International Students Handbook

Welcome you to live and study at Soohow University

    To help you adjust to life at Soochow University, please read in details the following handbook for international students.

School of Overseas Education

The School of Overseas Education is an institute that oversees the administration, teaching, and recruitment of international students. It is comprised of the main office, the international students’ affairs office, the teaching service office, the office in charge of foreign teachers,and the office in charge of exchange programs. These offices are responsible for fees, enrollment, visas and residence permits, scholarships, teaching, student life and other student services. Telephone numbers for enrollment service: 86-512-67165752.

We are willing to help you at any time and in any way we can.

Visa Application

You may apply for your Chinese visa at Chinese embassy or Consulate in your home country. When applying for your visa, please remember to bring along with you your valid passport, the original copy of the university’s Admission Notice, Visa Application form for foreigner Students Studying in China (also known as JW201/JW202 form) and original physical examination record if necessary. Make sure that your Admission Notice; JW201/202 form and physical examination record (within the validity of their visa, holders of X2 visa do not need to present the record after arrival in China) are handed back to you together with your passport after obtaining your Chinese visa. You will need these documents to apply for your Residence Permit after your arrival.

International students who will be studying in China for more than 6 months are required to obtain an X1 visa while students who will be staying and studying in China for less than 6 months may apply for an X2 visa.

Note: X1 visa will only be valid for 30 days after your arrival. You must apply for a residence permit within 30 days in order to obtain a legal status in China. You are discouraged from arriving in China ahead of time due to the short time limit of your visa. Furthermore, you are not eligible to apply for a residence permit until you are a registered student.

How to Get to School

Soochow University has five campuses and two separate colleges. The School of Overseas Education is located in Yiyuan Building main campus. When you get to the gate of main campus on 333 Ganjiang Road, walk along the main road. After 700 meters or so and you will find Yiyuan Building on the right side. 

1. Suzhou railway station is about 9 km from the main gate on 333 Ganjiang Road, Suzhou North railway station is around 25 km, you may take

1) Metro line 2 from railway station to Guangji Road, transfer to line 1 and take off at Xiangmen Station. Walk out from exit 1 and you can see main gate on the right side.

Note! Ticket prices range from 2 to 6 yuan (1 US dollar) depending on the distance. But transfer between Line 1 and Line 2 at Guangji Road Station, Xingtang Street Station, Zhongnan Street Station and High Speed Railway Station will cost more, but within 7 yuan.

2) Taxi : It will cost you around 25 RMB from the Suzhou railway station and 50 RMB from Suzhou North railway station to the university.

2. Shanghai Pudong International airport is about 150 km to the universit, you may take

1) Airport shuttle bus at the long distance bus station east side of B1 floor, off at Times Squareg in SIP and then take a cab for 25-30 RMB to the dormitory located on 50 Donghuan Road east campus or office building (Yiyuan Building) main campus.

2) Taxi: It will cost you 600 RMB from the airport to the dormitory. 

3) Pick up service: 850 RMB for a car to pick you up at the airport and send you to the university directly.

Shanghai Hongqiao airport is closer to Suzhou city. You can take metro to Hongqiao railway station and take the train to Suzhou railway station, and then get to University by metro or taxi.

New Student Enrollment

1.Students must enroll within the time period stipulated in the letter of admission. Bring the letter of admission, JW202/201 form and your passport to the School of Overseas Education to register.

2.If your period of study is to be more than 6 months, after registration you should bring the original form of the “Physical Examination Record for Foreigners”, and all the laboratory records including “HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis Examination Reports” to the Suzhou Public Health and Quarantine Bureau (738 Changjiang Road) to have them verified.

Note! The procedures at the Suzhou Public Health and Quarantine Bureau will require you to pay an applicable fee. The total set of physical examination costs around 518 RMB. This fee is not covered by any scholarship. We really advise you have the physical examination in public hospital and ask the hospital to stamp the bottom of the picture on the form in case the reports will not be admitted in the clinic center.

3.If you are a self-supporting student, you should, within the time stipulated on the letter of admission, bring sufficient currency in cash or remittance form to pay one semester’s (or one academic year’s) fees for application, registration and tuition. For remittances, the account name is “Soochow University”, the bank name “Bank of Communications, Suzhou Branch”, and the account number is 325601000010149002255 and the swift code is COMMCNSHSUZ. Checks are not accepted.

