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.
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…
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!).