A Different Language: Studying Abroad in China Past Review

By (Business Administration, Towson University) for

Sichuan University: Chengdu - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Communication skills, adaptation skills, and accepting of other views and opinions.

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.

You can decide on the workload whether intensive or non-intensive. Also, workload depends on the level you are placed in. In intermediate level, I had all morning and afternoon classes which ended at half past noon. You have the decision to enroll in other classes that are offered such as cinema, art, culture, etc. which are offered once or twice a week and in the evenings. Classes are strictly taught in Chinese and is enforced to only speak in Chinese during class times.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There are different programs from other foreign schools occurring at the same time as my program is occurring. Which at first was a little confusing but we got the hang of it.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The semester I stayed in China I stayed at a Hotel on campus because the dormitory for foreigners were being renovated. We didn't have to provide any sheets. We were unable to cook in our rooms. So, we didn't need to buy any cookware.

* Food:

For future students, perhaps try to find out where the cafeteria places are and how to acquire a cafeteria card. Remember everything is done in Chinese.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

National Holiday and Field trips organized by my program One of them included an afternoon visiting and getting into hotsprings.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I was required to get some vaccines. I went to Passport Health and they provided great information on the country I was going to. If not used to the local foods, you will most likely get traveler's diarrhea. I did for like two or three days but I took with me medications given to me by Passport Health just in case and it helped alot.

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? 100 yuan / $17.00 I usually didn't go to the cafeteria, I would go to nearby small restaurants and sometimes order five plates and share with those who are accompanying me. But sometimes those plates that are split with others are a little more expensive than the usual small portions. If you go to the traditional "Hotpots", then that will cost more and also it depends which "hotpot" restaurant you decide to go. (Some are expensive.) Also if you decide to have some Western ("home") food that you probably have missed then usually those Western restaurants are expensive too.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Bargaining should be done especially in tourist areas. But usually on the weekends when your exploring the city, you might spend a little more than usual.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? CHNS201
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

If you would like to improve language skills, you most definitely should make local friends that may speak a little English but for the most part Chinese and that will force you to learn more. When making friends with other foreigners, it will somewhat delay the process of learning the new language because you will be more comfortable in only speaking English which is not good if you really want to improve language skills. Usually, I would meet with a local friend and do a language exchange. The local friend will help me with my Chinese and teach me new things or reinforce topics I didn't understand in class. After, I would teach the local friend English or help the local friend study for an important exam and give them pointers. Most local people did not know English. Now since we stayed at a dorm with all foreigners, the majority spoke in English.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Discovering a new country, culture, and language
  • Making new friends
* What could be improved?
  • Learning the language more (more local friends, more events to learn Chinese)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Those who will benefit from the program is someone who is a risk-taker and open-minded and willing to try new and odd things.