Wo ai ni, China! Past Review

By (Brigham Young University) - abroad from 05/01/2013 to 06/15/2013 with

Brigham Young University: Traveling - China Dance Study Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a greater testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His plan for me. I gained lasting friendships and people skills. I learned about who I am. It was the best six weeks of my life. So worth it.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I sometimes felt like we spent too much time focusing on academics, whereas I would have enjoyed learning more about and experiencing Chinese culture.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The schools in Chengdu and Xi'an were nothing but wonderful to us. It was such a delight. However, there were difficulties with Beijing Dance Academy arranging classes and events.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The first hotel was awesome. Second was super sketchy and dirty. Third was fine for my roommates and me, but most of the other students had visible mold on the walls of their rooms.

* Food:

I loved being immersed in Chinese food! I wish I had more experience practicing chopsticks before we arrived, but that is okay. The only issue was that Beijing Dance Academy didn't feed us much meat, and since we were dancing several hours a day, I felt like I wasn't getting enough protein in my diet.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I definitely wish we had more free time to explore the area and immerse ourselves in the culture, but I did enjoy each experience we had.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I got injured during a rehearsal and my calf swelled up, but there was no ice to be found--which is what my first response would be in the US. Once I told my instructor, she sent faculty to locate magical Chinese medicine that I sprayed on my injury 3x a day. I'm not sure how well it worked compared to ice, but that's all we had.

* Safety:

I felt very safe. We always traveled in groups, usually with a boy. We kept our bags/backpacks in front of us and looked out for each other. There were a couple times where we'd be out and foreign strangers tried talking to us, but if it didn't feel right, we ignored them.

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)

All of our necessary expenses were paid for.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe five dollars? The yuan to dollar ratio is about 6:1, which was awesome. This money was usually just for snacks. And does not include our shopping trips.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Look into ORCA grants! See if there is a project or class for your major that you could do research for during the study abroad, and you may be able to receive grants for it. I did!


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

I would have LOVED to have learned more Mandarin before and during the trip. It was difficult to communicate with fellow dancers in the schools, and other people at restaurants and other places.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? none

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
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 people we met
  • the food we ate
  • getting to know my fellow BYU students better
* What could be improved?
  • more free time!!!
  • a more concrete schedule
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? China is NOT like America. But it is awesome in its own way.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'