Published On: Fri, Apr 10th, 2020

4 notable differences between the Chinese and American college experience

Most of what international students know about college life in America is based on the way movies and the media describe it, and it looks very different from what Chinese students are used to. If you are planning on studying in the United States, taking your TOEFL or IELTS language exams and applying for universities is just one of the steps you need to take. Another aspect that is just as important if you want college life to be a breeze is to understand the cultural differences between the two countries. 

These cultural differences can be seen by taking a look at how Chinese and American students live their everyday life. So, without further ado, below are four of the most notable differences between Chinese and U.S. colleges. 

chinese grads throwing caps

photo/Pang Yuhao


In Chinese universities, students are usually required to study after classes in monitored study rooms from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. so that they can finish with their school work. While some may argue this is quite a strict policy, students say it helps them effectively manage their time and keep up with their learning material.

U.S. colleges have study rooms as well, but it is up to the students when and for how much time they want to study. Although this is a more relaxed practice, it does help students become more self-disciplined and realize the consequences of not studying on time.


In China, students need to pick their major before entering university, and the process of changing their major is a difficult one. This means students need to think very carefully before making a decision, as their future is at stake.

In the United States, students can easily switch between majors or combine two majors that may have nothing in common, such as journalism and construction engineering. This allows young people to pursue their interests, no matter how different they may be. If you can’t decide which major to pursue or need help with your application, you may want to contact an 美国留学中介.


U.S. colleges are known for their campus clubs and activities, including sports clubs, music groups, honor societies, and even fraternities and sororities. No matter your interest, there is almost certainly a club for it. Chinse universities do have student organizations and interest clubs where students can apply, but fraternities and sororities don’t exist.

U.S. campuses typically have everything a student can wish for, including restaurants, coffee shops, fitness classes, and places you can simply hang with your friends. Chinese universities do have fitness facilities, but that’s about it. Shopping, dining and most socializing is done outside of campus, as school is meant for studying only.


In Chinese universities, living in dorms is mandatory, at least until completing your undergraduate program. Dorm rooms are usually shared, with 6 to 8 students living in the same room. Most students say this helps them establish stronger bonds and build friendships that last a lifetime.

In the U.S., some students live in dorms, while others get their own place off-campus. On-campus dorm rooms are usually individual or shared with one other fellow student. 

Author: Stephen Marshall

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