Shanghai, Paris of the East Past Review

By (Accounting, Saint Francis College) - abroad from 07/16/2015 to 08/15/2015 with

CUNY - College of Staten Island: Shanghai - Study Abroad at Shanghai University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned independence, how to travel, how to recognize Celsius temperatures, and how much in common we as humans all have. No matter what part of the world you're from.

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


* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Very close to Western living, I was pleased.

* Food:

If you are daring you will have fun, if you want to eat hamburgers and french fries all day Shanghai really isn't the place for you. Overall, the food is great. Just be open minded. They do offer Western cuisine but eating traditional food is a way to get the most out of this experience.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

People were kind.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I twisted my ankle badly, the nurse gave me a strange patch for it but it worked very well and took down the pain.

* Safety:

24/7 security, I felt very safe traveling alone and with my friends during all hours of the day and night.

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

I had an absolutely fantastic time! The reps at CUNY Staten Island were extremely helpful, Russell Davis was my coordinator. The orientation CUNY S.I. hosted was most informative & really useful. Arriving to China was easy & the staff at Shanghai University were great in picking me up on time. The dorms were safe, clean, and comfortable to live in. I had my own bathroom,AC, nice big window, TV, desk, & closet. In addition the rooms came with bed sheets and a pillow. The campus & dorms had 24 hour surveillance which made me feel very safe. There was WIFI, an elevator, laundry room, & kitchen. There also was a daily cleaning lady who cleaned the hallways, kitchen, & took out the garbage from the dorm rooms. My dorm was about a 6 city block walk from the subway and major mall which made independent travel/shopping super easy. The school was situated in a great location. I believe they did their best to make this as close to home as possible for Western students. Living in China can be very daunting with the cultural and lifestyle differences but I was delighted with the job administration did. The administration at Shanghai Uni. were extremely welcoming & caring. The study abroad students were organized into groups & each group was assigned 2-3 native Shanghai University students. I thought this was crucial because these students acted as our buddies & translators. They would help us bargain, teach us new words or phrases, and were always there to help. They came on the trips with us & would help the abroad students stay organized & know what time the buses were coming etc. In exchange many English teaching students would practice English with them. This truly made for a great learning experience. Administration tried to assist students with every need & even helped some students book weekend trips outside of Shanghai (get better rates since they were Chinese natives). My Mandarin teacher was very kind & had an organized curriculum. However I think it would've helped if she knew some more English. Sometimes other students & I didn't understand her & vice versa. The lectures we had were informative and really gave insight into Chinese culture & history. One of my favorite lectures was on Calligraphy & Chinese economics. The Calligraphy lecture was led by a world famous Calligrapher who was very kind to give students each a custom piece of his work. Another memorable part of the trip was one night the Executive Director of International Studies for CSI/CUNY, Stephen Ferst, invited the CSI students out to a wonderful dinner. This was nice because it was a dinner for just these students in the program. Food during the program was fantastic & was offered much more often than I expected. Many times on trips a large lunch was waiting for us or a nice dinner. They program truly did all they could to make a lasting and memorable impression. At our graduation we had a private party room with food and all the members of the program and their families. Even local news stations came to cover the event. Overall, I'm thrilled I was able to have this experience and meet the many amazing people I did. I'm thankful for the many new international friends I have from Europe, New Zealand, Africa, Bahrain, Thailand, Japan, South America, & even Uzbekistan. A big thank you to SFC, CSI, & CUNY S.I., their help & knowledge. Their cooperation made for an enjoyable process and time abroad. I look forward to one day being able to return to Shanghai and travel to different parts of China & Asia as a whole.


* 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)

It was very easy to keep a budget here. You can bargain for just about everything. I would suggest $600 USD for the month.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try to eat at local places. I bought lunch at Carl Junior's once and it was more expensive then American fast food. *Remember to them this fast food is a luxury.


* 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

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? N/A
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? Use youtube!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
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?
  • Student Helpers
  • Administration
  • Food/Nightlife/Friends
* What could be improved?
  • Teachers with more English knowledge
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to read Celsius and not to over pack!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.