Awesomeness awaits you, so just go for it! September 22, 2015

By (Chemical Engineering, University of Rochester) - abroad from 06/08/2015 to 08/14/2015 with

IES Abroad: Beijing - Contemporary China & Chinese Language

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I became a seeker of new adventures, and (besides the language) I learned how to enjoy my life fully. It was definitely worthwhile.

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Beijing - Beijing Foreign Studies University Photo IES Abroad: Beijing - Beijing Foreign Studies University Photo

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.

Professional instructors, and awesome friendships.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Friendly and organized.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the Residence halls. I liked that it was very close to my classes, and that my fellow friends from the same program are my roommates and we all are living in the same floor. The only downside if I may say is the fact that it is not a homestay where I might be able to practice my language more. However, the language pledge made up for that since we pushed each other to practice the language.

* Food:

Amazing! Even though there was no meal plan, and I had to go and find some food, the fact that I was going with my IES friends discovering the food and getting suggestions from the locals made the whole experience enjoyable, inexpensive, and tasty!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I have not had any health issues. I could say that from day one, the staff gave us all the information needed regarding health care and they show us how to seek help which made feel secure.

* Safety:

Like any city in the world, Beijing has its share of crimes. I have not seen or been through any safety issues, but I have heard on the news some stories that happened between locals. The thing is when you apply common sense like going with group and not staying in isolated places late at night, you will be safe. I gave it 4 stars because things might happen in worse scenarios yet it is still safe.

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

Finances

* 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)

On average, every week I spent no more than $86 which is about 500 RMB. I say no more because with that money you can eat whatever you want, and probably buy some souvenirs. I believe that to be pretty affordable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $86/week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Use cash, minimize your visits to the ATM, and only draw your week needs. Be wasteful sometimes, but not at the beginning. Get your habits straight first!

Language

* 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

A lot! We had a language pledge where within the campus, we only speak Chinese to each other (IES friends). The first month, only advanced students participated in the pledge and for few hours per day. But then after that, everyone was required to participate and it was for 24 hours within the campus area (which kind of included our residence hall). Of course, the pledge did not include situations of emergencies

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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? On my phone, I have two applications. One is a dictionary called Pleco that with it I can search for new words and make flashcards and test myself. The second is a learning program that has lessons and games made by Mind Snacks. One another program that I loved is called Study Chinese through songs. It has a bunch of Chinese songs with Chinese lyrics and translations. Tip: build a habit of learning on daily basis, and reviewing on weekly basis.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • IES Friends
  • Friendliness and professionalism of Instructing.
  • The balance of rigorousness and fun
* What could be improved?
  • Getting Beginners into the Language Pledge from the second week rather the fifth.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Going on trips and having fun with the language helps you learn the language better. So do your homework early and have fun fully.

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!