Spending 2 Months Abraod Past Review

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

CET Beijing

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I really got a lot out of actually practicing speaking Chinese.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

If you're looking for an extremely hard summer program, this is it. In just 8 weeks, we covered an entire year of Chinese through route memorization and regurgitation. I felt like I couldn't remember much of what we covered by the end of the week, much less by the end of the program. However, the teachers and roommates were absolutely incredible resources for learning about pop culture, how Chinese people address/think about certain issues, and learning useful words and phrases.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration (who have largely already been replaced) was literally the worst administration I have ever experienced in my life. The way that teachers were treated, students were not prioritized, and communication was not present at all was appalling.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements were actually very comfortable and I thoroughly enjoyed my roommate -- we are still very close friends and chat weekly.

* Food:

The food at the beginning of the term, when all of the students were still on campus, was quite good. As a vegetarian, I didn't find it frustrating or difficult at all to eat. However, as students left for summer break, food (especially vegetarian food) got harder and harder to find as floors of the cafeteria and on-campus restaurants closed. At times, I would ask if a dish had meat, would be told no, and then find out the hard way that there was meat in it anyways.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I often went out into the community to find fun, exciting things to do. The only issue was that being white, I felt isolated by everybody around me starring all the time, but that's to be expected.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

While I had no experience with healthcare, I will note that there was a very distinct lack of mental health facilities available at the program. If a student is mid-mental breakdown, it takes over an hour by subway to get to the nearest English-speaking hospital to talk to a doctor -- the program should have a mental health professional on site, at least a couple times a week.

* Safety:

I always felt very safe around campus and in the city, but I never went out alone (especially at night).

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

While I enjoyed the teachers and roommates, the administration of this program caused so many problems that I would not do it again. I cannot stress enough how badly in need of mental health facilities the program is.


* 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)

While all the prices seem to be relatively inexpensive, it really adds up when you have to eat every meal on your own! (Only one meal a week is provided by the program.)


* 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

Speaking of any language other than Chinese was strictly prohibited.

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? Advanced
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
* 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?
  • Chinese food
  • Roommates
  • Teachers
* What could be improved?
  • Mental health facilities
  • The administration
  • Communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Vegetarian food is very difficult to find in China. Be prepared to make some of the best friends you've ever had, but then be sad when you are no longer at the same school as them 8 weeks later.