My Chengdu, CN experience transformed me into Chinese! Past Review

By (Political Science and Chinese, Pacific Lutheran University) for

Pacific Lutheran University: Chengdu - PLU Gateway Program in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This program has changed me from a Communication major to a Chinese Studies major. It has made me want to pursue a masters at Beijing University. I have become an devout student of Chinese culture!

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I enjoyed the workload as it was not rigorous to the point where I could not experience the culture of China. The teaching methods in China were very Chinese. This is to say that they were lecture-based. Of course we experience this as students in the U.S, however it was even more prevelant in the Chinese educational system. I think this is important as it teaches people that the U.S way of education may not neccessarily be the best.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I think the living conditions were rough and very difficult. However, I would not prefer to live in a place much nicer, because I felt like I was getting a "Chinese" experience for lack of better words. Many Chinese students live with 5 students at the most in a place that is much smaller than our dorms. Therefore, I felt like I could understand to some degree of the harshness of this developing enviroment.

* Food:

I absolutely loved the food. However, I recommend to those who consider themselves picky eaters to really be prepared to be uncomfortable as modifications aren't something you can necessarily do in China. Be open minded because the food ranges from pig brain to beef.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I enjoyed Tibet! One of my favorite memories is walking into one of the temples and seeing a monk pray over japa beads (I think they are called japa). I bought them for less then 1 dollar and he prayed over them for me. I wear them everyday in the States. It reminds me of the simplicity of life even in this commericialized and materialistic society.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced Chinese with my friends that are Han Chinese. I was forced to use everything I learned in the classroom in my everyday interactions. This included buying meals, movies, anything! Not many people spoke English or they were to afraid too.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is best suited for someone incredibly open-minded. One must be willing to abandon there American lifestyle and anything that comes remotely close to it. One must look at every person as a teacher, take every new experience as a lesson and essentially become a student or rather a pupil of this hectic/chaotic blob that is China.