Spring in Shanghai, the best 4 months of my life! Past Review

By (Economics & Chinese, Mount Holyoke College) - abroad from 02/12/2014 to 06/06/2014 with

IFSA/Alliance: Shanghai - International Business in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained so much knowledge about the world because I saw so many new places and things. I tried new food and activities. I gained new friends. I met people from all over the world. I got to have an internship over the summer in Shanghai because I studied abroad there. It was so worthwhile and I can't wait to visit again.

Review Photos

Alliance for Global Education: Shanghai - International Business in China Photo Alliance for Global Education: Shanghai - International Business in China Photo Alliance for Global Education: Shanghai - International Business in China Photo Alliance for Global Education: Shanghai - International Business in China Photo Alliance for Global Education: Shanghai - International Business in China Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I didn't feel that the classes were too demanding which is great because you don't go on study abroad to be overloaded with work. Of course, you go to learn but you also go to travel and converse with natives and if you spend all of your time doing coursework, how would you accomplish that? I felt that the professors were resourceful and knowledgeable, however, sometimes I did not like the structures of certain classes.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I really liked everyone that I encountered on the administration. They were resourceful and were willing to help any student that had a problem. They planned fun trips for us and made themselves available all hours of the day. Not to mention they had to put up with 35 twenty some year olds. They are the best!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorms were a lot smaller than what I was use to living in my American dorm. However, you did have your own bathroom inside your room. It wasn't ideal but compared to my overall experience, it was a minor detail.

* Food:

You could eat wherever you wanted. The campus had a cafeteria but you could eat on the backstreet restaurant, you could take the metro to the mall which had restaurants, you could use the dorm's kitchen to cook your own food. You had many options. It was all very good!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I feel if you wanted to connect with the culture, it was there. Whatever you put in, you get out. If you wanted to eat at local restaurants and speak with locals, they were there and sitting next to you but it was also easy to go to the American type restaurants. It completely depended on your personality and what you wanted out of your experience.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

They had very good western medical clinics. My program directors and assistants would help coordinate transportation or call the hospitals for us. I just had to call the insurance company provided by my study abroad program saying I was having an appointment. It was not a difficult process at all. The travel was only slightly inconvenient at times because the hospitals were far from our campus.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe walking at night on the street or on campus. The campus was also gated with security guards so only students could come in or out after about 11 pm. I would say everyone else in my program felt the same way.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Transportation was very cheap, food in our neighborhood was very cheap as well. I would say shopping was maybe the most expensive thing.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around 100 usd
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When using ATMs, withdraw a lot of money at one time to avoid fees. Bargain at fake markets, don't get ripped off. Eat on the backstreet restaurants, they are a lot cheaper than the restaurants in malls and taste just as good.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 400
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Talk with your roommates, your chinese teachers, your program director, when buying things talk to the clerk, try to read signs out on the streets, watch TV, listen to chinese music, there are many ways to improve!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Location
  • Travel weeks
  • Students, Chinese teachers & Program Directors
* What could be improved?
  • Class structure
  • Dorm situation
  • Extracurricular activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Keep a journal or a blog. Take pictures all the time. Enjoy every moment because once it's over you just want to go back.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

China: Economic Giant

Course Department: Economics
Instructor: Narisong
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was not very challenging but the workload was reasonable. We did not go on any field trips. I felt like the teacher was knowledgable but he didn't structure the class well. We did not study economics. This class was labeled as such but we mostly talked about news and the history of China's economy. We never talked about theory or math. It was very different than any economics class I've ever taken. We wrote a 15 page paper at the end of the semester as well as an individual paper and a group paper. We also had to submit weekly news articles for discussion.
Credit Transfer Issues: