There are so many places to go, people to meet, and food to try! Past Review

By (Smith College) - abroad from 01/21/2015 to 05/15/2015 with

IFSA/Alliance: Shanghai - International Business in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to travel independently in China. It was definitely worthwhile. The experience is encouraging to know because that will help me on my future travels

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.

My Chinese language class was very intensive. I found Chinese 400 and China: An Economic Giant to be my two most enjoyable courses out of all of the ones I took that semester.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They were very informative and provided assistance when we had questions. The orientation session helped prepare of what was expected from us throughout the semester.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We were all assigned to a furnished apartment that had a living room, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom. I was provided with my own bedroom. Heater/AC, hot water, and water machine were available to use when needed. We were each assigned two roommates, one from the program and another who is a native Chinese. We were encouraged to practice speaking Chinese with our Chinese roommate.

* Food:

The program doesn't provide you a meal plan but the food that can be bought around there are always super affordable and delicious!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt fully immersed into the local culture. I communicated with locals on a day-to-day basis in Mandarin. I was able to get around in Shanghai by myself.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I, personally, did not have any serious health issues, but my friends who had them were able to gain access to the local health care system easily.

* Safety:

I felt very safe. There were no problems when I was in China.

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)

The low cost of living in China allowed me to spend $100/week on food and personal expenses. I did not worry too much about how much I spent abroad.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 100 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Create a budget before you fly off to your program.


* 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

There was a language pledge. Teachers would often remind us to speak Mandarin whenever we're in their vicinity.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? Chinese 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? Go out and try to make friends with Chinese natives!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International 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?
  • The independence to travel on my own/with groups
  • There were so many places to go and see in Shanghai.
  • The friendly and helpful locals
* What could be improved?
  • Some of the content taught in the classes (i.e. International Money and Finance)
  • Availability of economics professors' office hours
  • We need peer tutors for certain courses.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Even though I did not spend too much over the semester, I wish I had planned out a more cost-effective budget.

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.'