4.If you are a student with a full scholarship, you must bring your passport to the Bank of Communications on campus to get a bank account. Then leave the invoice with the bank account number and full name on the passport to the international students’ office to get monthly allowances.

Note! Stipend money is deposited into students’ accounts on the 15th of every month. Those who enroll before the 15th of the month will be given the full stipend for that month, while those who enroll after the 15th will be given half that month’s stipend.

5.If you are a general advanced studies student or a language student, or an undergraduate, you should leave a picture to the students’ affairs office, and pick up your student card at the same office after one week.

6.If you choose to live off campus, you must, within 24 hours of taking up a residence, go to your local dispatch office of the Public Security Bureau to register, and within 5 days go to the international students’ affairs office to register for your home address as well.

7.If you choose to live in the international student’s dormitory, you must go to the students’ affairs office to complete the procedures including paying the room of the whole semester.

Note! At the time of registration at the dormitory you are required to pay 200 RMB key deposits and 400 RMB extra for beddings should any be required.

8.If you are a language student, on the day of registration you will take a placement test to find a suitable level.

Note! Those who have never studied Chinese do not have to take part in the placement test.

9.If you are an undergraduate student, graduate student, or a doctoral candidate, you must register in the students’ affairs office and also go to the teaching service office of your department for enrolment procedures.

During the semester, the school will organize different kinds of information sessions and activities, sport games for international students. We encourage all new students to attend, and invite returning students to attend as well.

Academic Guide

How Semesters are Arranged

The academic year at Soochow University is divided into two semesters; a spring and a fall semester.

A semester usually lasts 17-18 weeks. The spring semester usually starts in late February and finishes in early July; the fall semester usually starts in early September and ends in early January.. 

The summer vacation begins in July, and lasts for about 8 weeks. Due to the different dates of Chinese Spring festival from year to year, the length of the winter break is not fixed. It usually lasts around 6 weeks in all.

If you wish to have a more detailed and concrete outline of the arrangement of the semester, you can consult the yearly school calendar.

Duration of programs

Graduate students are limited to a period of 3~6 years of study, undergraduates 4-8 years. Language students are required to complete the courses for one semester or above. 


Students must return to school at the beginning of every semester. Only after paying their tuition and registration fee, enrolling at the School of Overseas Education can students receive student status. Undergraduates and graduates must select courses according to their study plan. If students can not register on time, they can submit a written application to the teaching affairs office of their department. With the permission, they are allowed to delay registering no longer than 2 weeks. Any student who fails to register and pay the fees on time is regarded as giving up the study voluntarily.

Non degree students should follow the placement arrangement of the school. If the student finds that the arranged level does not fit him/her, he/she may make a request to the Academic Office at room 313 for a change during the first week of the semester. To change classes in the same level is generally not permitted.

Attendance and Disciplines

Students should follow the disciplines of school. Non-degree students should ask for leave through the international students’ office while degree students should ask for leave from the teaching affairs office of their departments. A sick leave must be attached with hospital reports. A personal leave must be attached with relevant certifications and written forms. 

If a degree student has to ask for a sick leave longer than one month, he/she is suggested to suspend the study. If more than two months, he/she is forbidden to take the final exam and is asked to suspend the study immediately. Non-degree student asks for leave more than 1/3 of the total class hours is not able to take the term test and get a certificate of study.

Extending Study Periods

Language students who have completed their period of study and wish to continue studying may apply to extend their period of study. The application may be made during June or December at the students’ affairs office. Students should also at this time pay the tuition and registration for the next period of study and take care of their visa extension and other procedures.

Tests and Scores

All international students are required to take part in the assessment prescribed in the teaching plans of the course. A hundred marks system with 60 marks pass is adapted to grade the results of students. The assessment of courses mainly depends on the marks in the mid-term, final exams, with the reference to the general performance and attendance in class.

1.Postpone examination

If a degree student can not take part in the final examination on time with any special reason, he/she can apply in advance. For degree students, they can fill out a form, and then submit it to the teaching affairs office. When the application is permitted by teaching affairs office, international students’ office and the registrar office, he/she can postpone the exam at the beginning of the new semester. The result of the postponed examination is recorded in the accordance on the test paper. If students apply to postpone the examination, they are not allowed to take the makeup examination.

2. Makeup exams

Those degree students whose result is below 60 must take part in the makeup examination, but they are entitled to have only one chance. The results of the makeup exams will be recorded as 60 if the students pass. Non-degree student can apply for a makeup exam at the beginning of the semester and should make an extra payment 200RMB per course to be eligible. Students who fail the makeup examinations or are absent from the exams can apply to restudy the module. There is no make-up exam for those who are absent or fail in the mid-term exam for personal reasons. If the student did not take the mid-term exam, he/she will get zero which occupies 30% of the actual score of the overall grade.

Graduation, Completion of Studies, and Degrees

Undergraduates and graduate students, after completing all the courses stipulated by the education plan and completing all the required credits, completing a defense of their theses are permitted to graduate. They are then given a certificate of graduation, and conferred the appropriate Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctorate degree. Each department’s administrator is responsible for information and consultation regarding credits and class selection.

Undergraduates and graduates who have not completed their required credits within the stipulated period of study, or leave school before completing their studies, but have completed at least one year of classes will only be given a certificate of study.

Procedures for Leaving the School

Language students and advanced students who have completed their studies before the last two weeks of the semester should bring one 2” photograph and their student card to the students’ affairs office. When the scores of the tests are verified, they can receive a certificate of study, and receive a transcript at the end of the semester.

Students in a degree program should return the books they borrow from the library, bring one 2” photograph, student card and their passport to international students’ office. They can pick up their diplomas, certificates and transcripts at the graduation ceremony.

When leaving the school, students should return the room key, pay the overuse of electricity and receive their deposit.

Note! Those students who leave the school without going through the appropriate procedures will not receive a certificate of study or transcripts from the school.

Costs and Fees

Regulations for Paying Tuition

1.Self-paying students must pay an application fee when applying to join classes or registering at the beginning of a semester together with tuition and registration fee. As a rule, once paid application and registration fee are non-refundable. Tuition may be paid for the semester or for the year.

2.For those language students whose study periods are less than one semester, the tuition fee is 2500 RMB for no more than one month, 4150 RMB for 1-2 months and 5800 RMB for 2-3 months. You must pay tuition before enrolling. Those who do not pay tuition are not permitted to enroll, and may not receive student status.

3.Self-paying degree students who transfer, drop out of classes, or are stripped of their student status are not refunded the tuition for that academic year. Non-degree students can be refunded according to the regulations within two months after classes begin. After students turn in the original receipt and fill in the application of refunding, 2/3 tuition will be refunded within the first month and 1/3 tuition will be refunded within the first two months. For those who have studied more than two months, tuition fee is not refundable. Degree students who enroll or return to classes in the middle of a semester must pay the full tuition amount for that semester. Non-degree students who enroll in the middle of a semester pay the tuition accordingly to the regulation of school.

Accommodation Expenses

International students living in the international student’s dormitory should pay their room fees for one semester in the main office of school when they move into the dormitory. They must pay a 200 RMB key deposit. Rent covers the period from February 20th to July 20th or from August 20th to January 20th. You need pay 1000RMB/room for each extra month to keep the room in holidays. If you check-out before your scheduled date, the rest of the prepaid fee won’t be refunded; if you stay longer than scheduled period, the extra days will be charged as short-term-residents, 50RMB/day.

Every room can have a free use of 100 KVA of electricity and 4 cubic of water per month. Overuse of water and electricity will be charged accordingly on a monthly basis. Every student can access to the Internet free of charge.

Students living off campus should settle their rent fees on time, in order to avoid unnecessary legal disputes.

Other Fees

1.The Suzhou Public Health and Quarantine Bureau’s physical examination costs 518 RMB.

2.The Public Security Bureau’s Entrance and Exit Administration department requires fees for visa extension and residence permits application.

3.To receive a campus card requires a cost of 20 RMB.

4.Self-paying students’ meals, medical expenses, school materials, vacation travel expenses and extra-curricular experiments, fieldwork, and field trips, are all born by students themselves.


Soochow University has established the following scholarships for international students: “Chinese Government Scholarship”, “Confucius Scholarship” and “Jiangsu Jasmine Scholarship”. These scholarships are to encourage everyone to study assiduously and work hard. As long as you are an outstanding student, you have the opportunity to receive a scholarship. School of Overseas Education can help students to apply for the above scholarships; however, applicants need fill out the form online, download it and then mail or hand in the application materials before the stipulated date.

For current and detailed information on scholarships which the government of China has established for foreign students, you may consult the China Scholarship Council at .

