Becoming Chinese...A Full Take on Immersion Past Review

By (Chinese, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 02/12/2014 to 06/02/2014 with

CET Shanghai

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained different perspectives on how a person lives a life, what I can do with my major, and how I can live up to my university's model of "what start's here changes the world.

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.

My classroom consisted of only two students and the teacher. Within two hours we both received a lot of speaking, reading, listening, and writing practice. In 4 months I was able to complete 3 semester's worth of Chinese material.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was very flexible and on point with making sure you have all the resources available. The only thing that they need to change is sending out information emails a little earlier.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Although we live in a dorm where there wasn't a dryer, and to others the room could seem small, but we were placed with Chinese roommates, so I really didn't care because I was getting the full immersion process.

* Food:

Donghua University dining halls are cheap and could be satisfying, but just like any other cafeteria, you get boring eating the same food. However, there were a lot of little restaurants outside the university, and some other types of restaurants around the area.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Our university's setting was located in the heart of the culture. In our neighborhood we had a park, subway station, small shops, small restaurants and residential buildings. I was able to interact with many different Chinese people each week.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

With this program, they provided us with health insurance. Although I didn't need to use these services, each student was given a health card, important numbers, and recommended hospitals to go to.

* Safety:

China is a pretty safe city in regards to crime. Campus is very safe because we need our ID card to access teaching facilities and dorms. There are also dorm guards that manage student entry. However, one has to be careful when crossing the roads and walking on the sidewalk sometimes because some motor bike riders adhere to the pedestrian traffic laws rather than the driver's traffic laws..

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)

For American students, living in China is a little easier when it comes to costs because everything is relatively cheaper than you would expect.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Food= $20 a week, personal= $25
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? When planning to travel to other places in your country, make sure that you put aside money for emergencies such as overweight luggage, missing flight, etc.


* 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 were not allowed to speak English in the classroom, or the hallways outside the classroom.

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 507
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? If you have a Chinese roommate, practice with them. If your Chinese roommate has friends, get to know them and practice with them! If you take a taxi, talk to your taxi driver because most of them would like to talk.

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Flexible
  • Intensive
  • Engaging
* What could be improved?
  • Offer better weekend trips
  • Offer more opportunities to meet local people
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I would have known Chinese geography before I went! Would have made planning my travel excursions a lot easier!

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!