Suzhou China

Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

An ancient city near Shanghai, Suzhou is known for its meandering canals and tranquil classical gardens, now a UNESCO heritage feature.

Take a canal boat through the "Venice of the East", while studying at the world's first Chinese-British joint university, created in partnership between two of the world's leading research universities, the University of Liverpool and Xi'an Jiaotong University. 

Established in 2006, Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU) was established as a highly international university, with over 500 international students, and a large contingent of students from the University of Liverpool.

Key information


Suzhou, China


English, Mandarin 


Fall, Winter, Academic year

Program type


Application information

Application status



2023-2024 applications

Fall 2024 and Winter 2025

Priority deadline: January 10, 2024

University-specific additional requirements

Applicants do not need a reference.

2025-2026 applications

Open November 1, 2024

Program details

At XJTLU, you’ll have the opportunity to explore China’s vast and varied landscapes, ancient cultures and dynamic economic development from a prime location in the heart of China’s booming eastern corridor.

Course Information:

Students normally study 20 credits per semester (equivalent to 5 courses/15 units at UCalgary). Indicate at least 40 credits of modules (classes) in order of preference on your RAISA application, made from XJTLU's module catalogue. Tentative module selections must be approved by your academic advisor(s) if/when you are admitted on exchange. Exchange students can also study a maximum of one Chinese Language module (CLT module) per semester.

Level 1-3 courses correspond to our 1st-3rd year level courses. 

Course Restrictions: Physical Education (PHE) modules are not available for exchange students. Level 0 modules are also not open to exchange students. 

Please note that Haskayne students must apply through Haskayne

The academic year is divided into two semesters.

  • Semester 1 runs from early September to mid-January, with mandatory orientation in late August.
  • Second Semester runs from mid-February to mid-June 



  1. Costs

    Exchange students pay their tuition and academic fees to the University of Calgary. Other expenses are paid directly to the service provider. 

    See an average range of monthly costs, depending on your spending habits:

    ExpenseLow (RMB)Med (RMB)High (RMB)




    Transit50300300 +e-bike for 2000 RMB

    Total Monthly3250 RMB4800 RMB6800 RMB (plus cost of ebike)


    XJTLU also has a breakdown of cost estimates including budgeting for travel/trips.
    Also, remember to include things like visas, flights, insurance, vaccinations, etc. in your budget planning. 

  2. Funding

    Did you know that you can take your UCalgary funding with you on exchange? 
    Since you remain a degree seeking student at UCalgary while on exchange you remain eligible for any awards and scholarships you are eligible to receive from the university as well as student loans.

    Our office administers several awards, including the Global Access Fund (based on a funding-first model where students apply prior to committing to a global learning program) and the Global Learning Award (students apply after being accepted to a global learning program; the amount varies year-to-year as the money is split among chosen recipients). Students may only receive these awards once. Please see the funding page, linked below, for more information.

    China International Study Travel Award: offered annually to continuing undergraduate students enrolled at the University of Calgary. The award is generally distributed as 4 awards of $5000 per student. No application necessary - students will be internally nominated by their program/exchange advisor, via the Study Abroad Office. See funding page for eligibility and additional details. 

    CNOOC International Canadian Global Leaders in China Award of $2000 per student is offered to up to 20 students participating in an approved UCalgary study abroad program in mainland China for 2019/20. No application necessary - students will be internally nominated by their program/exchange advisor, via the Study Abroad Office. Preference will be given to students based on academic merit. See funding page for more details. 

    HKCBA Award 3 prizes awarded annually. Apply directly to HKCBA ($3000/$2000/$1000)See funding page for more details. Deadline: October 31, 2022

    NOTE: This program is not eligible for Canadian Learning Initiative in China (CLIC) funding. 

Exchange students that apply by the deadline are guaranteed housing at XJTLU. Accommodation options range from studios to six-bedroom apartments (subject to availability with preference given to advanced bookings). See accommodation for more information. Cost ranges from 50-128 RMB/day. 

This exchange is open to regular, full-time students in any faculty at UCalgary, who have completed at least 1 full year (10 courses) at the post-secondary level, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (B).

XJTLU offers a selection of English-taught courses each semester. However, a minimum of Chinese 205/207 is recommended for this program. 

Students who want to take courses taught in Mandarin must have high intermediate to advanced Mandarin (HSK 5).

