An Unforgettable Experience in Beijing! Past Review

By (Anthropology Major, Chinese Minor, Temple University) - abroad from 08/28/2013 to 12/23/2013 with

Study Abroad Programs in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained confidence. Confidence in my Chinese speaking skills. Confidence with making new friends. Confidence I can spend time away from home.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned two semesters worth of Chinese in one semester. The staff were great additional resources along with the excellent professors who taught.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Alliance staff became my second family while abroad. They perfectly balanced the need to support students academically as well as personally while letting students take risks, grow, and have space in their new international environment.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was satisfied with my living arrangements. I only wish I had the opportunity stay with a host family but I came into the program with two semesters worth of Chinese under my belt instead of the needed three semesters. It also would have been nice to have Chinese roommates for this program.

* Food:

Alliance staff gave us helpful hints for places to eat when we first arrived. Shortly after arriving, I discovered all the wonderful food shops and stands around the university which sold safe, cheap, and tasty food!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did feel as though I was integrated with the culture. However, it was harder to integrate myself with the university since we weren't taking the university classes with Chinese students. It was also a little more difficult since we did not have Chinese roommates. Our Chinese conversation partners did help in meeting locals and exploring Beijing.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The Alliance staff was very attentive when I noticed I may have the 'Beijing hack'. They provided helpful advice and checked up on me to see how I was progressing.

* Safety:

Beijing and BLCU are very safe. I walked home from a 24/7 cafe at 2am by myself and did not feel unsafe.

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)

Beijing and China (in general) is a very accessible country for Westerns. I was able to eat for about $20-$25 USD per week. Shopping is relatively cheap and you can always try haggling.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20-$25 for food each week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan out how much money you can comfortable spend per week, or comfortably spend on food. Stick to your budget. Don't eat too much Western food because that will add up quickly.

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

We had Chinese class 3 hours per day, 5 days a week. I studied on average of 5-6 hours per night (although other students studied 4-5 hours). We ordered food, went shopping, and traveled using Chinese. However, if you are in a bind or lost, you can probably find someone who can speak a little English if you need help.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Chinese 1001
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? Don't speak English- even with your friends. Try and speak Chinese as much as you can to anyone who will listen!

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
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?
  • Qinghai Group Trip (1 week)
  • Independent Travel Week
  • Conversation Partners
* What could be improved?
  • Opportunity to live with host family
  • Integration with local university
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You don't need to pack nearly as many things as you think. Research and look at some study abroad blogs for advice. However, do bring all prescription medicine, non-prescription medicine (NyQuil), face washing/make up products, as well as feminine hygiene products.

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!