A thrilling and culturally immersive experience! June 01, 2015

By (Economics, Boston College) - abroad from 01/12/2015 to 05/08/2015 with

The Beijing Center: Semester and Full Year Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained so much confidence, the ability to be adaptable, and fantastic cultural awareness. It was definitely worthwhile.

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.

The China in the World Economy course was perhaps one of my favorite courses ever taken during my experience as a university student. Furthermore, the Chinese classes were a bit long, but it was a necessary evil. I learned so much by the end of the semester. I started off at the Elementary II level and I will take Advanced Mandarin once I return back to my home university.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I knew Nick Poche, Sally Sun, Alan Jia and Father Geinzer the best, but they were all a delight to talk to each day. All of them were available either when you needed them or just wanted to chat. I had visa troubles very early on and the entire team quickly remedied the issue.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dorms were comfortable and I believe having a Chinese roommate helped me to improve my Chinese exponentially. Students must get used to air drying their clothes.

* Food:

Most of us ate outside of the east gate of UIBE. There you could find quick and cheap meals. There was also the option to eat in the canteens on campus, but students quickly ran out of money because of the 15% surcharge on every meal.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt extremely well integrated into the Chinese culture. We went on many cultural excursions and spent a significant amount of time with our roommates and tutors.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues on this trip, besides the occasional stomach bug. The staff were accommodating and there was always access to a doctor or hospital.

* Safety:

I felt comfortable walking around at night. I did this often going to and from the gym. However, students must pay attention to the traffic, because in China, the cars have the "right of way," not the pedestrians. Make sure that you are eating fruits that can be peeled and are drinking bottled or boiled water.

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)

Food is very cheap, but there was a lot of money spent within the first week for normal creature comforts.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Around $60-100 per week if you went out for drinks or had nice meals
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Do your own laundry, go on free excursions, PHOTOCOPY textbooks when in Beijing by either borrowing from your friends or library (DO NOT BUY THE BOOKS--TOO HEAVY AND COSTLY)

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

I was in class three hours per day for four days each week. I was surrounded my Chinese roommates, tutors, and pedestrians.

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? Elementary II
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? Go make Chinese friends and join clubs.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local 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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Yunnan Excursion
  • Chinese roommates/tutors
  • Living on campus
* What could be improved?
  • Internship Program
  • All students should have Chinese roomates
  • I wish that I knew more about campus events
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Even if you don't have prior language experience, you can still apply for the internship program. Don't undervalue your language skills if you have any to begin with.

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!