Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of transportation is available in Nanjing?

There are many different types of transportation available in Nanjing. Bicycles can be bought second hand at around ¥150, a new one cost ¥300-400 but there exists a higher chance that it will be stolen (bicycles are unfortunately stolen fairly frequently). Public transportation such as buses and subways are very accessible and inexpensive. Taxis cost ¥10 for the first 3 kilometers, the color of the taxi is not related to the price and the meters increase with distance, not time. Also, Nanjing is a very walkable city.

How do I get train tickets in China? What are the train schedules like?

Train tickets can be purchased at train stations, hotels, travel agencies, and many small ticket booths. Trains are designated as putongche 'regular' (slow car), kuaiche 'fast', and tekuaiche 'express'. Fares are generally quite reasonable - especially the putongche, which are also very slow and uncomfortable. Smoking is technically forbidden on most trains, but the prohibition is routinely ignored on putongche - even by the staff.

For more information on train tickets or schedules from the Nanjing Train Station and Shanghai Train Station, please visit

How do I get to Nanjing from the Shanghai airport?

There are two main ways to get from the Shanghai airport to Nanjing.

  1. Purchase a long distance bus ticket at the airport, which will take you to Gulou bus terminal in Nanjing near the campus, then walk or take a short taxi ride to the University area.
  2. Take the airport shuttle to the Shanghai train station for approx. 22 kuai or the taxi for 200 kuai.
  3. Students can also take the Gaotie (“G” trains) from Shanghai Train station to the Nanjing Train station. There are many trains throughout the day, and the “G” train tickets are typically easier to buy, although somewhat more expensive.

How much is a train from Shanghai to Nanjing?

Train tickets from Shanghai to Nanjing cost: High Speed Rail ¥233 (first class seats) and¥146 (regular). You may find it difficult to purchase tickets late on the day of travel especially during weekends so buy in advance or you may have to take the slower trains. All other trains sit like an underground subway/metro (hard seats facing each other); there are also hard beds available instead of seats for purchase. The High speed Rail is the fastest from/to Nanjing/Shanghai at about 2 hours or less. The next fastest is ZhiTekuai (Z che) but the seating is as mentioned earlier. All other trains will take almost twice as long or longer to reach your destination. Be advised that trains often board early and depart on time; if you miss your train you can exchange you tickets for a later time. Check the website: for details.

How do I get from Nanjing airport to the University?

Metered taxis are widely available and the cost to the university will finally be about ¥150. There are also shuttle buses to the Gulou bus terminal next to campus. There are also non–official cars available for the same price as a taxi, or more, but you will not be able to get a formal receipt for these.

How can my family contact me?

You can keep in touch with your parents through email. DSL/wireless internet is widely available for subscription in apartments and internet cafes, as well as restaurants/coffeeshops with wireless internet, are plentiful. The Flagship offices also have wireless internet. Many students use Skype to call their families; international phone cards are also available for purchase. Letters by post can take from 6-14 days.

How much is food in Nanjing?

Local food in Nanjing on a daily basis shouldn't be any more than a few US dollars. If you want more Western-style food, however, it will cost more.

Can I stay in China after the program?

Yes! You do need to let the director know of your plans as a courtesy.

How do I get access to email?

There are internet cafes throughout Nanjing and China that, for a reasonable price, give you internet access. DSL and wireless are widely available for subscription in apartments and internet cafes are ubiquitous. Flagship offices, as well as many cafes and restaurants, will have wireless internet access.

What immunizations do I need?

The US Government Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information on foreign travel, including a section on Asia and China. See the reference materials section of the travel page for more suggestions.

If I need medical care, where should I go?

While you are in China, you will maintain affiliation with your home institution and should purchase health insurance in accordance with the home university as well as international insurance. Usually students have to pay the medical fees up front before submitting receipts to the insurance for reimbursement, so students are advised to bring a credit card that carries a balance to avoid paying cash. Please be sure to check with your home institution to obtain more detailed information on insurance, medical care, and policies. There is a clinic in Nanjing:

Nanjing International SOS Clinic
Grand Metro Park Hotel
319 East Zhongshan Road
1st Floor
Nanjing, P.R China 210016 China

Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm
Saturday 9:00 AM to 12:00 midday
Telephone: 86 25 8480 2842

What additional costs should I plan for?

Additional cost really depends on how students budget their money. Students are advised to maintain modest living. Supermarkets and convenience stores are accessible for purchasing food. Public transportation is also available and easy to use. It is always helpful, however, to bring extra money in case of any medical emergencies and unexpected events.

