Great trip, but would have been better if they had used the placement tests. January 23, 2019

By (Bowdoin College) - abroad from 08/29/2018 to 12/16/2018 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Kunming

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Outside of the classroom I had a fantastic experience, it was worthwhile but could have been done better.

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.

Learned a lot but courses were excessively difficult. Everyone was treated the same despite having very different levels of Chinese so those who started out less proficient struggled and those who came in speaking very well were not challenged.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Slow to react for me struggling academically. Host university administration was very troublesome.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

This is probably as good as its going to get in China

* Food:

Delicious and cheap

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Chinese roommates and lots of opportunities to interact with locals but wish I didn't have to spend so much time in my room doing work.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Western hospital. As good as it's going to get in China.

* Safety:

Seemed very safe. Primary concern would be traffic accidents but there's nothing the program can do to change that.

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

Maybe, but I would study Chinese more beforehand. I would not advise someone to take this program if they might be in the lower half of the class because placement test were pretty much ignored and we really struggled.

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)

You have to pay for your own food all the time but it's so inexpensive it doesn't matter.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Probably $100 USD and I wasn't trying to save money at all. Could have been more like $20 if I only ate at the dining hall.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't try to save too much, it's already inexpensive and going to local restaurants is worth it. In general, it's a little unfair that Midd in China has the same tuition as the Midd in Europe programs since life in China is so much less expensive. I suspect part of my tuition funded someone's stay in Europe.

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

Spoke thee sentences of English while in China.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
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? 2nd year Chinese, it was not enough.
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? Go somewhere with a language pledge and keep it. Midd Kunming is probably the right place we spoke zero English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • The language pledge
  • Travelling around the province
  • Having local roommates
* What could be improved?
  • Look at our placement tests and teach us accordingly
  • More time to travel
  • Less test-heavy curriculum
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Shouldn't have tried so hard, should have dropped a class, should have had more fun and time outside.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.