NYU Stern

Peking University: Student Feedback

PKU Student Profile
Student Profile

Sonia Zhang

Expected graduation date:
May 2015

Career goal?
I want to become a portfolio manager in the field of asset management and open my own restaurant someday.

Highlight of my semester abroad:
Traveling through China and eating amazing food everywhere!

Interesting fact I learned about the country or school in which I studied:
The PKU campus is simply beautiful and it used to be a part of the royal gardens for the imperial family in the Qing Dynasty.

You might be interested to know:
I'm an avid foodie, especially for Chinese food, and I like to cook as well.

What I would say to students considering participating in IBEX:
Just do it! Embrace uncertainties and challenge yourself. Going on exchange is a bold decision that takes a lot of courage, but the benefits and experiences you get in return makes it totally worth it!

Contact me about IBEX PKU:

Feedback from Students:


"I used my ATM card from home, but cash is definitely a need in China as most of the places don't have the accommodations for card spending."

"Cash! However, I did have a bank card too."

Expenses (Per Week)

Housing: $1,800/semester
Food: $30 - $50/week
You can eat on campus with the use of a meal card, which you have to apply by visiting the meal card center on campus and depositing money on the card. Though many students order take-out, from many restaurants that offer take-out service. Sometimes when it gets cold, take-out is the preferred choice. It is slightly more expensive than eating on campus.
Local Transportation: $10/week
Books (per semester): $100/semester
Entertainment: $40-$50/week
Phone Calls: $100-$150/semester
You can get an international cell phone or SIM card for your phone
You can use Skype (but download it in the US first - otherwise you might have trouble downloading it in China


"Three of us lived in Zhongguanxinyuan (Peking University International Students Global Village) for about 2700 yuan a month. That's about 400 dollars a month. This is an independent apartment with affiliations to the school where you share a suite with another student. You have your own bedroom, however, which is nice."

"Some students lived nearby in Wudaokou, a popular student-hangout region. There are a plethora of restaurants, shops and convenience stores around there that make eating and living easier."


"Course registration was primarily done online. Their Fall course offerings were published about two months before we arrived."

"Strengths: A China-focused learning environment where everything we learn fits contextually with China. At the same time, everything is very focused on "international" perspective and emphasis on cross-cultural learning (very helpful for ISP!). Weakness-- English may not have been everyone's strongest language so there were times things were reduced to great simplicity."

"Quality of instruction varied (similar to Stern), workload varied (similar to Stern)."

Course Recommendations

"My favorite class was probably China in Transition. It was especially stimulating not because it was a Chinese Economic History 101-type class, but an analysis of China's growth in comparison to the rest of the world."

"I loved my Operations Management professor. She was so passionate about the subject. I also recommend Survey of Chinese Culture in Modern China if you are looking for cultural context."

Student Life

"I was actively involved with GISA (Guanghua International Students Association), which organizes dinners, events and a "buddy" system where a local Guanghua student serves as your mentor."

"I participated in the International Day as a volunteer and joined a of couple student organizations at PKU."

"We socialized mostly with other international students since we all took classes together."

"I had never met so many people from all over the world before! It was very easy to meet people given the international appeal PKU has."

Culture Shock

"You will receive culture shock even if you are well-traveled and have been to the country before. This is because you are actually living there for a semester, not passing through on vacation."

Travel Tips

"It was relatively easy, since Peking University had a ticket office where you can easily purchase tickets."

"Biggest traveling tip: If you travel. Make sure you are fluent in Chinese, or a friend is. Otherwise, you will be easily scammed as well have a hard time in your travels."

"Tips: prepare for October break accordingly (when whole country travels). Keep in mind government controls the train prices. It's not as easy as in the US to book things online in general. No discount travel."

Restaurant, Club and Shopping Suggestions

"Taiyro (all-you-can-eat teppanyaki grill), Gongti Stadium / Xidan (shopping for souvenirs and fake-merchandise) / Sanlitun (nice bars, restaurants, shopping district) / Wudaokou (near PKU, bars, restaurants, shopping district) / Vix/Mix - most popular clubs in Beijing, Gongti Stadium / Hou Hai - scenic area in Beijing with clubs, bars / Tiananmen Square (should see Mao's Mausoleum, People's Hall) / China Philharmonic (tickets on piao.com.cn)."

"Restaurants -- Sanlitun village, / Shopping areas-- Beijing zoo, Sanlitun village / Clubs--Chaoyang/Worker's Stadium (Vics, Mix, Suzie Wong, etc) / Must-see sites: Summer Palace, 798 Art District Zone / Wudaokou is great for restaurants, international students, cheaper clubs/bars, etc."