Journey to the Middle Kingdom Past Review

By (Fordham University) - abroad from 01/08/2012 to 05/11/2012 with

The Beijing Center: Semester and Full Year Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Language skills, new perspectives on society and peoples, better understanding of myself. Absolutely worthwhile, the smartest thing I did in college

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.

Very intense, more so than home university, but very interesting and achievable. Only complaint would be being unable to travel as much as planned because of academic rigor

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very good, had our backs but gave us enough freedom to expose ourselves to the culture and people

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Not comfortable at first, but could easily adapt. Had an incredible roommate that helped with adjustments and showing me around

* Food:

Cafeteria food not that great, but tons of delicious cheap places to eat off campus so it didn't matter. Probably gained 10 lbs as a result but worth the discovery!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt integrated as much as I could have with my language level and being a foreigner. My roommate introduced me to her friends, which helped, and Chinese people are pretty friendly in general so not too hard to start conversations. Furthermore, program had two excursions, particularly a 2-week trip through Yunnan province where we got to interact and meet various ethnic minorities and stay in their homes. I think the program did an excellent job at encouraging us to explore and meet new people/places

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Had no health issues so couldn't comment

* Safety:

felt very safe in China

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)

China is CHEAP, though you do start to spend more than you plan because it is so cheap. Traveling is not as cheap as it used to be, but food and basic necessities continue to be very affordable

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
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? Compare prices, and little expenses do accumulate over time. Bring more than you think you'll need, and take out as much as cash at a time as possible since most businesses in China are cash-only, and the bank fees are high


* 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? 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? Intermediate 2 (equivalent of end beginner 2 in program)
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? Don't be afraid of making a fool of yourself and start talking to people around you. Texting in the language is also helpful

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
* 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?
  • Learning Chinese
  • Yunnan excursion and overall travel
  • Meeting Chinese friends
* What could be improved?
  • Some of the courses
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Should have stayed the whole year rather than just a semester Plan the traveling better ahead of time

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

China in the World Economy

Course Department: Economics
Instructor: Frank Hawke
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Challenging, a lot of reading but very informative and comprehensive. Only regret would not to be able to voice opinions through essay or some other way than class discussions. Otherwise I learned a lot from the course and respect the professor very much.
Credit Transfer Issues: Have not attempted to transfer credits yet, but should work towards my major and minor.
Course Name/Rating:

Intensive Intermediate Mandarin

Course Department: Mandarin
Instructor: "Charles" Wang
Instruction Language: Mandarin
Comments: This 6-credit course was challenging at first, then got used to the intensity and could keep up. Learned A LOT of new terms and sentence structure necessary to survive. Professor was excellent, very kind and resourceful.
Credit Transfer Issues: Should work towards my major credits, but have not attempted yet
Course Name/Rating:

International Finance

Course Department: Economics/Finance
Instructor: Xi Yiping
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The content was very useful and interesting, but bad professor - not enough problem solving during class and attempt to stimulate students' interests
Credit Transfer Issues: Have not transfered credits yet, but shoudl work towards my major and minor
Course Name/Rating:

Sino-US Relations

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Shi Yinhong
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Brilliant professor, though a little bit in his own world. Very interesting topics, but class time could have been better spent with more discussion. Otherwise, very good and professor is an expert in the field. Moreover, interesting to hear the Chinese perspective on many political issues
Credit Transfer Issues: Should work towards my major, but still need to get grades