Time Zone

Hangzhou takes Beijing Standard Time, which is 15 hours ahead of Vancouver during the Daylight Saving Time Period (from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November). For example, when it is 5pm on Monday in Vancouver, it is 8am on Tuesday in Hangzhou.

When daylight saving ends each November, Beijing Standard Time becomes 16 hours ahead of Vancouver, so 5pm Monday in Vancouver becomes 9am Tuesday in Hangzhou.

Climate And Weather

Hangzhou stands at the intersection of 12º16´ east longitude and 30º15´ north latitude and is about 100 kilometers from the sea. The city belongs to the subtropical monsoon climate, with four distinct seasons and generally warm and mild weather. January is usually the coldest month of the year while July is usually the hottest.

Currency

The currency in China is called the Renminbi (RMB). It is also referred to as Yuan, which is the primary unit of renminbi. Yuan are subdivided into 10 jiǎo, and jiǎo are further subdivided into 10 fēn.

Depending on the exchange rate, it is around 6 or 7 RMB to 1 Canadian Dollar, so things may at first appear to be expensive, but in fact the cost of living is much cheaper in China compared to Canada. For example, it is estimated that daily expenses for dining on campus will be from 30 RMB to 40 RMB, which equates to around 4 CAD to 6 CAD.

Food

You should avoid consuming dairy products unless you know they have been pasteurized, and never eat raw eggs or uncooked meat. You should avoid buying food from street vendors.

Meals are available on campus in dining halls, and are paid for using pre-paid Meal Cards, which can be purchased from the cafeterias.

Drinking Water

You cannot drink water direct from the tap in China. You should either boil water from the tap before drinking, or buy bottled water to drink. It is also best to avoid ice in cold drinks.

Health & Safety

University campuses in China are very safe, and Hangzhou itself has been recognized as one of the safest cities in China.

The health service in large cities in China, such as Hangzhou, is very Westernized. Clinics providing general medical facilities are available in most central locations. Zhejiang University itself has a strong medical service, including a renowned School of Medicine with six high quality, technologically advanced affiliated hospitals in Hangzhou city.

The emergency number for an ambulance is 120, which can be dialled free from any phone. Hospitals in Hangzhou are well-equipped and there are likely to be English-speaking staff available. You should be aware that most medical services require payment upfront, which you should be able to claim back on your insurance.

Certain vaccinations may be needed for travel to China. You should check with your doctor or visit a travel health clinic a few months in advance of departure to make sure you have time to bring your vaccinations up to date before you leave. More health information for travelling to China is available at:

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/china

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/countries-pays/country-pays-eng.php?id=254

Voltage

The voltage for daily use in China is 220 V, so you will need an adaptor if you plan to use appliances from Canada or other regions using alternative Voltages. These can be purchased at local electronics markets.

TV

The nationwide TV network in China is CCTV and each province and city has its own TV stations. In Hangzhou more than 30 channels are available via cable TV, including a 24-hour English service channel – CCTV 9 – and an international channel in Chinese – CCTV 4. CCTV 4 offers a number of programs to help with Chinese language study as well as tourist information.