Housing is an issue that you don’t want to deal with too lightly, for reasons that are obvious: budget, comfort, safety and privacy. Housing in Shanghai is still relatively cheap compared to the fees that universities charge for dormitories.
As a foreign student in Shanghai, you will have two housing options: on-campus accommodation and off-campus apartment rental.
Most major universities in Shanghai have their own foreign student dorms. The rooms vary in size, pricing and amenities. Not all universities offer single rooms, and those that do, charge a fee that can easily get you a two-bedroom apartment off-campus. If you get a shared room, you will be assigned a roommate. Usually, you have no say in choosing said roommate, but sometimes it can be worked out, provided the school administration approves.
Single rooms and shared rooms are virtually identical in size, and allotted furniture. Shared rooms usually do NOT have air conditioning and generally don’t come with a private bathroom. Bathroom and showers are shared by an entire floor.
Facts to consider:
For single room accommodation, universities charge a daily fee ranging from US $10 to US$20.
You are not allowed local visitors in your room, unless they are foreigners or Chinese students enrolled in your university. The latter must register at the front desk and must leave campus before 10 pm.
Some universities have recently enforced regulations that, for “security reasons”, don’t allow foreign visitors on the premises, either, unless they can prove their residence at the dorm (usually showing your room key will suffice).
For reasons of convenience and privacy, many students choose to rent apartments off campus. Monthly rent is usually the same, if not cheaper than living in the student dormitory. Apartment rental generally varies from US$400 to US$600 for a one-bedroom and US$650 to US$950 for a two-bedroom apartment. Most apartment compounds in Shanghai have security 24 hours a day, and apartments come with cable TV, phone, air conditioning and, depending on your landlord, ADSL and all necessary furnishings. Less expensive apartments are old-style both in terms of design and the interior accommodations., while pricier apartments come with big screen TV’s, DVD players, washing machines, microwave, refrigerators, some even with satellite TV.
Facts to consider:
Living off-campus will boost your conversational Mandarin by providing more opportunities to interact with the local Chinese.
By living off-campus, you are guaranteed privacy.
Dorm rooms don’t have private kitchens, refrigerators etc. Though some dorms may have kitchens shared by an entire floor, cooking is significantly more convenient for off-campus residents.
Gas, water, phone and internet bills are far cheaper than in Western countries. Electricity is not expensive, either, unless you go overboard.
You can have as many guests as you want, anytime you want. Provided you let your neighbors know in advance, you can even host parties.
Certain convenience stores inside residential complexes offer delivery service.