China Studies: China - Study Abroad

Provides a starting point for China Studies, including resources to find books, articles, newspapers, etc. This page also includes Chinese studies course guides, and information of travel to China.

Tips for Studying Abroad

This info graphic was designed by KU graduate Beth Fentress. The content was created with research by KU linguistic anthropology graduate student, Laura Searcy.

Study in China Library Information Page

Welcome to the library information page for China Study Abroad!  Any KU student interested in study abroad in East Asia should contact the country-specific study-abroad advisor in the  Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, and also contact the Study Abroad Office for specific information and advising. This page provides general information about studying and traveling in China. Information on this page will help you in preparation for your studies, travel and life in the Middle Kingdom. From acquiring a visa to learning about transportation to reading about previous traveler experiences, come to this page often to find assistance in planning your trip. Also learn about scholarships at KU that can help launch your East Asian study abroad experience!

Chengde summer palace

Travel guides

Tourist Maps

Movies and Documentaries

Video Clips

Travel to Hong Kong


Although Hong Kong is a part of China, its visa requirement is quite different as it is one of several Special Administrative Regions (SAR) and has a separate visa and entry process. American citizens may visit Hong Kong without a visa for Hong Kong for a period ranging from 7 days to 180 days. For more information on visa/entry permit requirements for visitors to Hong Kong, you may refer to the "Visit Visa / Entry Permit Requirements for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region" webpage.

Please note you can apply for a Chinese visa (for entry to mainland China) in Hong Kong. For more information, please refer to the website of Office of the commissioner if the ministry of foreign affairs of China. China Travel Serice is currently the only official agent for China visa application.


The cellphone band-frequency of Hong Kong is the same as in China. So any cellphone works in China can be used in Hong Kong.


The currency of Hong Kong is Hong Kong Dollar, aka, HKD. (Click here to see the exchange rate today.) Like in the U.S., all major credit cards are widely accepted in Hong Kong.


There are three official languages in Hong Kong: Mandarin, Cantonese and English. But in most cases, people speak Cantonese, which is quite different from Chinese Mandarin.

Ground transportation

Subways in Hong Kong are convenient and very useful. Taking buses are easy as all streets in Hong Kong have both Chinese and English names. Unlike in China, tipping taxi drivers is necessary.

Recommended Books

Deepening your knowledge about China and its people is an essential part of your preparation for traveling to China. The following resources will help you gain an understanding of the history, art, culture, perspectives of the people of China.

Recommended Web Sites

Deepening your knowledge about China and its people is an essential part of the your preparation for traveling to China. The following resources will help you gain an understanding of the history, art, culture, perspectives of the people of China.

Ground travel within China

speedy train

High-speed rail train_interior

China has a vast passenger rail system that can be used to travel to virtually every corner of the country. Train tickets must be booked in person at the train station or from your hotel (for a small fee). Certain websites allow you to book train tickets from outside China which will then be delivered to your hotel when you are in China. See the introduction to train travel in China for more information.

As of June 1, 2011, China began selling real-name tickets for high-speed railway. One must present a valid government issued ID to purchase a high-speed railway ticket and show the same ID again when boarding.

Taking a taxi is a fast, inexpensive and convenient way to get to your destination in almost all cities in China. If you are new to China, taking taxi should be your first choice. There is no need to tip the driver. This guide includes several tips about how to take a taxi in China.

Public buses is common and very cheap in China. However, in many cases,  the bus stop sign is written only in Chinese. Some bus drivers do not announce the bus stop so it is better to get familiar with the bus schdule before your get on a bus. It is also a good idea to ask a Chinese friend about what bus you should take.

Airport Shuttle buses are available at almost every major city's airport. You can go to the airport information center and ask for the bus schedule and ticket price. The shuttle bus normally takes you to major hotels or downtown of the city. For students attending KU study abroad program in China, here are the shuttle bus shedules of Nanjing and Zhengzhou.

Learning Mandarin Chinese

Visa Info

Most American citizens are required to obtain a visa to visit China. The visa application can either be submitted to the China consulate in person or mailed to a travel agent. It can NOT be mailed to the consulate directly. Kansas State is in the consulating area of Consulate-General of PRC in Chicago. For US citizens, the application fee for regular visa service is currently 140 US dollars. The whole visa application processing time takes approximately 2 weeks.

If you only transit in one of the airports in China and will leave China within 24 hours, no visa is required. If the flight transfers in Shanghai Pudong Airport, you can will have up to 48 hours to go out of the airport and travel around.


Baggage allowance might be different from airline to airline and is subjected to change at any time. Please check with your airline company before your flight.

Unlike in the U.S., many airports in China provide left-luggage service at a low charge. You may click the link to see the left-luggage service at Beijing Airport.

Cell phone and internet use in China

It is possible to use your cellphone's international roaming service in China. However, the average charge is approximately $2.29 per minute. For most U.S. travalers, a better way to make local phone calls in China is by purchasing a pre-paid SIM card and use it with a GSM cellphone. As China uses different band-frequencies (900/1800)  from the United States' (850/1900), you'll need to use either a Chinese dual-band cellphone (900/1800),  or a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900) which can be used in both countries. Renting a cellphone in China is possible but very inconvenient. You can either bring your own cellphone or buy a cheap one in China.

Some U.S. mobile operators lock their cellphones to prevent onwers from using other SIM cards. In that case, please contact your mobile operators for an unlock code. 

Coin telephones are very uncommon in China. Instead, you can see lots of IC-card telephone booths on the street. A pre-paid IC card is available in many newsstands.

Making international calls can be very expensive. Various types of IP cards for long distance calls are available in newsstands. Please be aware that IP cards do not need to pay for their face value. They are often sold for a 30%-70% discount. A better way is to use Skype or other similar internet-based calling programs.


Hotels and Hostels

It is easy to book hotel online. You can make reservations on some major websites such as CTrip or eLONG. Many hotels have their own websites where you can make reservations. The online reservation price is usually much cheaper than the listed price in hotel lobby. So even if you are already in the hotel lobby, it is wise to call and make reservation through website center and then check in after you receive the confirmation.

Youth hostels are located around the country, especially in popular travel destinations and larger cities and generally offer cheaper accomodation than hotels. Typically, bunks in 6-12 person rooms are available, as well as private rooms. allows you to search for hostels, read guest reviews and make reservations online.

Currency Exchange

Q & A on Money Exchange on Travel China Guide

Banks and Money Advices on Tripadvisor

The currency of China is Chinese yuan, aka, RMB. (Click here to see the exchange rate today.) Although many merchants accept credit cards, it is wise to always bring some cash. The banks with currency exchanges at major international airports in China are Bank of China, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, and the Construction Bank of China. These national banks all have branches in the major international arrival airports in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. Your passport must be shown to the teller before converting money.Branches around China can also convert foreign currency.

Visa and Master can be used in China with a 3% transaction fee. However, the Discover Card has an agreement with China UnionPay, the only interbank system in China. There is no transaction fee to use discover card in China. But you need to tell the cashier to swipe the discover card as a "China UnionPay" card.

Due to a similar agreement, Bank of America debit cards can be used in China Construction Bank ATMs with no ATM fees, although there is still a standard currency conversion fee.

Art and Music of China