What is the exchange rate?

RMB to US is around 6.2 to 1
click here for current rates

How do I withdraw money or exchange currency in China?

Airports are one of the first places you can go to exchange currency, but processing fees tend to be higher. You can exchange USD to RMB in all banks (Bank of China, China Merchant Bank) by bringing your passport. Debit cards can also be used to withdraw money directly from the bank’s ATM machine (US banks will generally charge a small fee). Many former Flagship students opt to open bank accounts that are part of a global ATM alliance that waive ATM fees. Please be sure to find out more information with each respective bank. Examples of these banks:

Bank of America (with China Construction Bank)

Wells Fargo (with Agricultural Bank of China)

How many hours should I plan on studying per week?

You can expect to study as much as you study for Chinese classes at your home institution back in the U.S.

Tips from former Flagship students: Become friends with your roommate/tutor and hold them to their contract. Tutoring (4-5 hours a week) will be generally done at and monitored by the Nanjing Flagship Center. It pays off when you are handing in your papers and assignments.

Show up to class. Some of the Nanjing University classes may seem easy to skip, but this will create a negative impression to the instructors and fellow students about you, who can be great assets in setting up connections for you.

Where can we go to work out?

Nanjing's campus has a large field and track, which is open until around 11pm. There are also outdoor volleyball courts and ball courts, a weight room and indoor swimming pool. The university gym has yoga, martial arts, and dance classes available. Use of the pool and attendance in classes requires a fee which is reduce with a student I.D.

Nanjing also has many private gyms where students can buy memberships. There are several close to campus. These gyms are a bit pricey (comparable to US gyms) but have amenities such as workout machines and different fitness classes.

How big is Nanjing University?

The campus is quite large. It is one of the largest and among the top five universities in China. Nanjing University is primarily a liberal arts and social sciences institution, known in particular for its history department. There are over 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Nanjing University has developed research institutes in a number of areas including the teaching of Chinese language to foreign students.

CIEE (Council for International Educational Exchange)

To find out more about the University, visit their website at

How do I do my laundry?

Apartments should all have washing machines; however, most will not have dryers, so you will need to hang your clothes to dry.

You can also have your laundry done for a small fee in the basement of the Institute for International Studies (Zeng Xian Zi) building or at local numerous local laundries for a modest fee. Often the laundry is not dried unless you pay extra for it.

What size bag should I bring?

You can buy most anything you need in China, so for your own convenience you are advised to pack light. Make sure all your main luggage has wheels or backpack straps. Always use common sense when traveling, especially when you have money and important documents (i.e. passport) in your bag or purse.

Items not readily available in China:

  • Toiletries: tampons, deodorant (not readily available, but some stores carry it)

  • Clothing: Nanjing has Western clothing stores: H&M and Zara. Chinese clothing stores tend to carry smaller sizes and styles are different. Shoe stores tend to have smaller sizes as well. It is fairly inexpensive to get clothes tailored in China. If your clothing and shoe sizes are somewhat larger than average in the U.S., it may be difficult to find items, even in Western-brand stores. Many students purchase clothes on, which has other items as well.

What kind of clothing should be worn on campus?

Casual dress is generally fine, but flip flops should not be worn and hats sometimes might be considered rude in Chinese culture. Chinese students do not eat in class, chew gum, or bring computers to/during class. Students often bring water.

Upon arriving at Nanjing, where do we stay temporarily before finding our permanent apartments?

There are generally two options available for temporary housing, but these options may change so Zhang Laoshi will also provide more detailed information as you get closer to your departure date:

  1. At the university
    南京大学 南苑宾馆
    地址:南京市 鼓楼区 广州路18号
  2. Hotel nearby (15 min walk to Zeng Xian Zi building)
    新纪元酒店 (New Era Hotel)
    地址:南京市 鼓楼区 中山路251号 – 1

Other options are hostels ( or homestays such as those available on

How is the weather in Nanjing?

July to September is hot and humid. Winter in Nanjing is cold with occasional snow. Heating in buildings, including apartments, is not up to American standards; many classroom buildings are totally lacking a heating system, and apartments and other buildings rely on individual heating units (doubling as air conditioners in summer) which sometimes do not supply heat to the standard Americans are used to. Most people wear layers and coats even indoors in the winter. Long underwear is also advised! This is easy to find in Nanjing.