Shanghai is the best of both worlds! Past Review

By (Economics, University of Puget Sound) - abroad from 01/19/2015 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 so much about both life in China and life in a big city. I loved the fact that I could experience big city life and still gain an intimate understanding of Chinese culture at the same time!

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 English language classes were only okay, but the Chinese language instruction was exceptional.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments I lived in were very nice and clean. I also enjoyed living with a Chinese roommate.

* Food:

Chinese food is great! There were a lot of delicious, inexpensive restaurants close to our apartments.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were a little far away from the city center, which made integration a little difficult. It is also really easy to just hang out with other Americans--integrating with Chinese students takes personal initiative, but it is worth it!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I always felt safe, even walking home from the library or cafes at night.

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)

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I think it is wise to withdraw the amount of money you plan to spend for the week and then avoid going to the ATM for the rest of the week. It is easy to spend a lot of money under the misconception that everything is so cheap. Yes, things are generally very inexpensive, but it quickly adds up if you get in the habit of spending with wild abandon.


* 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 spoke exclusively Chinese in my class and language building.

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? Prior to departure, I completed a 300 level Chinese class.
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Commit to avoiding English at all costs! It really pays off.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* 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 language instruction
  • Access to all the benefits of a huge, international city like Shanghai
  • The food
* What could be improved?
  • Integration into local environment
  • NA
  • NA
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had brought a filtering face mask. Sometimes the pollution gave me a headache.

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!