list online of Chinese University Agency Numbers on CUCAS.
  3. Study Plan: This seems strange at first. I remember thinking, “My study plan is whatever my professors tell me to do..???” This is basically a paper telling the Chinese Government that their culture is awesome, the language (or University) is awesome, why you’d benefit greatly to study in China over other places, and some good things about “global understanding” and “cultural connections”. Basically tell the Chinese Gov why you want the scholarship and why you deserve it, but make sure they know why it’d be good for YOU to go there. This is actually pretty easy for the US applicant.. it’s no secret that China and the US are always looking to better relations. To have a better understanding of the rich Chinese culture, language, and ancient history to help enhance and improve relations between two great and powerful nations. Yeah. If you’re doing a Masters or PhD and actually DO have a legitimate ‘study plan’ or something then you can focus on that a bit more. As a language student, mine would be a bit more fluffy and fuzzy.

Try to get your materials in before April, so if you’re missing anything or if something is wrong, there is time to get it fixed. The Embassy or University (depending on who you apply through) will contact you if anything is wrong.

The waiting game is strong with this one. You will expect to wait. And want. AND WAIT. You will hear rumors on the forums or people might “know” their results in June. Don’t believe a word of it if you applied through Embassy. Each year, typically masters/PhD students find out first.. but as a whole, university-route applicants will find out before those who apply via Embassy. For this reason, it’s smart to apply through the university if you can! If you’re doing a degree program, you have a choice, but language students will have to go through the Embassy. As of today, July 24, 2015 the embassy applicants worldwide are only now receiving their responses. None have recieved their materials in the mail, but some Chinese Embassies have called their applicants or emailed them that they are recieving the scholarship. So far us US Applicants are playing the waiting game. So much stress!

I have tried to write a quick guide on some key components of the scholarship application process that might be helpful to someone. Please ask any questions in the comments below if I have missed something! With a good 1.5 years being on top of the process and asking questions, I’m pretty familiar with it now.

再见,
Shiloh – 陆冬恋

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12 thoughts on “Chinese Government Scholarship

  1. Daniel says:

    Hello There ! Hope you be really great and having a great time in China,

    First of all I’d like to apologize because my english is not fluent, but I have enjoyed reading all the experiences you had live there, thanks for share all your experiences , some are reflectives, inspirationes, funny and more!

    I’m also applying for a scholarship in China, but in my case i’m looking to get a degree , but here is get i get some doubts and I’d appreciate if you please bassed on your experience could help me 🙂

    I have applied through an agency in my country, which is a mediator between the chinese embassy and all the candidates , I have already submitted all my documents, and the deadline is on march 9, and If i result elected that agency will give me a letter which I should present on the chinese embassy and get some letter from them to get to start the preadmision process.

    in April 1 I’ll now the result of the filter of the Agency, if I get elected I must continue to colombian embassy.

    here is when I have my punctual doubts :

    All the targets universities i have choosed, the deadline for the admission letter is on March 1, so if I will know the final result ending July, and is Suppose I must start in september of the present years, all the universities has special dates for admision letters of scholarships students ?

    If I also apply for a chinese year learning(Sep 2016 – Sept 2017), how is suppose I’ll get an admision letter for start in September 2017 ?

    I’d appreciate any questions or theories haha 😉
    Thanks so much for your support and help.

    Regards, Daniel

    Like

    • I’m sorry I didn’t notice your comment, I’m only now getting back on here! So late!!!

      But I wouldn’t worry so much about the “Pre-admissions Letter”.. while it’s really nice to have, I found that many universities cannot get it to you in time. However, keep trying to get one because sometimes the embassies will ask for one later.

      I submitted my admissions notice for this school with my initial application, but a few weeks later, I got emailed from my embassy (it was clearly a mass-email, not for me specifically) requesting any pre-admissions letters. So the USA Chinese embassy at least, is well aware that pre-admissions notices can be too late.. they might email for it later.. But I’m not sure as I’m assuming you’re not from US.

      The most important thing is to keep trying to get admissions letter in case this happens. Also be sure to choose 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice schools because USUALLY the CSC will try to honor your 1st or 2nd choice. Of course there are exceptions but usually this is the case. The CSC will “apply” for you to the university if you do not have admissions already so not having a letter will not exclude you, but it does help.

      Let me know if you have any more concerns, I’m not sure I fully understood your question, I’m sorry!! I hope I was helpful and thanks for reading 😀

      Like

  2. Daniel says:

    Thanks for your kind answer ,

    I still have a doubt and maybe based on your experience you could help me 😀 , I have selected one chinese learning language year for this period (Sep 2016 – Sept 2017) so, how works the CSC in this case, because I don’t know if I can get any kinf of preadmision for sept 2017.

    Thanks so much and hope you enjoy your time on china 😀

    Like

    • If you do not have a Preadmissions letter, as far as I know the CSC takes care of everything.. don’t stress about it. Keep contacting the school.. you might have to wait and get a regular admissions letter (I know Tsinghua University is like this) as some schools simply don’t do “Pre”admissions because of their school size, or whatever other reason.

      Can I ask what your first choices are? I’m curious!

      Good luck!!

      Like

  3. Daniel says:

    Hello, sorry for reply late,

    My three choices are :
    Tsinghua University,
    Sun Yat Sen University,
    Shanghai Jiao Tong University,

    Today I get a letter from the CSC saying that I’m a possible candidate and with that letter should search a pre admission or admission, hope they don’t get long time for answer me :/ .

    Like

  4. Daniel says:

    Hi!!

    I got the award letter from CSC on April 12, and when I tried to apply to Tsinghua they reply some like : “There’s no CSC places, please contact other university”, but I have the Admission letter from Sun Yat Sen University and the pre-admission from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, so it seems that Guanzghou will be waiting for me : )

    Like

  5. Lau says:

    Good morning, considering am less informed about the education system in China,  you are Best in helping.

    (1) I have completed a degree in 2013 (Finance) and had my MBA in financial management in 2016.
    However I would love to read another master degree in International trade. Is it allowed  and posibble ? and would I have to submit my MBA transcript??

    Am also Intrested in applying for the next academic year 2017/2018. When is it suitable to apply/request for a pre admission letter.?

    Thank you

    Like

    • Hey Lau! Ok so as far as I know, you can do a Masters scholarship program even if you already have one, but I’m not 100% sure. I can refer you to http://www.Chinese-Forums.com and they will have whole forums dedicated to Scholarship programs specific for MBA programs. But as I said, I THINK so. You can also call or email the Chinese Embassy in your country for the most current information.
      Usually the requirements for scholarship are more that you are in a certain age range.

      As far as the Pre-Admisssions letter, that depends on the school. The only thing you can do is email each school you will be considering and asking about their individual policies.

      For example, Tsinghua University in Beijing does not offer “Pre” Admissions letters… meaning you must wait until normal application period (after March) to apply normally. This means if you’d like to go to a school like this, you cannot obtain a Pre-Admissions letter but trust me, it’s not that important. Usually the embassy will contact you at a later date for your admissions later if you didn’t already include in your original submission.

      So the first step is to email schools asking if they offer pre-admissions letters to prospective Chinese scholarship MBA students. You may be able to start doing this now so that you give the schools a lot of time to respond.. they get busy after Chinese New Year.

      The normal time you’d submit your application materials is about March to April, depending on country so ensure you know the details for your specific embassy timeframe.

      Like

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