5.1 Home Sweet Home

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Welcome to Search Headquarters.

I am stationed on the 5th floor at Zhongguanxinyuan (中关新园), a mere street away from Beijing University’s East Gate.

It was miracle of connections to even land a room in this place. According to my meticulous research, unless you are an undergraduate, scholarship or well-connected student, it’s impossible to get a room here. Most of my programme-mates live 10-minutes away, at Wudaokou (五道口 aka. foreigner party central).

My room came equipped with a bed, a desk, a closet, and a chair. Plus, a little living room with a TV and a washroom (with a Western toilet!) shared with my flatmate. Yes, just one other person. Unlike the building across me, where all scholarship students reside in. Theirs are rooms shared between two people, and floor-wide communal squatting-washrooms and showers.

I am a lucky, lucky girl. Strike #1.

My room faces the lovely little courtyard, where many a-foreign student gather for some beers, games, and chitchat.

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Lovely isn’t it?

Especially when you’ve compared it to what the domestic Chinese students have to live in: a 4-bunk bed room, with squatting toilets and large communal sinks shared with the entire floor (more than a dozen rooms all with four people in each one), with a bathhouse that is an entirely separate building (imagine showering in the winter. Absolutely brutal).

I’ve been a lucky, lucky girl. Strike #2.

Their closets are less than half the size of mine…

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What heaven I live in.

Of course, I pay a lot more for it. But that just goes to show how more privileged I am to be able to afford such outrageous rent. My monthly fee can outstrip the rent for Chinese dormitories for an entire year!

I’ve been a lucky, lucky girl. Strike #3.

And I’m out.

Now it’s time to work hard (and play hard, of course!).

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2 thoughts on “5.1 Home Sweet Home

  1. Hi! I came across your blog when I was researching PKU’s accommodations, I’ll be heading there next month for their Intensive Chinese Program. I then clicked onto the rest of your posts and I’m instantly hooked on your blog! You remind me so much of myself in reverse, I’m Malaysian Chinese, moved by myself to Melbourne when I was 16, and then to London one and a half years ago for my Masters, and now I’m going to Beijing. It’s really amazing what adventures you’ve got up to in life! I’m really worried about heading to Beijing because my Chinese skills are barely passable (sorry Chinese grandparents I have sinned) and it just sounds so big and scary, but you’re making me excited for what’s to come! 🙂

    Hope you enjoy London, it’s been the best couple of years in my life here. 🙂

    • Hi Katie! I’m so so glad my blog have helped quell some of your anxiety. That’s a huge part of the reason why I keep writing! I was feeling the same nerves and confusion as you when I first went abroad to France. I also had a language barrier and was afraid of how vast Paris seemed. But as daunting as it looks, you will settle in in no time and meet some of the most amazing people in Beijing. The food is fabulous (its cleanliness is questionable, but don’t think about that, haha!). The culture abundant. The history endless. See as much of Beijing and China as you can. Meet as many people as your energy allows. Experience as many things as time permits. I know for certain that no matter how tired, sick, bleak some days may be for you, you will miss it once it’s over. So enjoy every bit of it.

      In the meantime, I am loving London so much that I’m hoping to stay for a few more years after graduation! This is really one of the greatest cities on Earth!

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