For current and detailed information on Confucius Scholarships, upload the website

For current and detailed information on Jasmine Scholarship, upload the website

Visa and Residence

Visas and Residence Permits

1.Entrance Visas

International students must possess a regular passport, with either a study (X1) visa or a visitor (X2) visa, to enter China. 

A student under an X1 visa, within 30 days of entering the country, must go to Jiangsu Public Security Bureau to apply for a residence permit (Before that, you must prepare the verified the health certificate in Suzhou and temporary registration form in the local police station. Documents are prepared as well with the help of the students’ affairs office.) 

A student under an X2 visa can stay with the period stated on the visa from the day he/she enters China. It is not possible to apply for extra entries; however it can be extended for one time with the same period as the last one.

Students arriving at school on other types of visas must go to the international students’ affairs office to show your passport to personnel responsible for this issue and receive their advice and instructions.

Note! If visas and residence permits are not applied on time, you may be subject to a fine (500RMB/day). If you are carrying an X1 type visa, you must change it into residence permit with all necessary documents within 30 days after you enter China.

2.Residence permit application

Required materials and procedures:

1)Health certificate issued by the Suzhou Public Health and Quarantine Bureau.

2)“Application for Visa and Residence Permit” issued by the school.

3)“Application Form for International Students Entrance Visa” (JW201 or JW202 form).

4)A passport with an X1 visa or L.

5)Two passport-sized photos

6)Fee: 400RMB  6-11months, 800RMB  12 months and above

Note! Those who have yet to pay their tuition should first pay their tuition and then handle the visa extension.

3.Extending Visas for a Spouse or Child

Visas for a spouse or children may be extended with the notarized versions done in the Chinese embassy in their home countries. The expiration of the last extension may not exceed the expiration of the student’s own visa.

Services for Everyday Life

1. Medical Services

School hospital on campus provides medical treatment services for both teachers and students. Anyone who feels sick can go to see the doctor.

For serious diseases, students are recommended to go to Suzhou No 1 Affiliated Hospital near the main campus or Kwolong hospital in SIP where doctors are quite skillful and experienced.

Students provided with a full scholarship by the Chinese government or those who have bought the medical insurance in China, inform the students’ affairs office as well as insurance company when going to the hospital for emergent diseases, trying to reduce any unnecessary payment. Students’ own treatment, prescription and hospitalization fees for self-paying students are completely the responsibility of the students.

The following are addresses for several major hospitals in the city of Suzhou:

Suzhou No 1 Affiliated Hospital, 296 Shizi Street, Tel: 65223637

Suzhou No 2 Affiliated Hospital, 80 Changxu Road, Tel: 65223691

Kwolong Hospital, 118 Wansheng Street, Tel: 62627999

2. Safety Services

Suzhou is a comparatively safe city in China. But you should keep alert in the following situations:

1) You need a secure place to keep your money and passport. Pouches hung around your neck or belt pouches kept under your shirt are most effective. Please don’t bring your passport, large quantities of cash or credit cards with you when you take public buses, or go to downtown area or bars, etc;

2) Please ask for payment receipt when taking taxi, having meals in restaurants, and shopping, etc;

3) It is suggested not to carry the bag on your back, not to chat much with the strangers in the public. Do not believe any message or phone call from the person unknown.

4) If ATM machine does not work, please ask for help from the Bank assistants. Don’t believe in anyone beside you who seems to offer help.

5) Emergency Telephone Numbers:

Public Security Emergency: 110

Fire Alarm: 119

First-Aid Center: 120

Security office on campus: 65112586

3. Residence

International students can stay in the international student’s dormitory in east campus or in Dushu campus.

Students can also live off campus. However, according to regulations they must register at their local police dispatch station. Here we remind everyone, when living off campus you must be sure that the source of information on your housing is reliable, and that rent procedures are completed according to legal regulations. You must also ask your landlord to bring your contract together with you to the local police dispatch station within 24 hours to apply for a temporary residence registration. Students must register residence at local police every time they leave and enter China again. In summary, you must ensure that all procedures for renting a residence are complete, legal, and reliable.

Students must remember to immediately inform the student affairs office of their new home addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses. This is so that the student affairs office can help students in updating their residence, and be able to inform students of important events in a timely manner.

4. Foreign exchange and deposit

 “Cash and carry” is the prevalent method of personal transaction, although credit cards are acceptable at hotels, major restaurants and some large department stores. You can exchange foreign currency into RMB at banks and also at some large star-rated hotels.

International students can use their own passport to open RMB or foreign currency account at any bank in Suzhou. There is Bank of Communication on campus; Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China are near the campus.

5. Insurance

Self- supporting students should buy insurance for accidental diseases and etc. In the first week of the new semester, students submit a copy of passport and money to the students’ affairs office. Fee is 300RMB/semester and 600RMB/year. Consult the staff in charge for more details. Students with full scholarship do not need to pay the insurance premium by themselves. Scholarship granting organizations will buy it for them.

6. Holidays

International students enjoy the same holidays as Chinese students. The school does not break for holidays recognized by other countries.

The holiday schedule for the current year can be found in the school calendar on the website.

Apart from winter and summer vacations, important holidays include:

January 1st New Years Day         1 day vacation

        April 5th         Qing Ming Festival 1 day vacation

May 1st Labour Day 1 day vacation

        Early June       Dragon Boat Festival         1 day vacation

        September/October Mid-autumn Festival         1 day vacation

October 1st National Day 3 days vacation

7. Traveling in China

Students can visit other places in China in their leisure time.

When travelling, you must bring your passport and take good care of your identification and valuables.

When selecting a destination, you must choose an area of China open to foreigners. If you have not attained permission, you may not enter the area. Department of Public Security, according to the relevant regulations of “The People’s Republic of China Administration of Foreigners Law”, may penalize you if you ignore the stipulations above.

Note! Travel may only be conducted during the weekends, holidays, summer and winter vacations. You must apply for extra permission to leave from class during normal class periods.

Regulations for International Students

1. Principles

1)  Study hard and finish your study tasks diligently.

2)  Follow the rules and regulations of the school.

3)Respect the teachers and other personnel of the school.

4)Students should respect each other, be friendly and cooperative.

5)Respect the sanitary regulations in the dorm and of others in the class.

6)Abide by the relevant laws and regulations of the Chinese government.

7)Respect the social customs and traditions of people from different countries.

8)Protect and advance friendship between people of every country.

2. Regulations of Accommodation

Any student assigned by School of Overseas Education to live in the dorm should obey the following dorm regulations:

1)Students’ hostel is for students’ living and study and therefore should be kept clean, quiet and safe in order to contribute to a pleasant living and study environment. Students are not allowed to disturb others’ study or rest, for example, dancing, loud music, late parties, shouting etc. are forbidden.

2)Changing rooms without permissions or over-occupying furniture is not allowed.

3)Any illegal activity which will violate either Chinese law or school regulations will not be tolerated.

4)Good sanitary and hygiene practices should be maintained at all times both inside and outside the dorms. Passageways should remain unblocked. Piling up in the corridor or scribbling or posting is not permitted.

5)Public property should be well cared for. Equipment should not be damaged, dismantled or tampered with in any way. Any damage or missing should be compensated.

6)Drinking alcohol in the dorm is forbidden.

7)Students should save water and electricity. Water faucet, light or other facilities should be turned off before leaving the dorms. 

8)Observe fire regulations all the time. Electric cookers, heaters and stoves are not allowed. Combustibles and explosive substances are not allowed.  Students who violate the rules will be fined.

9)Students should observe the daily schedule of the university. In the weekdays they have to be back in the room at 22:30pm on weekdays and 22:30 pm on weekdays and 23:30 pm at the weekends.

10)Students of opposite sex are prohibited to stay overnight or live together in the room. Violating students will be recorded and expelled.

3. Regulations on vehicles

1) Students should ride bicycles or e-bikes slowly when going through the gate.

2) Students should take care of their vehicles. Those who buy new ones should go to the relevant departments to register and pay taxes.

3) Those who buy second-hand bicycles or e-bikes should ask for the receipt, change the names of holders and register in police station.

4) One bike or e-bike is for one person only.

5) Drunk riding or driving is strictly prohibited and will be severely punished. All vehicles should not exceed 5 km/h on campus.

A Sincere Wish

May everyone at Soochow University:

Enjoy life in such a big family

Appendix 1. Campus directory of important numbers

Administration Department

Student Affairs Office

67165752, 65223372

Student Teaching Service Office


Main office


International Students Dormitory 


School Security (on-campus police)


Appendix 2: Address of the Suzhou Public Health and Quarantine Office

Address: #738 Changjiang Road

Telephone: 86-(0)512- 66656350 

Appendix 3: Address of the Entry and Exit Administration branch of the Suzhou Public Security Bureau

Address: #389 Sanxiang Road

Visa information Number: 86-(0)512-68661471