Xi'an and the Silk Road Adventure Past Review

By (Anthropology Major, Chinese Minor, Temple University) - abroad from 02/11/2014 to 06/06/2014 with

Study Abroad Programs in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained confidence. Confidence I could speak another language. Confidence I could make friends with locals. Confidence I could travel away from home by myself.

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.

We had 3 hours of Chinese class per day, 5 days per week. Plus an additional 5-6 hours of studying a night. The Alliance staff and professors were incredibly knowledgeable and helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Alliance staff were helpful with both my academic and personal needs. They were receptive of ideas students had to improve program as well.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was extremely satisfied with my living arrangements in that I had a Chinese roommate. We are still in contact after I returned home and is a life long friend. The only negative aspect I have with the living arrangements were that the rooms were really hotel rooms (little storage or appropriate desk and chair).

* Food:

Food in Xi'an is delicious. Staff showed us many places to eat when we first arrived and all vendors on or around campus are safe, cheap, and tasty. You can also experience the influence of Muslim culture with the food in Xi'an.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated with the local culture because of my Chinese roommate. She played an important role in bridging me with the local culture in the aspect of food, clothing, music, dance, art, pop culture, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health concerns while abroad but other students did get sick (cold, flu, etc.) and Alliance staff quickly took them to health services on campus and served as a translator as well (if needed).

* Safety:

Xi'an is an extremely safe city. I was not worried walking around the city at night by myself.

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)

Students can budget $20-30 USD a week to eat in China. Stay away from Western food because that is expensive though. Shopping is cheap in China and you can always try bargaining.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20-30 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Stay aware from Western food if you want to stay on budget or only eat it as a treat!

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

I spoke Chinese in class 3 hours per day as well as only spoke Chinese with my Chinese roommate. I shopped, ordered food, and traveled using my Chinese as well. Xi'an does not have as many English speakers/menus/signs so be aware of this factor.

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? 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? Only speak Chinese. Do not speak you native language with friends or locals. Challenge yourself and you will excel!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
* 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?
  • Silk Road 2 week field study trip
  • Long weekend Independent Travel
  • Little English spoken in city
* What could be improved?
  • Integration with local university
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You don't need all those items you "think" you need. Do some research and check out some study abroad blogs before packing. However, bring all prescription and non-prescription medicine (NyQuil) as well as face wash/make-up and 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!