An intense but fun two months Past Review

By (Political Science, Swarthmore College) - abroad from 06/29/2013 to 08/23/2013 with

Study Abroad Programs in China

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned a lot of Chinese and was able to skip a year when I came back to school even though the program was only a summer long, so it was definitely worthwhile.

Review Photos

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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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators were very communicative and available. Their offices were right across the street from our dorm and we could drop by whenever we wanted. They were also very well connected and were able to find good internships for other students in the program. Han Bing and Kitty are both awesome!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in the international students dorm and our rooms were on the same hall as our classrooms!

* Food:

The dining hall was by far the largest one I have ever been in. It had 5 floors, which went up in price whenever you went up a floor. No matter how picky an eater you are, there are SO MANY OPTIONS that you will inevitably find something you like.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were totally immersed, you couldn't avoid local culture because at the very least, you had to go out and eat!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally didn't have any health care issues.

* Safety:

I had no issues with safety anywhere in the city.

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)

Living in Beijing is more expensive than other places in China, but compared to most places in the US, because of exchange rates, most things are very affordable.

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 didn't have to take a language pledge, but there was extensive use of Chinese.

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? Intro to Mandarin 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? Just practice as much as possible. If your school offers a language table, go to them!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • I was forced to speak Chinese every day, which really improved my comfort with the language.
  • The other students were very diverse and the program administrators were awesome.
  • The food.
* What could be improved?
  • There were too many readings for most people to finish in the Sociology and Foreign Affairs classes.
  • This is not something that can really be changed, but just be aware that the air quality in Beijing is really bad. As an asthmatic, this was hard.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known to figure out how to get a VPN beforehand.

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.