Student life

  • #Shenzhen Audencia Financial Technology Institute (SAFTI)

Student life in Shenzhen

At home in China

Join a diverse group of accomplished students, faculty members, researchers and industry experts from across the globe at Shenzhen Audencia Financial Technology Institute (SAFTI). Run collaboratively by Audencia of France and Shenzhen University of China with the mission to attract students from around the world, SAFTI is as international as it gets. No matter where you come from, you’ll feel right at home.  

During your SAFTI programme, you’ll spend time here in Shenzhen, China, as well as in Nantes, France.

Shenzhen Audencia Financial Technology Institute

Shenzhen Audencia Financial Technology Institute (SAFTI) is located on the Shenzhen University (SZU) campus. SZU has a student population of roughly 35,000. It has 25 colleges and awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees across a full range of disciplines.  

As a student at SAFTI, you’ll thrive as a member of the elite but close-knit international community within the bustling SZU campus and attend classes with students from France, China and all over the world. You’ll also spend time on the Audencia campus in Nantes, France.

As a student at SAFTI, you’ll have access to two impressive and modern libraries located on campus. They offer massive digital resources, specialised research data on the Special Economic Zone and publications from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Together, the North and South Libraries have over 3 million books, 3,000 newspapers, 70,000 non-publication resources, 1.4 million e-books, 236 databases and over 47,000 full-content journals.

North Area Sports Centre

Located near the north gate of Shenzhen University, the North Area Sports Centre covers about 114,000 square meters and includes Yuan Ping Gymnasium, a sports field, a swimming pool, small gyms, a golf practice field and other facilities. You can participate in football (soccer), basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, rhythmic gymnastics, martial arts and other sports.  


South Sports Centre

The multilevel South Sports Centre has an area of roughly 23,000 square meters. The first floor features 32 badminton fields, 4 standard basketball courts, 8 squash courts, a fencing room, a dart room, a training room and other facilities. The second floor has 2 football (soccer) training fields, 2 basketball arenas with grandstands for matches and 3 basketball courts for casual games.

Before you arrive

Step 1: Upon your acceptance to the programme, check the requirements of your local Chinese consulate online to make sure you have time to assemble all the necessary components of your application.  

Step 2: We’ll send two important documents to you. You’ll include them in the visa application that you submit to your local Chinese consulate:

  • JW202 form, “Visa Application for Study in China”
  • Admissions letter (for visa purposes only)


Step 3: Determine whether you need an X1 or X2 visa.

Step 4: Gather all required documents.

Step 5: Fill out your application.

Step 6: Take all required documents, payments, photos and application to your local Chinese consulate to submit your application.

Note: Please check the requirements of your local Chinese consulate as early as possible in case the consulate asks you to provide additional documentation that will extend the time needed to receive your visa. 

X1 visa: Will you study in China for longer than 180 days? If so, you’ll need an X1 visa. You’ll also need to obtain a Residence Permit within 30 days of your arrival in China.

X2 visa: Will you study in China for no more than 180 days (for a one-term or summer programme, for example)? If so, you’ll need an X2 visa.

Please contact the international office at SAFTI to ask how your non-student visa can be converted into a student visa.

X1 visa: If you’re entering China with an X1 student visa, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit for study within 30 days of your arrival in China. (We recommend doing this earlier rather than later.)

X2 visa: If you’re entering China with an X2 student visa, a residence permit is not required unless you’d like to travel outside of China during your stay. (Most X2 visas are single-entry, so you’d have to apply specially for a multiple-entry X2 visa and a residence permit to travel outside of China during your stay.)

The Chinese residence permit is essentially a multi-entry visa and is initially valid for one year. If you return for a second year, you may be able to apply for a residence permit valid for multiple years (based on the planned duration of your study).

Again, the process is relatively easy, but please note that early entry can complicate obtaining your residence permit!

Step 1: Complete a physical examination while in China. (Don’t worry, we’ll help you arrange this!) Depending on your country of residence, you may be required to complete a physical prior to arrival, too. Please check the information on your local China consulate official website before you leave for China.

Step 2: Let us help you obtain your residence permit when you arrive.

If you have an X1 visa, please do not enter China more than one week before your official move-in day.

Chinese law requires that you convert your X1 visa into a residence permit within 30 days of your arrival in China, but some of the documents you’ll need in order to do this can only be issued after the school registration date. The process of getting a residence permit usually takes three to six weeks.

Visa validity (“Enter Before”) means that the visa is valid and can be used to enter China from the date of issue to the “Enter Before” date marked on the visa (Beijing Time). If your visa has additional unused entries, you may enter China by 11:59 p.m. (Beijing Time) on the visa expiration date.

Entries refers to the number of times you are permitted to enter China during your visa’s validity period.

A visa becomes invalid if there are no entries left or the visa validity expires. If your visa becomes invalid, you must apply for a new visa before entering China. You will not be allowed into China with an invalid visa.

“Duration of Each Stay” refers to the maximum number of days you can stay in China each time, which is calculated from your date of entry to China. If you overstay the end date of your stay without getting a visa extension, you’ll be subject to fines (¥500 for one overstay, up to ¥10,000 for repeat offenses) and other penalties (5 to 15 days’ detention) for violation of the visa laws and regulations in China.

