Maybe it'll be better for you... Past Review

By (Vassar College) - abroad from 02/15/2019 to 06/02/2019 with

CET Shanghai

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I know that I would have regretted not studying abroad, but it was not really what I expected. I definitely learned a lot about Chinese culture. China has a lot of cool places to visit, and I'm glad I got the opportunity to go.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

For surface level or very simple things, the administration is very helpful. However, if you need them to address bigger issues, it's more of a struggle. I felt like, in order for some of my problems to be addressed, I had to very actively make it their problem, otherwise it seems like they assume students are overreacting and brush it off as a minor issue or give solutions that did nothing to address the actual problem. I felt like I spent an absurd amount of time and energy on trying to get what seemed like relatively routine issues resolved.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The rooms were very small which is understandable for a dorm room, and your payment includes an ayi coming to clean your room once a week. I don't know how the rooms compare to other dorms in China, but chunks of drywall would sporadically fall out the walls in my room. I also experienced a lot of issues with my wifi that were blamed on using a vpn; I was told that I'd stop having problems if I stopped using one, but connecting with the outside world or doing homework usually requires vpn. Many students' roommates spent a large amount of time in the dorm rooms which CET seems to view as positive but meant that you had very little time to yourself.

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The program provided very good insurance and we had access to a great medical center. It was very easy to schedule appointments, even for seeing a doctor that day. The insurance covered both appointments and medications without any copay which was very nice.

* Safety:

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

I would still want to study abroad in China, but I would not pick this program. I enjoyed my classes and the program sounds great in theory, but I had some issues with the living situation and the administration that seriously detracted from the experience.


* 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 and a lot of things are less expensive in China, but Shanghai is a more expensive city and it depends on your lifestyle. If you don't want to always have to do your homework in your room or a classroom, you'll probably be spending a lot of time in coffee shops, and coffee is unfortunately the same price or more than in the US. If you get tired of eating only Chinese food, it's also more expensive.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The random, small imported food stores usually have less expensive imported snacks than Carrefour


* 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

You had to speak Chinese in Chinese class, and they encouraged us to speak Chinese with our roommates, but you could get by with speaking almost no Chinese outside of class if you really didn't want to.

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? CHIN 350
How many hours per day did you use the 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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Very nice teachers
  • Shanghai was easy to travel from
  • Opportunity to travel
* What could be improved?
  • Replace roommates with language partners
  • Using different housing
  • Don't assume that students are just whiny
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? My only advice would probably be to come prepared with any kind of doctor's note you might need and to start trying to address issues with the administration immediately instead of trying to deal with them or tough it out.