A learning experience that taught me about myself and my heritage Past Review

By (Fine and Studio Arts., Hamilton College) - abroad from 02/12/2014 to 06/06/2014 with

Study Abroad Programs in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Every time I go back to China I learn more and more about the vast country. This time I learned more about the social nuances of the younger population. Rather than being a tourist I talked to and learned about Chinese students and what goes on in their daily lives. I learned how to ink paint and how to cook tradition dishes. I argued with venders and restaurant waiters. I travelled to a southern province on my own and booked a hostel and plane ticket on my own. It was a real down on the ground experience. Yes there were some bells and whistles that reminded me I was studying abroad and not a citizen but for the most part, on a day to day basis, I liked how we were allowed to get our hands dirty and were encouraged to participate rather than be spectators. The program was definitely worthwhile.

Review Photos

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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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* 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

Finances

* 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? I spent about $30 a week on food and 10-20 dollars a week on other expenses. I shopped a lot though for clothes and gifts.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? learn to bargain very well if you know you like to shop. Also find hole in the wall restaurants- they are cheap and the food is amazing.

Language

* 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? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 230
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? I took art lessons from a professor who knew very little english so that forced me to use Chinese for the full three hours that I was with him. I suggest people talk to their roommates in Chinese and talk to street venders. Street venders are always excited to talk to foreigners. Bargaining is fun and definitely helps with practicing Chinese. Also ordering food in Chinese is a good exercise.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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 independence we were allowed
  • The food
  • Interacting with locals
* What could be improved?
  • I would have liked another travel weekend or week
  • the exam schedule was a little crowded and hectic
  • Chinese should be more credits if it's going to be three hours a day and be that much work
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The website advertised that there was an art history course being offered and since I'm an Art major I needed that art history course. The program was unique in that it offered an art history course so I decided to go on this program only to find out that the course wasn't actually being offered. Also the extreme intensity of the Chinese program should be more accurately advertised.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!