Wilbert - Peking University

B Biomedical Science
Semester 1, 2019

Academic experience

I decided to move away from my major and study Chinese language at Peking University. It was a unique experience as it was unlike university in Australia and more like high school, with scheduled classes. However, I enjoyed a different learning style as it gave me a break from my current stressful studies to enjoy China. The main challenge was getting used to everything being in Chinese, however all my classmates had different speaking levels and had different grasps in different areas, which allowed us to mutually benefit. The enrolment process was relatively simple. We completed a self assessment beforehand and completed an interview at Peking University to ensure we were placed at the correct Chinese level.

Personal experience

I gained a myriad of personal experiences from the exchange. This exchange allowed me to develop friends throughout the world and develop myself professionally. These friends also made travelling more fun, when we went to Xi'An, Chengdu, Chongqing and Jingdezhen. These places often had people speaking in different dialects, which further developed my listening and speaking skills.


I lived on campus through Peking University Global Village. This process was simple for exchange students as the university would leave some rooms for us prior to our arrival. Other students who paid tuition themselves to arrive found it harder as they were trying to get rooms similarly to how we all compete for our SI-net sign on. Living in China was a different experience compared to living at home, as you had to be independent of your own expenses, travel etc. I did appreciate the location of my accommodation, as a 10 minute walk was enough to arrive at Peking University. I would almost definitely recommend living on campus, as it makes your life easier and you do not have to be worried about getting ripped off with the private market extra fees.


I budgeted around $10,000 AUD and used around $9,000 AUD throughout my trip. The rent was $3300 CNY (around $680 AUD) per month and that covered all fees except food. Internet was bought directly off Peking University at around $2 AUD per month after conversion. Food was very cheap, especially on campus where you can get a filling meal for $3-4 AUD and meals outside of university were up to $10 AUD per meal. Travel was very convenient as there is a subway station right outside Peking University and you could use Baidu Maps (Chinese version of Google Maps) to direct yourself easily. Of course, organising travelling was the most expensive as the high speed trains can be more than $100 AUD


My biggest challenge was getting more comfortable using Chinese, especially at the start of the program, where more specific terms were used at the bank and organising a phone number. Patience and downloading a translation app were very helpful in communicating effectively to ensure everything went smoothly.

Professional Development

I developed good Chinese communication skills during my exchange, which furthered my ability to communicate effectively without any misunderstandings. This contributes well to my professional development as being able to be relatively fluent in another language will be very useful in effectively communicating and making others feel more comfortable.


The highlight was meeting lifelong friends from all over the world and being able to travel around China and experience a different lifestyle.

Top tips

My first bit of advice is to research the university and consider why you would like to do an exchange there. Make sure you pre-install useful apps such as Baidu Maps, Didi, AliPay, and WeChat to name a few. Once you are at the university, adapt your lifestyle and make the most of your program, whether that be joining different clubs or getting a chance to explore different cities throughout China. Time sure flew for me and exploring has definitely been the highlight.