China is Awesome Past Review

By (Philosophy., SUNY Purchase) for

SUNY Oswego: Beijing - Capital Normal University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
YES! It was wonderful, I learned a lot about Chinese culture but also a lot about other cultures and how different countries interact and view each other. I also learned a lot about American culture that I had never really considered until I saw it compared with so many others. Initially I wanted to go to China because I just wanted to study abroad somewhere that wasn't Europe and I had visited China briefly once before. I only expected it to be a fun trip and kind of an adventure but it ended up being so much more. I fell in love with China and now plan to return and live there after I graduate. My advice would be that if you're not totally sold on Chinese culture or food then don't go because it is a drastic culture change that is too much for some but if you are seriously considering it and you are really interested in China, then do it. It was really one of the greatest experiences of my life and I can't wait to go back. I learned so much about the world and myself, something that I truly could not have done without this experience.

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.

There was a heavy workload but not a ridiculous amount and it was generally very easy. The teachers only spoke in CHinese, which was very difficult at first but after a while it became easier. The teachers were all very nice and helpful, very eager to help the students. THey even went out to lunch and bars with us on several occasions so we got to bond beyond the classroom, which was nice.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It was good, the advisor for the foreign students was fluent in English and was extremely helpful, both with school related problems and even daily life issues.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We were very close to our classes and the cafeteria and right in the city so it was easy to get anywhere we needed to. There were many stores and restaurants within walking distance so it was an extremely convenient location.

* Food:

The food was fantastic! If you like Chinese food then you will love it, there are lots of options in the cafeteria and restaurants and street food everywhere. All of the food was delicious and perhaps one of the best aspects of the entire experience. If you don't like Chinese food, then you will have issues.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to the Great Wall, which was amazing. Absolutely worth seeing

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

While I never really felt like I was in any real danger, Beijing does have really bad pollution and the driving situation can be kind of scary. The cars do not wait for pedestrians so if you want to cross the street you need to run and hope for the best. There were also issues of food safety, which in many places were clearly not being cleared by health inspectors.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* 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)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

All of the course offered there are in Chinese so if you aren't already fluent, then the only thing you can study there is Chinese. I cannot stress enough what a difference it makes studying a language in the country in which they speak it. Meeting Chinese people outside of the classroom also helps a lot in that you can learn a lot of idiomatic and informal expressions they don't teach you in class.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • It was in a good location and made accessing the city very easy
* What could be improved?
  • The facilities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you are studying Chinese then you should definitely go, you will learn a lot. I had not really studied CHinese at all before I went there but after one semester I was able to speak it better than I was ever able to speak Spanish, which I had studied for 8 years in America. The program itself worked out fine, but most of my experience involved my life outside of the actual school. What was good about Capital Normal University though was that as a foreign student you get to live in the foreign dorms and you will be able to meet lots of people from all over the world. IMPORTANT***: I was not told this before I went there but you will be required to pay the tuition in cash within the fist week there so make sure you have enough money in your bank account to handle that. You will also need to pay a monthly bill for internet.