Four months of wonder Past Review

By (Economics, Kenyon College) - abroad from 01/21/2015 to 05/18/2015 with

IFSA/Alliance: Shanghai - International Business in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that no matter how much you learn about a culture or a country, nothing compares to actually being able to experiencing it first hand. I am also amazed at how our similarities and differences unite us in such way that without realizing it, you feel like you could belong anywhere, and that our understanding of one another allows us to see that all conflicts across the world are nothing but a result of our lack of exposure to one another.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

The location of our apartments was very convenient as there was a variety of affordable options to choose from. I especially liked the fact that there was a fresh-vegetables and meat market by our university so I picked up the habit of buying and cooking food for myself, it helped greatly with the cultural exposure, as well as language practice, as I got to know the sellers at the market and would chat with them every week.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Being in a city as International as Shanghai has the potential of negatively affecting the integration with the local culture, however, the program's housing location allows for a greater exposure to the local culture. However, I often found that it is so easy to just hang out with the people on your program and try to isolate yourself in your comfort zone so from the start, I knew I had to make some efforts to expose myself to the local culture, by making Chinese friends, and getting out of my comfort zone.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Of course the program always ensured our safety, but we also had to make responsible decisions when wandering around the city or going out, which, for me is perfect practice for when I graduate from my college and move to a bigger city.

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)

Food and personal expenses are quite affordable if you know where to go and if you don't eat out too much, however, Shanghai is a very expensive city so if you like to go out and travel, you have to make sure you can budget for it because it is so easy to lose track of how much money you are spending.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about a hundred dollars
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Yes always budget before hand! Give yourself the first couple of weeks to figure out how much everything costs and how much you would be willing to spend on things. Once you are set with the budgeting for food and expenses, figure out where you want to travel and how much money you will need for it. Also, if you like to go out/go to plays, movies,...make you sure you figure out how often you want to do that so you can account for it in your budgeting as well.


* 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? 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? Intermediate Chinese
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? Be sure to branch out and make local friends, wether at your university or within your neighborhood...

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Other
* 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 location
* What could be improved?
  • The distribution of assignments was not very balanced, so we had all of our papers and exams at the end which made our last two weeks on the program extremely stressful.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That time flies by so fast, and that I truly have to take advantage of every second.

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.