An academic reference is required for a complete application.

Please note: China restricts access to exchange programs to citizens of other countries. Students who plan to travel on a Chinese passport are not eligible for exchange in China.


Do I have to speak Mandarin?

No prior knowledge of Mandarin is required for this exchange. XJTLU makes China accessible for international exchange students with curriculum all taught in English, combined with Chinese language and in-depth studies of China, taught by some of Asia’s foremost experts.

How can I learn or improve my Mandarin?

XJTLU offers a Mandarin course each semester that is open to exchange students. With a knowledge of Mandarin and English, you become more globally mobile and highly employable.

What's special about Suzhou?

Blending one of Asia’s leading research and innovation hubs, a quirky old town with canals and willow-filled lanes, and a glitzy new town, Suzhou is a curious mix of the ancient and the hypermodern. Connected by bullet train to the centre of Shanghai and Beijing you will have a chance to experience the pulsing heart of east Asia. Develop an understanding of the world’s second largest economy and largest consumer market, all while meeting people from across the globe and forming friendships that will last a lifetime. Check out great attractions in and around Suzhou, as well as some of the local entertainment and amenities

What resources are available for new students?

As a student at XJTLU, you can participate in student sport clubs and classes. Currently 21 sports are offered through classes at XJTLU, including badminton, basketball, belly dancing, billiards, boxing, bridge, Chinese martial arts, football, free combat, body building, golf, popping, roller-skating, sport dancing, table tennis, taekwondo, tai chi, tai chi sword, tennis, ultimate frisbee, and yoga. Other sports such as rock climbing, soccer, and bowling are also available.

You can also join a variety of over 120 clubs and organizations

What supports or services are available at XJTLU?

Student Counselling is available for students through the Mental Health and Development Centre. This is a confidential service. 

XJTLU Global provides airport pickup, orientation, support for visa processing and arranging on-campus accommodation. See the International Student Guide for information on things to prepare before you go. 

Halal: In terms of diet, all Chinese cities have Halal restaurants mostly established by Hui Muslims. Traditionally the north west of China was predominately a Muslim region of Chinese Muslim converts and people of Turkic descent who had settled on the Silk Road trading routes. Hui and Uyghur cuisine are now popular all around China and Halal is relatively well understood and respected due to this long historical presence of Muslims in China. Halal products and restaurants normally display a Halal (清真) certification.

Vegetarians and those with food allergies: The concept of being vegetarian is not well understood outside of big cities and popular tourist destinations, and allergies are almost unheard of. Therefore, vegetarians and those with food allergies need to be very careful when eating out in China. If shortage of some highly seasonal fruits and vegetables does not bother you, access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in supermarkets, wet markets in communities or even roadside stalls will certainly meet self-catering needs. When going out to eat you need to be vigilant and make sure that the food you have ordered is ok for you. Many restaurants have picture menus to show you exactly what is in the dish you are ordering. Be aware that shellfish, gluten, and peanuts may be used in flavouring various dishes and servers may not even consider their presence. The International Student Guide contains more information on this. 

Have questions?

Global Learning 101

Please watch this short YouTube playlist before reaching out or booking an appointment. In these videos, you will learn much of the basics about Global Learning, which may answer your initial questions.

Watch Global Learning 101

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how this program might align with your degree (e.g. best time to go, what courses you need).

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/transfer credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Global Learning Advising

If you have questions, please reach out to our office! We offer drop-in advising for general inquiries, and if you have questions about this specific program or any others, you can book an appointment with the responsible advisor.

Please use the link below to find the most up-to-date information about our current advising options.

View the Global Learning Advising page

The exchange advisor for this program is: Flavien Niederst

How to Apply

Download the application guide

This PDF contains information on how to complete your application and what to do after you have applied.

Application guide

Identify three programs of interest

We recommend applying for your top three programs for the priority application deadline, as placement may be competitive. We will assess your applications in ranked order.

Check requirements and deadlines

These may vary by program, so check the individual program pages and make sure that you are aware of any different application deadlines or eligibility requirements.

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular global learning program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Global Learning Advisors will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

If you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Global Learning Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.

Please note: All participants must adhere to COVID-19 and other vaccination-related requirements for the destinations visited on this program. Failure to do so may have consequences such as being denied access to accommodation/housing, program activities, or to the host country itself.