Teaching English + learning Chinese = the best year ever Past Review

By (Mandarin & Chinese Culture, Bard College) - abroad from 09/05/2016 to 06/03/2017 with

Chinese Language Institute / CLI: Guilin - Teach in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Not only did my Mandarin improve several levels in a short time, I also really grew to understand the community/society in which I was living. By the end of the year, I felt like I was a Guilin local and super confident about my abilities to keep living, working and studying in China. CLI definitely gave me the tools I needed to pursue my dreams here.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

When I was looking for options to teach in China, CLI was the only organization that really recognized my vision of working while also continuing my education. Because of CLI, I was able to explore and engage with my new environment independently while also having great resources and a strong support system backing me up.


* 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)

Guilin is a great place to go if you're a student or recent graduate because the cost of living is quite low, though the quality of life - sophisticated city, fresh food, gorgeous nature, ect. - was still high.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent about $50 on food per week, which was more than enough.


* 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

CLI recognized that my journey was not only about teaching English, but also about learning Mandarin and being immersed in 'real China'. They honored this balance and worked with me to design a great schedule, so I had a really well-rounded experience.

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 3
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? I would definitely take advantage of CLI's language pledge option and 'pengyou' program (where you get set up with a local language partner) as much as possible.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Other
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?
  • One-on-one language classes
  • The school where I taught (one of CLI's partner middle schools)
  • CLI's international community and friendly staff
* What could be improved?
  • More information about my living situation provided beforehand
  • A more thorough program orientation
  • Better options for my commute to work
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I'd known more about the Chinese education system so that my adjustment to a new work environment at a local school would have been a bit more seamless.

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.'