Significant language improvement despite pandemic (Summer 2020) September 30, 2020

By (Stanford University) - abroad from 06/22/2020 to 08/14/2020 with

American Councils (ACTR): Taiwan Intensive Summer Language Program (TISLP)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I had my doubts that an 8-week online program would enable me to advance an entire year in my language studies, but it did! I worked hard, though I still had time to relax and pursue some other interests over the summer. Even though I wasn’t able to travel to Taiwan, I had a language partner who showed me around Taiwan via video chat. Being stuck at home was not how I anticipated spending the summer, so the chance to virtually experience some aspects of life in Taiwan made a huge difference.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Outstanding. Even though the program was online, it was rigorous—we progressed through one year of language studies during the 8-week summer session. All necessary resources were provided by the program. The teachers and language partners were extremely helpful. They supported our learning and put in as much effort into the program as the students did. The program was extremely well organized, so it was always clear what we needed to do and when we needed to get it done. Although there was a lot of work, it was not overwhelming. If I had been able to be in Taiwan, I would have had a reasonable amount of time to get out and explore the local area.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Although I was not on-site due to the pandemic, the overall program administration was excellent. All events were planned and executed as planned. Everything worked well in the online environment. Given all the chaos of the time, it was great to have a program I could count on.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?


* Food:


* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The program was online, so of course it was not the same as being there in person. However, I was still able to have meaningful cultural experiences. I was paired with a language partner with whom I talked via video chat, and I was able to see aspects of life in Taiwan even though I could not be there in person.  Being stuck at home was not how I anticipated spending this summer, but this program gave me the opportunity to experience a bit of Taiwan culture that I otherwise could not have had.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?


* Safety:


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)



* 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 used the target language at all times in class. This way, we students all saw significant improvement in our language abilities.

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
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • strong academics
  • lots of opportunity to practice with native speakers
* What could be improved?
  • being able to go abroad (the end of the pandemic)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Because it was online, I had wondered if the program would actually enable me to increase my language skills by one year of study over just the summer. It did, and that has contributed to my giving the program the highest rating.

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!