Best Study Abroad Experience I've Ever Had Past Review

By (Loyola University Chicago) - abroad from 01/01/2009 to 05/01/2009 with

The Beijing Center: Semester and Full Year Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Before I came to Beijing, I was a relatively shy person. But because most people in the city spoke only Mandarin, I was forced to be daring and communicative just to get through the day. In this way, it made me a stronger person. My experience in Beijing also helped to spark a love for travel, and at this point I've visited 18 countries and counting. It was absolutely worthwhile.

Review Photos

The Beijing Center: Semester and Full Year Abroad Photo The Beijing Center: Semester and Full Year Abroad Photo The Beijing Center: Semester and Full Year Abroad Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Hard work! But worth it.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff made the transition to life in Beijing much easier than I expected it to be.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

The food around campus was even better!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I didn't have any specific health problems, but I know that the program did a great job taking care of my classmates who got sick.

* Safety:

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

The Beijing Center offers a comprehensive program--the educational components are strong and challenging, but they also provide many opportunities for students to engage directly with local culture. The two-week class trip to Yunnan Province is one of the most spectacular things I've ever had the privilege of experiencing. Living in Beijing was fantastic--if smoggy--and by the time the semester ended, I didn't want to leave. I wish I could have returned for the fall semester!


* 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)

Ah, the benefits of a favorable exchange rate.


* 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 got lots of practice speaking Mandarin! The classes were very helpful, as was the opportunity to work directly with a tutor.

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
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 speak it as frequently as you can, even if you're afraid you'll get it wrong.

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?
  • Family-like atmosphere with students & staff
  • Class trips
  • Host Students & Tutors
* What could be improved?
  • Opportunities (perhaps required) to learn some Mandarin before coming to Beijing
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You do not need to bring as many clothes as you think you do.

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!