How I became and adult Past Review

By (International Economics, Trinity University) - abroad from 01/21/2015 to 05/14/2015 with

IFSA/Alliance: Shanghai - International Business in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was definitely comprehensively worthwhile. I got to meet many amazing people, and got to live truly independently for the first time. I explored and adventured, and grew up a lot. But there were components of my program that really weren't worthwhile. Most of the academics were boring and pointless, yet took up enough of my time that it was difficult to do the exploring I would have liked to have done on the weekends.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The program tried to be academically rigorous, so classes were time consuming, but not engaging. I really liked the Chinese class and my Architecture class was enjoyable, but the rest just made me feel like I was wasting my time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I liked the administration, they were very nice, and tried to be helpful, but they were also very disorganized. For example, I didn't get my internship placement until halfway through the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Very spacious and livable. Beds were uncomfortable, and heating wasn't the best, which made the winter months difficult, but it was a palace compared to the actually university dorms.

* Food:

We didn't have a meal plan, so we had to buy or make all of our meals. This wasn't too bad, since food is pretty cheap in China, but I did get food poisoning three times.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were very insular in that our classes were all with other American students in the program. But we did have Chinese roommates to help us engage in the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

They were helpful

* Safety:

The program did a good job of giving us clear warnings of what to look out for in China, and useful tips about how to handle potentially dangerous situations.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $60-80 a week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I gave myself a very specific amount to spend on day-to-day things each week. Except for weeks when I was traveling, I stayed within this budget. If I wanted to spend more than what I had budgeted that week, I would let myself use what I had saved in previous weeks. However, if I had nothing left over from previous weeks, I was out of luck. Because I used cash almost exclusively while abroad, it was actually easier for me to budget, because I could always see how much I had spent and how much I had left, so I would recommend using cash if your trying to minimize frivolous spending.


* 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

The program encouraged us to use the language a lot, but for the most part, the other foreign students just used english.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had taken the first semester of Chinese 3
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International 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?
  • Independance
  • The people
  • The class trip
* What could be improved?
  • The organization/planning
  • Communication
  • Location
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish that I had known more what my schedule would have looked like throughout the whole semester, so I could have planned the free time we had at the beginning better. Put it to more use.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!