International Students | Duke Kunshan University

International Students

Study in China

International students must hold a valid passport and a valid student visa (X1 or X2) to study in China. Important:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least another four years if you are undergraduate student, and at least two years if you are a graduate student. (For MMS students, you need at least six months remaining).
  • Duke Kunshan students are expected to cover all visa-related expenses, including but not limited to: passport; passport photos; visa-related health check; and visa processing fees.

Medical Insurance

All students from outside China are required to sign up to the medical insurance plan at Duke Kunshan. Students from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan can also purchase this plan. The plan covers a network of hospitals in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and includes emergency services provided by International SOS. Enrollment is annual, and you will be expected to enroll as part of the housing application process.

Living in China

Get connected – Cellphones and payment plans

Having a local cellphone number should be a top priority for international students. Once you arrive on campus, the Office of Student Affairs will hold a resource fair for you to meet with vendors and browse the various payment plans on offer.


Resource fair

Get money – Chinese bank accounts

A Chinese bank account is essential to be able to make and receive payments while studying at Duke Kunshan. Once you arrive on campus, a resource fair will be held with several banks to help you set up a debit account. Important:

  • You will need a Chinese cellphone number to apply for a local bank account. The number will be used to authenticate your identity. You can also use the number to register with WeChat Pay and Alipay, two widely used mobile payment apps.
  • ATMs are located on and around campus. ATMs in China dispense only RMB, the Chinese currency, but they do accept MasterCard and Visa cards from most countries.
  • Most banks in Kunshan will exchange foreign currency for RMB.

Get around – Transportation

Kunshan has a developed public transit system that includes buses, taxis and Green Bikes, which are available to rent throughout the city. You will find it easy navigating the city, and the campus is about a 30-minute drive from the city center. 

  • Bus -  Journeys cost between RMB 1 and RMB 5 (about 15 to 70 US cents). Buses accept cash, and you can also purchase a Kunshan transportation card. These cards are accepted in over 200 Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Suzhou, and can be topped up electronically. You will be able to buy one at the resource fair during orientation.
  • Taxi -Fares are relatively affordable in Kunshan, and all licensed cabs use meters. If your driver fails to start the meter, you should remind him/her to “da biao” (turn on the meter). Don’t forget to ask for a “fapiao” (receipt) when you reach your destination. Ride-hailing services such as Didi and Uber can also be used to order a car, or you can call 9688-9699 to book a taxi in Chinese. Click here to download a taxi card with Duke Kunshan’s address in Chinese.Fares are relatively affordable in Kunshan, and all licensed cabs use meters. If your driver fails to start the meter, you should remind him/her to “da biao” (turn on the meter). Don’t forget to ask for a “fapiao” (receipt) when you reach your destination. Ride-hailing services such as Didi and Uber can also be used to order a car, or you can call 9688-9699 to book a taxi in Chinese. Click here to download a taxi card with Duke Kunshan’s address in Chinese.
  • Bicycle – The city’s Green Bikes are a cheap[CM1]  and convenient way of getting around, not to mention a great way to avoid rush-hour traffic. Getting a Green Bike card is the first step to becoming more active in Kunshan.

“Survival Chinese”

People in China are very open to international visitors, and you will find most of the amenities in Kunshan that you are used to at home. However, it is important to understand that China has its own unique culture. During your stay, it would be useful to learn some basic Chinese. Duke Kunshan offers lessons in Mandarin for all international students.

Host Family program

The Host Family program partners international students with local Kunshan families. It provides participants precious opportunities to be a part of the local community during their stay at Duke Kunshan. The program creates intercultural experiences and language exchange opportunities and helps students build local networks. More information will be made available at orientation.