Despite the complete lack of a "program", a worthwhile experience. Past Review

By (Chinese And French, Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/10/2012 to 07/07/2013 with

Fudan University: Shanghai - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Because I had little/no support, I became much more independent and assertive. I managed to accidentally stumble upon aspects of the culture and people that I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. That said, it was worthwhile.

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.

Chinese Universities are not comparable to Western Universities. The educational experience is not nearly as fulfilling, and there were virtually no resources provided by my program. It was, however, an incredibly "intense" experience due to the extent of immersion I was experiencing.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

What administration? It took months to be registered for any of my courses and it was nearly impossible to get a response to any questions regarding courses, enrollment, or even simple questions regarding the calendar.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements were extremely comfortable and reasonable.

* Food:

I ate only imported foods, and cooked at home most days. The food on the streets and in the local restaurants can't be trusted (toxic amounts of lithium in the rice, rat meat sold as lamb meat, fake tofu, the list is endless).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I was in Shanghai, so there is a little confusion regarding "local culture" there. It is a constantly changing and developing city, but I still felt integrated with the locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

My program, again, provided absolutely no guidance in any field. I had my own health insurance program, as well as a small insurance plan with Fudan University the second semester. I was required by the Chinese government to be on the Fudan Health plan the first semester as well, but again, due to lack of administration, I was not registered.

* Safety:

Although the probability of being robbed or assaulted is very low, environmentally speaking it is not safe. I wore a mask to class every day due to the pollution and checked the pollution levels before leaving the house. Despite the mantra "It's worse in Beijing", it's still over five times worse in Shanghai than in most Western cities.

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


* 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)

I spent about 100 dollars a week, and that included imported groceries. Public transport is extremely cheap.


* 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? Advanced
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? A 300-level language course
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? Read "People's Daily". They use the same standard characters in every issue, and the articles are identical in layout, so it is easy to learn.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Location
  • Living arrangements
  • Independent abroad experience
* What could be improved?
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Education
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew what classes to sign up for. I wish I knew what offices to go to to register for them. I wish I knew that there was a Wellesley Club in Shanghai and dozens of other Wellesley alums/students in the city. I wish I had known how difficult it would be to communicate with professors and administration and receive help from them.

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.