A Memorable Summer in Beijing Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 06/13/2018 to 08/12/2018 with

CET Beijing

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I have undoubtedly improved my ability to employ the Chinese language in practical settings while living in China. In addition, my understanding of Chinese culture was broaden due to my expose to Chinese people and my ability to discuss cultural differences with my roommate.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Although there is no pledge to speak Chinese with a few exceptions in this program, the combination of CET's Chinese classes, elective classes, and an internship was often quite rigorous and consuming of time. I have seen much improvement in my language ability by the end of the program, mostly due to excellent instruction from Chinese teachers. The internship course, however, did not provide too much educational value and the work completed for this class was not very purposeful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Whether it was visiting a doctor or planning a trip to another city, the resident director was always willing to help the students with the challenges that they have encountered. There were some problems concerning internship placements for some individuals during the beginning of the program though.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorm rooms we lived in were regularly cleaned and well-maintained by the staff. It was very convenient to have a private bathroom within my own room rather than a communal one. Internet connections were sometimes inconsistent though.

* Food:

Compared to costs in the United States, the cost of food in China is almost always less expensive, especially at the cafeteria on campus. There is a decent variety of restaurants serving Chinese cuisine located within a short walking distance from campus.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with a Chinese roommate to speak Chinese with and ask questions about Chinese culture definitely helped me learn so much. The program will reimburse you and your roommate for up to 70 RMB per week for cultural activities that you do together such as visiting a historical site.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I have only experienced a mild stomach bug which was simply treated with over-the-counter medicines, but other students who has more serious conditions were assisted very well by the program.

* Safety:

I have personally never felt unsafe when I was out in Beijing even when I am traveling alone in the evening.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

Part way through the program, I realized that I was more interested in improving my Chinese language ability more than anything else. I felt some regret for not applying for the Intensive Language program instead.


* 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)

The cost of living in Beijing is generally cheaper than the that of the United States, but overspending may occur if you do not mind your spendings wisely.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use walk or use public transportation if possible as opposed to riding a taxi. Dine at the campus cafeteria instead of eating in restaurant too often.


* 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

Chinese was almost exclusively spoken in the Chinese classrooms and during our weekly lunch with our Chinese teachers.

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? Chinese 20B
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? Be willing to speak Chinese to people such as your roommate even if they can proficiently speak English. Talk to other American students in Chinese even when you are not required to do so.

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?
  • immersion in China
  • Chinese teachers
  • small class sizes
* What could be improved?
  • internship course
  • more free time to explore China
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I planned more according and managed my time more wisely in order to maximize my time to explore China while completing all of my academic responsibilities.