It was tough, but WORTH IT Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 06/12/2019 to 08/11/2019 with

CET Beijing

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The most gain I had was in my Chinese language ability. My goal was to be able to express any idea/thought I had in Chinese, which I definitely could not do prior to this program. By the end, this was possible. It may not have always been the best way to say it, but I figured it out.

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.

The courseload was harder than expected (especially for me because my university had not taught me how to write, only how to listen, read, speak, and type in pinyin) and the CET program requires writing. The teachers are supportive and available. The rigor was a good level, and I left feeling like I had learned as much as I could've in that time period.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

CET had a great full-time staff that was always available to help in any situation, whether it be medical, regarding visas, bank accounts, sim cards, etc.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was fantastic, air-conditioned and safe. There was cleaning staff that came in multiple times a week to clear the trash and once a week to change bedsheets.

* Food:

The dining hall on campus was AMAZING and so incredibly cheap. Breakfast, lunch and dinner total would be less than $3 USD a day, for large portions and high quality. The food was oilier and spicier than I was used to, but I adjusted as all students did.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Extracurricular courses (chinese caligraphy, chinese painting, Wushu) and weekend excursions to cultural sites helped me feel more integrated and understanding of Beijing and Chinese culture. My relationship with my roommate also contributed greatly to my social integration, and we naturally became very close friends.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

There are many health care centers for English-speakers, and the quality of healthcare was very good and efficient at the international hospital I went to.

* Safety:

China is very safe, biking around was very safe, some caution is advised when crossing busy streets.

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

Beijing was really the place to be for what I wanted out of a study abroad experience. I very much wanted to learn about Chinese history and culture, and Beijing is the place to be for that. In addition, I preferred here instead of Shanghai, where many people speak English. I really wanted to immerse myself in an environment where I'd have to speak Chinese, which is exactly what happened.


* 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)

Food in china, especially if you eat on campus, is very cheap. Take-out is also relatively cheap. Transportation, especially Didis, the Uber of China, and to biking, was very cheap. Clothing, toiletries (like soap) are similarly priced to America.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? less than $100


* 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

There was a full-time language pledge.

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? Two semesters, up to Chinese 20
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? Try to stick to the language pledge! Take breaks and speak English as needed for your own personal mental health.

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
  • International 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 teachers and their dedication to our learning
  • The weekend cultural trips!
  • The amazing friendships I made :)
* What could be improved?
  • The workload
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Study abroad will change you. Spend time when you're abroad thinking about why you're there and what you've seen, in terms of changes in your environment and changes to yourself. Make the most of it, and keep pushing yourself past your comfort zones and it will make the biggest change in your experience abroad.

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 Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.