Unforgettable Experience Past Review

By (Chinese & Japanese, Austin College) - abroad from 08/28/2013 to 12/20/2013 with

China Study Abroad Reflections: Comprehensive Reviews of Past Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was completely worthwhile, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I gained self-confidence, by learning how to function in completely different environments and circumstances. I made lifelong friends, and learned more than I could have imagined when I left.

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 classes of the program were very intense. I learned a lot, but I wish I had more free time to explore the city and hang out with local friends.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The RD, Orion, and Xiaohan are wonderful friends and advisors. They can help you with anything you need.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The school had overbooked the international dorms, so we stayed in the hotel on campus. It was nice by Chinese standards, but the university could never control the bugs and rats that came in and out.

* Food:

Chinese food is amazing, but be warned, you are in a city that likes spicy food and noodles. Almost everything is spicy, but delicious, so don't be afraid to try things.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Like I said above, I wish I had more free time to further integrate myself into the local culture. But, through the Silk Road trip and various field trips, I caught glimpses of Chinese culture I don't think I would have experienced on any other program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't need healthcare abroad, but several other students got sick and needed healthcare, and they all had good experiences.

* Safety:

China has a low rate of sexual violence, and violence in general. But watch out for pickpockets and thieves, Xi'an is well known for them. As long as you're vigilant, you'll be fine.

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)

Carefully managed, you can spend $50 a week for food, $75 if you want to spurge a bit. If you bargain well, you can get a good amount of souvenirs for not much money.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50


* 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 only used Chinese in class, except for translation exercises. All Chinese classes go on a field trip every two weeks to use what we learn in class.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Chinese 201
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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?
  • City
  • Silk Road Trip
  • Administration & Teachers
* What could be improved?
  • Add more Chinese levels
  • Work on smoother scheduling
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had memorized more vocabulary, so that I would be able to try more things and communicate better. Especially food vocabulary, that would have made ordering my own food 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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'