A Different Chinese Experience Past Review

By (Ohio University) - abroad from 08/28/2013 to 09/22/2013 with

Study Abroad Programs in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Gained a different perspective of what "China" means. Definitely worthwhile

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The Chinese Language classes were much more intense than at my home university. For the top level, which I was in, instruction was carried out at a fast pace all in Chinese. The difficulty, however, was relative. Classmates of mine said it was easier than their home teachers. The other two classes were all lecture-based with only two exams, plus a term paper for one. They weren't as intellectually-stimulating

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our residential director changed about a month into the program. This was a little unnerving, given that it was only a short time before the Silk Road trip. However, the new RD had worked with the program before, so he knew how to run it. Both him and the program assistant were readily available to help with questions and would often drop by to check on us.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

For most people, the housing situation was the worst part of the trip. We were put into a different building than promised in the brochure. It was a hotel, not a dorm or apartment, so we have almost no storage. There were mice, mosquitoes, and bed bugs in many of the rooms. Mold was also found.

* Food:

We did not have easy access to refridgerators or microwaves, so most of our meals were eaten at restaurants or from carry-out. The restaurants by the school had a good mix of traditional Chinese, international, and Western food. As well, the Alliance staff frequently recommended restaurants or introduced us to new ones.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We mostly stuck to our group of Americans; most of the cultural experiences were with our teachers or roommates. This was partially our fault for not seeking to integrate more.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The Alliance staff were extremely helpful with taking us to the hospital and checking up on our health. The issues that I had with healthcare (such as efficiency) were a part of the healthcare system as a whole and not any fault of the Alliance staff.

* Safety:

For the most part, we felt completely safe walking around Xi'an and the cities we traveled to during the Silk Road trip. (The only exception being Kasghar, but the Alliance staff made sure to instruct us on safety protocol.) The only incidences anyone ran into were pickpocketing (which happened three times over the course of 4 months.)

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)

Expenses were extremely cheap in China. The only way many of us went over $8-10 dollars a day on meals was if we bought something unusually expensive (such as coffee from a cafe or a larger meal)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? To save money, eat local food. International or Western food is more expensive. Coffee from a cafe is probably the most expensive of all.

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

Instruction was in Chinese and some of the staff would only use Chinese to communicate with us, but it was mostly English.

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? Intermediate
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? Speak to people using the language. Studying can get boring, but real-world usage is always helpful.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* 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?
  • Going to different, smaller cities on the Silk Road trip
  • Small number of staff & students
  • Xian is more off the beaten path than Beijing or Shanghai, where a lot of other programs are
* What could be improved?
  • Housing
  • Descriptions of what the Silk Road trip entails
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Pack a lot more Western medicine

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.