Fantastic Program for Those Dedicated to Learning Chinese Past Review

By (International Relations, The College of William and Mary) - abroad from 01/12/2015 to 05/15/2015 with

Beijing Foreign Studies University: Beijing - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Language skills, competency abroad, and a wealth of unique experiences

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.

The academics is probably the strongest component of this program and the reason that it is a popular option for those looking to study in Beijing. I would consider the staff of the core language classes as well as the resources available to IES students at BFSU as first-rate.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Sometimes things would change last-minute, but overall the program staff were very competent.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The resident halls are pretty nice, but this semester was awkward because a portion of my residence hall was non-IES, and we were supposed to be doing a language pledge on the entire floor. There was some conflict with IES and non-IES resources, and many of the people in the hall would stay up very late on weeknights making noises.

* Food:

The food is fantastic, but watch out for food poisoning! If it seems sketchy, don't eat it.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

IES needs to do more to integrate students with the student life on campus. We really get a feel for China culture while we're there but not a feel for what college life is like for a typical Chinese student.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health care issues while there.

* Safety:

I feel safer in Beijing than I do in DC. That being said, be cautious of your personal belongings at all times.

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)

Beijing can be expensive, and inflation is insane in the city. (Basically five years ago it was significantly cheaper to live there.) Still, China is a very affordable country in which to study abroad. If you go out on the weekends and eat at nice restaurants, you can blow through $150/week, but I you can keep a budget under $400 a month by watching your spending.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $150


* 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? 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? 201
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? Talk to people. In the beginning, I was far too afraid to speak Chinese, and this hindered my ability to some extent.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* 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?
  • language component
  • travel opportunities
  • ease of working with program
* What could be improved?
  • class schedule
  • integration with campus
  • elective courses
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's not necessary to get so anxious before the start of the program!

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!