Can I go again? Past Review

By (Pennsylvania State University - University Park / Penn State) - abroad from 01/11/2017 to 05/06/2017 with

Beijing Foreign Studies University: Beijing - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Life longs friends, a set of skills that set me apart from the average college student, fluency in Chinese that was beyond my own expectations, professional connections that will hopefully provide in the future. Yes, 100% worthwhile.

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.

The professors are very good at their jobs and considering the amount of Chinese I learned, I would say the academics are more than adequate and sufficient.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

All professors were very professional and all staff members were incredibly helpful and more than willing to work with you if any problems arose.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The rooms are a little small for two people, but it is nothing unbearable. The bathroom amenities were sometimes hard to work with, but that is more building issues rather than the program. I loved having a Chinese roommate who was able to help me with anything I needed. Having my friends and classmates right across the hallway from me definitely made living in the dorms together a lot of fun. We had a kitchen and a lounge area that we used quite often too.

* Food:

Food provided by the university's cafeteria is cheap and very good, I enjoyed it. If you'd rather eat off campus, there are many many great restaurants and food vendors right outside the gates of campus. A++

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with Chinese roommates definitely helped with integration, it helped us practice Chinese even after classroom hours and it gave us the opportunity to make friends with people who knew Beijing really well and go on adventures with. We went to the zoo with our floor and they were just as excited as us to see the pandas! We also spent an evening cooking our hometown's local specialties and we tried a lot of southern Chinese food.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I wasn't personally affected, but for those in my program who were said that it was easy and a professor/staff member was present during any times were a hospital visit was necessary.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in the city, I felt that I had the knowledge, preparation, and resources to stay safe during my program. Beijing is a very friendly city and locals are more than happy to help any foreigners out who are lost.

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

This program has unique and amazing opportunities that are life changing experiences that you won't stop talking about. I had the best time of my life and made some of my best friends in the world (pun intended) and would definitely recommend to anyone who is considering studying abroad in China.


* 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)

Eating at the cafeteria was a great way to save money, food is insanely cheap there and it is still really good food. No other personal expenses were required, so unless you really like shopping you should be fine.


* 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 had a Language Pledge that forbid speaking English at all times, so even between friends we had to speak Chinese. This really helped internalize speaking Chinese and making it a habit.

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? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Chinese 003
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? Speak to locals. Read books you know very well like Harry Potter or Twilight in Chinese. Watch movies you know all the words to in Chinese with subtitles. Make local friends and go out and experience the local world in their language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* 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?
  • People
  • Location
  • Opportunities
* What could be improved?
  • Communication with local expat groups
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how much I would end up missing my friends and the real, authentic Chinese food.

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!