Great Trip! Worthwhile and an awesome experience Past Review

By (East Asian Languages and Cultures, Barnard College) - abroad from 05/22/2014 to 08/02/2014 with

Study Abroad Programs in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to be more independent and step out of my comfort zone. The best part was the internship because I learned so much about myself, what career I want to pursue in the future, and gained a deeper understanding of Chinese culture. It was definitely a great 10 weeks spent in Shanghai.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Class was very rigorous and intensive. At times I would not have time to explore the city on weekdays and most Sundays because I would be doing homework. This was only the first 5 weeks of the program when we had the class. Each night I had about 5-6 hours of homework and had to meeting with my language partner. I was in the upper level business Chinese course (4th year).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Wifi was not great and room only had one desk. No storage space for clothing- room was very small.

* Food:

Ate out every meal- no kitchen and meal plan was not provided

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Very easily accessible. I was sick for 3 weeks and my teacher/program coordinator helped me find a western doctor which was very helpful. The visit was expensive but my insurance was able to help me cover most of the costs.

* Safety:

Shanghai is pretty safe; I would say safer than the United States.

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)

Food was cheap if you ate locally but money added up when we would go to restaurants on the weekend/go to tourist attractions

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? about $100-$150 USD


* 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

Speaking Chinese was always encouraged by our teachers and it was a must if you wanted to get around easily in Shanghai

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? Advanced Chinese
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? If you don't have a language partner, try to find one. They are very helpful and can even show you around the city/give you advice on cheap places to eat/go. Step out of your comfort zone and speak as much of the language as possible because that's the only way your speaking skills will improve. Watching TV shows/movies in that language helps as well.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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 internship
  • trips we took with the program
* What could be improved?
  • the structure of the class (first 5 weeks)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How intensive the class was; I knew that it would be tough but sometimes I felt that it was mainly busy work and I could have learned more by spending extra time with my language partner.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'