City of Shenzhen

The city of Shenzhen sits where the Pearl River meets the South China Sea. It is young, energetic and metropolitan, with a highly international population of 12 million. One of the most innovative cities in China, Shenzhen has all the perks and amenities of a megacity while also offering a vast range of wildlife reserves, botanical gardens and public parks. It is one of China’s top tourist destinations as well as an international centre of finance, technology and logistics.  

A 30-minute bus ride to Guangzhou (the third-largest city in China), under two hours by bus to Kowloon, Hong Kong, and under three hours by plane to Thailand, Shenzhen is extremely well-connected. It has the world’s fourth-largest container port and China’s fourth-largest mainland airport.

Shenzhen is a key location in the study of business and management – with innovation as a driving force throughout the city’s history. Established by Deng Xiaoping as China’s first Special Economic Zone in 1980, Shenzhen was a grand experiment in the nation’s policy of reform and opening up. It has maintained the fastest economic growth in China for roughly 20 years.  

Known as China’s Silicon Valley, the city is a global leader in high-tech development, financial services, foreign trade, shipping and creative and cultural industries. The city is home to wildly successful Chinese-grown multinationals such as Tencent and Huawei, and SZU alumni include the founder and CEO of both Tencent and Giant Interactive Group, one of China’s largest online gaming companies.  

The Pearl River Delta region – which includes Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou and other major cities – boasts China’s most developed economy, healthiest market and highest level of urbanisation and internationalisation.

Shenzhen is a quick day trip from Hong Kong, which offers an entirely different culture. But even if you never leave this city of 12 million, there is quite a list of things to do: arts venues, fantastic restaurants, street-side billiards tables, mountain hikes … we couldn’t possibly begin to cover it all. Known for its fantastic infrastructure – and recognised as a UNESCO City of Design – it’s easy to get out and about in Shenzhen.  

You’ll also be spending time during your programme in Nantes, France, a charming and historic French city within day-trip distance of Paris.

Looking for a funky art-and-design district with contemporary galleries, avant-garde musical performances, bars, restaurants, bookstores, craft markets and more? Check out Shenzhen’s very own factory-turned-art-world.

Craving luxury brands and imported food, or just want to have fun at the skating rink or cinema? A visit to the upscale MixC should liven up your day.

A picturesque collection of seaside beer gardens, nightclubs and restaurants is playfully clustered near a former cruise ship once owned by the late French president Charles de Gaulle.

This 3,000-foot mountain is part of a large city park that sprawls over 35 kilometres; climb to the top for views of Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

Xiangmihu Holiday Village

For the biggest collection of restaurants specialising in Chinese-style BBQ and hotpot, visit Xiangmihu Holiday Village. It’s a great place to bring a group and spend an evening.

Before Shenzhen’s economy started to set world records, it was a collection of quaint country villages. Baishizhou is one of Shenzhen’s largest and liveliest (now-urban) villages, offering affordable food, drinks and even outdoor billiards.

You’ll find some of the best and most innovative tech devices in all of mainland China right here.

Daily Life in Shenzhen

Shenzhen’s population is uniquely diverse. This means that the city has embraced cuisines from across China and throughout the world. You can find all types of international flavours here, including Italian, French, Thai, German, American, Mexican, Turkish, Indian, Vietnamese, Brazilian, Japanese and Korean!

You should be able to find options suited to any dietary need, including vegetarian, Halal and kosher meals. And there are plenty of grocery stores with western food items. Learn more about eating in China – or about the types of foods you’ll get to try while in Nantes, France.

The average cost of eating in cafeterias or student-friendly restaurants is ¥900 (€122) per person per month. ShiYuan Cafeteria and SZU Culture Shop Cafeteria are located on campus and offer affordable meal options. Student-friendly restaurants, also known as “student canteens”, are also very affordable and easy to reach between classes. They include:

  • Central Area: Shiyan Canteen, Litian Canteen, Lishan Canteen
  • Normal College: Faculty and Staff Canteen (Tingli Canteen)
  • Liberal Arts Building : Xi Beigu Canteen, Tingshi Canteen
  • Wenshan Lake : Wenshan Lake Canteen
  • Southwest Area: Old Southwest Canteen (Chenfeng), New Southwest Canteen (Kaifeng, offering halal meals), Small Southwest Canteen


During your time in Shenzhen, you’ll stay on campus in international student housing. Your building will have a meeting room, a reading room, a cafe, laundry facilities and microwave ovens.  



Room typeFacilitiesCost
Twin roomBathroom, shower, colour TV, refrigerator, telephone, internet access¥5,000 (€675) per term per person
Single roomBathroom, shower, colour TV, refrigerator, telephone, internet access¥8,000 (€1080)  per term per person

   Learn about accommodations during your time in Nantes, France.

In addition to travel by taxi, Shenzhen offers a well-connected public transit system to help you get around the city. Here are two bus lines that will be particularly useful to you.

  • Operating time: 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
  • Ticket price: ¥1
  • Stops: East Gate – Yi Shu Tun – Ju Han Zhai – University Hospital – Sports Field (also known as “The Playground”) – Hai Bin Residence – Hai Zhi Building – Southwestern Residence – Office of International Students – West Gate – College of Education – Science Building – College of Arts and Letters – North Gate
  • Operating time: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (every 10 minutes)
  • Ticket price: ¥1
  • Number: B728
  • Stops: West Gate – University – College of Arts and Letters – No. 1 North Gate – Metro Station (Exit C) – Yue Hai Men Cun – South Gate – Gui Miao Cun Kou – Gui Miao – West Gate