A Huge Growth Spurt Past Review

By (Chinese Language and Literature., St. Mary's College of Maryland) - abroad from 02/25/2013 to 07/04/2013 with

Fudan University: Shanghai - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My experience was absolutely worthwhile. I learned not only about the language and culture, but I learned a lot about my own culture. Being abroad helps you see yourself and your home country in a new light as well. I also made lots of amazing friends, both Chinese and international.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The classes weren't quite as rigorous as I was expecting. Although you can switch levels if needed and the teachers were very good.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was only one on-site administrator who spoke English who had to help all of the students. Communication was bad, dates were confusing. Very few staff members at the dorm or the office spoke English.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My dorm had no good access to a kitchen, and no microwave, but otherwise was fine.

* Food:

Cafeteria food was pretty terrible, but restaurants around the area were plentiful and fairly cheap.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The foreign students dorm is separate from the Chinese students, and all of my classmates were also foreigners, which made integration more difficult.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no experiences with healthcare. We all had to buy a mandatory insurance. I know some people with respiratory issues prior to coming to the city had their problems exacerbated by the pollution. I personally didn't have a lot of issues.

* Safety:

The city was very safe, to me. I walked back to the dorm alone at night several times and never felt threatened.

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)

The exchange rate made it a lot easier.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The cafeteria is a good option for breakfast, breakfast there is usually about $0.16. If you can stomach it, the lunch is around $1.


* 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

Classes were almost totally in Chinese. We very rarely used English in class at all.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Beginning course 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? Make Chinese friends, or foreign friends who don't speak much English. That way your only common language is Chinese and you're forced to use it.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

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?
  • Meeting other international students
  • Living in Shanghai
  • Living on campus
* What could be improved?
  • More detailed information
  • Better communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I took more advantage of my time in country and did more traveling. I spent too much time just hanging out on campus, instead of getting out in the city or surrounding cities.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!