Even a pandemic couldn't stop me from immersive language study November 20, 2020

By (Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey) - abroad from 06/22/2020 to 08/18/2020 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained cultural knowledge and engagement, I increased my language skills and my confidence to speak in academic settings and discuss difficult issues. I also improved my study habits, especially for remote learning.

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.

This program was very intensive, fast-paced, and required a lot of diligence. I was challenged continuously which helped me to grow in my academic progress

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

My program, although online was very well organized. It was the first time the program was offered online and it was also clear that the faculty and administration put a lot of effort into designing an effective virtual program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

N/A - Virtual Program I was able to complete the program at home

* Food:

N/A - Virtual Program

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Although a virtual program, I was able to connect one-on-one with my language partner who shared numerous aspects of Taiwanese culture with me.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A - Virtual Program

* Safety:

N/A - Virtual Program

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

The curriculum was engaging, the faculty and program staff were highly supportive, and the friends I made in class were great. I'm glad I got to engage, even virtually, with my Taiwanese language partner and develop a relationship over time. This program exceeded my expectations.


* 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)

N/A - Virtual Program I saved money by staying in the U.S. and not traveling.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $75/week for staples. I lived at home in California
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Create a budget, work and save as much as you can in advance, keep a reserve for emergencies.


* 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 were encouraged to only use Chinese

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? 200 - graduate level coursework in 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? Practice a little bit every day, repetition is key. Take opportunities to speak and engage in conversation, even if it's difficult or you're not the most outgoing person. Any practice is good practice.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Intensity
  • Language Partner
  • Professors
* What could be improved?
  • More face time
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had started the first assignments earlier, and also thought more carefully about the difference in time zones for scheduling.

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!