Worth It Past Review

By (Mount Holyoke College) - abroad from 02/12/2013 to 06/07/2013 with

IFSA/Alliance: Shanghai - International Business in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot about myself and about the Chinese culture. It was definitely worthwhile to have the insight because you can only really understand it once you're immersed in it.

Review Photos

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

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My particular program offered many ways to get involved in the academics. It was language intensive if you made it as such, or you could simply do the classwork. It all depended on how much you wanted to get out of the program. The general rigor of college courses is there, and with the option of an internship, I would definitely recommend it as a valuable experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My resident advisor was great. He really wanted to help the students and make sure we had access to everything we needed.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I had no roommate issues; in fact, we got along great and are still friends today. The room itself is spacious compared to many other dorms and you had your own bathroom.

* Food:

It's China. Need I say more?

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I feel like, given my location in Shanghai, it wasn't hard to fit in. You had access to expat locations as well as local, traditional areas so it was a great blend.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The location of the clinic wasn't the most convenient, but it's Shanghai so given the size of the city, it was completely understandable. My health insurance covered everything except for the cab fare it takes to get myself to the clinic.

* Safety:

Not once did I feel unsafe, but I would caution for the safety of your wallets and personal belongings that you keep an eye on your things at all times.

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)

It costs money to be abroad and to explore the city, but it's worth it and an amazing experience. It wouldn't have been the same if I wasn't willing to spend at least some money to get out and see the area.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go for the local food. It's cheaper than expat bars and restaurants and amazing!


* 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

We had Chinese roommates as well to help us continue speaking Chinese outside of class.

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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? N/A
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 the locals and with your roommates.

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
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?
  • The People
  • The Food
  • The Culture
* What could be improved?
  • I had a great roommate, but not everyone can say the same.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't go crazy and eat everything. It's amazingly delicious, but you gain weight pretty fast if you go down that route.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'