Past Review


Princeton University: Beijing - Princeton in Beijing

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I don't think its really altered my cultural awareness in any substantial way. That being said, it'll probably make my senior year seem a lot easier in comparison.

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.

Small class learning forces you to learn. My classes at my home institution were always much larger and this made progress more difficult.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program is summer only, and thus doesn't have a permanent office or a permanent staff. The head of the Chinese program at Princeton is here as well as a number of established Chinese teachers from various universities around the US. That said, I've not had many problems and not really had any reason to seek anything outside of homework help. If you've got questions about where to find things/where to go in the area its probably a better idea to ask the teachers.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Pretty standard foreign student dorm (at least for China). Two people to a room on campus. Internet connections are available. Air conditioning/safes/private bathrooms all included. <br /><br /> We're paired up with other PiB students in an on campus foreign students dorm. Sheets/towels were provided and replaced by the Fuwuyuans.

* Food:

Its China. The food is cheap, but not always without its side effects. Bring some Imodium if you want to be safe. Also if you don't eat meat... be careful. To some in Beijing, meat only includes pork.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Limited and touristy. That said we did end up going to a more secluded section of the great wall. Then again, this isn't a program meant for cultural immersion, its a program meant for studying and improving your language skills. I knew that coming into it.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Didn't really have any issues with health. Safety on the other hand... is completely out of the control of the program. What do I mean by this? The daily ritual of crossing a street. Crossing a street is a bit of an art form in China. You've got to know where the turn lanes are, when the lights are going to change, and what sort of driver is coming towards you. If its a car, bike or a motorcycle theres no need to worry. The buses however will blaze right through the intersection. Gotta keep your eyes open.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Its very easy to keep under 15 dollars (~100RMB) a week for food. Water on the other hand gets pricey. If you don't enjoy sipping tea/boiled water all the time, the constant 2-5RMB bottles of water do end up piling up relatively quickly.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Non really. Everything was detailed in the pre-departure information that the program sent me.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

We weren't (aren't) allowed to speak anything other than Mandarin. It can be a bit frustrating, but apparently its helped my pronunciation improve by leaps and bounds. You very quickly pick up on your own little mistakes and constantly have to adjust to fix them. While there were other programs in the dorms that did speak English, most in PiB kept to the pledge.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Attending Princeton in Beijing is perhaps one of the most painfully academic things I have ever done in my life. That said, its also one of the most rewarding. If you can't survive without English, or are unwilling to try new things, this program isn't for you. However, if you are hard working and really focused on improving your Chinese, it'll probably be a perfect fit.