Unforgettable! Past Review

By (John Carroll University) - abroad from 01/16/2017 to 05/30/2017 with

The Beijing Center: Semester and Full Year Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned that there many differences between the United States and China, as well as between people of different cultures. This program was very worthwhile.

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.

The courses I took as a student at the Beijing Center were both challenging and allowed me think outside the box in a more worldly perspective. Many compared and contrasted Chinese trends, customs, and news stories with those in the United States. However, the classes only met once a week in three-hour long blocks, which was draining in itself. Due to the Great Firewall, any resources usually found on the Internet became inaccessible without a VPN, which required us to find new methods of gathering information.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Extremely helpful and friendly. I never felt alone or without guidance while in China. They assisted us from registering for classes to knowing how to use public transportation to how to stay safe around Beijing.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The dormitories were livable, but not ideal. There was no elevator in our building and most students lived on the top floor. The bathrooms were not up to modern standards, and the mattresses on the beds were rock hard. There was also a problem many students had with the dormitory staff entering rooms without permission in order to perform, "random checks." All of these together just kind of added up.

* Food:

The food was fresh, delicious, and authentically Chinese. However, the cafeteria had slightly inconvenient hours, which made it more common to eat off campus somewhere in the city.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Extremely integrated. I was completely submerged in foreign culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never experienced any health issues while in Beijing, but there was a hospital nearby where they spoke English and used Western medicine.

* Safety:

Beijing is a very safe city, but everyone should still keep their guard up, especially when taking a taxi.

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

Although there are things I would have done differently while in China, I would still have chosen to attend the same program.


* 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)

Most things in China are not very expensive to begin with, but any personal travel will be costly between lodging and airfare.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat two meals a day, don't buy souvenirs, search for the cheapest flights, and use Airbnb instead of hotels.


* 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

Classes, getting around the city, and my internship all required a working knowledge of the Chinese language.

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 202
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? Study Chinese as much as you can before you get there, and surround yourself with native speakers when hanging out or at meals.

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Being in a good location within Beijing
  • Having on-campus dormitories
  • A guaranteed internship for all students
* What could be improved?
  • The Internet
  • The length of classes
  • The structure and condition of the buildings
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The long class length, and maybe just some cultural differences about China in general.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.