A world-opening semester in China Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 02/14/2019 to 06/01/2019 with

Middlebury Schools Abroad: Middlebury in Kunming

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The language pledge was challenging but incredibly rewarding. Because every moment of the day was lived in Chinese, every moment of the day was a chance to learn and grow. Since being back, I still think about my time in China almost every day.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Taking classes entirely in Chinese is hard work, but incredibly rewarding and definitely not overwhelming.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Well organized, smoothly administered. I felt very supported.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The hotel was very nice, and I loved living with a roommate.

* Food:

The canteen food was tasty and very cheap!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Because the Middlebury program was almost entirely separate from the rest of the university, I felt like I did not totally get a sense of what it was like to be a Chinese university student.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The one time I got very sick I mostly just dealt with it on my own.

* Safety:

I felt very safe the entire time I was there.

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

Even though it wasn't perfect, I learned and grew so much from my time there.


* 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 main things I spent my money on were food and travel. Even thought we had to pay for our own food, the canteen food was very cheap, which left extra money to budget for traveling.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat at the canteen/cafeteria as much as possible. The food is tasty and it will save you a lot of money.


* 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? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Chinese 411
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? Use it, use it, use it! Living in China is the best way to improve your Chinese, because you don't have a choice but to practice speaking it!

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

  • 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
  • Having a Chinese roommate
  • The location
* What could be improved?
  • Better integration with the university
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? No matter what you do, you can't possibly prepare yourself for everything! Trust your language ability, and trust the program to have your back.

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 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.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Yunnan Yanjiu

Course Department:
Instructor: Mo Laoshi
Instruction Language: Chinese
Comments: The teacher was wonderful and very organized. The workload was reasonable. It was a great way to put my time in Kunming in context.
Credit Transfer Issues: The Middlebury Chinese department does not count courses taken abroad for the Chinese major or minor. This does not make sense to me, as I learned far more about Chinese language and culture from my courses taken abroad than I have in any course at Middlebury.
Course Name/Rating:

Yunnan's Ethnic Minorities

Course Department:
Instructor: Wu Laoshi
Instruction Language:
Comments: I appreciated the opportunity to take a course from a professor who actually taught at a Chinese university. Her focus was more on content than grammar, and I learned a great deal from her class.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

China's Environmental Policy

Course Department:
Instructor: Ren Laoshi
Instruction Language:
Comments: The course was not very demanding but also not the most engaging. I definitely learned some useful information about Chinese environmental policy and attitudes, but I had some qualms about the structure of the course.
Credit Transfer Issues: