A Trip I Wouldn't Trade for the World Past Review

By (Rollins College) - abroad from 07/08/2018 to 08/09/2018 with

The Education Abroad Network (TEAN): Shanghai - Fudan University Summer Programs

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained some basic knowledge of the Chinese language and some knowledge of Chinese culture as well. This experience was most definitely worthwhile.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

While less intensive than I am used to at my home university, it was challenging learning a different perspective, particularly since one of my courses was a Political Science course. Researching for end of term papers can prove difficult without access to familiar resources. However, the courses I took were sufficient for the time allotted and the students having little prior experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Fudan University was a little disorganized at times, as this was only the second year of this program being offered by them. Some bugs were to be expected. With that being said, they students and staff there were nothing but hospitable and helpful. The University also organized many different outings and opportunities to explore more of what China had to offer.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We were fortunate enough to be housed in some of the nicest apartments in all of Shanghai, and definitely the nicest accommodations awarded to students. While singles were an option, everyone pretty much had one roommate. TEAN was kind enough to include brand new bedding and towels. The kitchen was up to date and the AC was a blessing from the Shanghai heat. Just about a ten minute walk to school, and a five minute walk to my favorite sandwich shop, Wagas!!

* Food:

The food was overwhelming at first. I did not expect it to be so spicy! Since I didn't speak any Chinese, it was difficult to know what everything was my first couple of days. However, TEAN staff showed my peers and I where the best places to grab some lunch were. After the TEAN staff showed us around, we had no problem ordering food. I miss the dumplings I would get for lunch every day so much!! I will say that we missed mac n cheese dearly, but with a little bit of exploring, Liquid Laundry, a gastropub, gave us everything we felt homesick for!!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I never once felt like a complete outsider. The citizens of Shanghai were consistently patient with me stumbling over my words and charade acts; complete strangers would always offer a helping hand. Through the different Fudan orchestrated activities, I was completely immersed into China's culture. I went to a traditional tea ceremony in Hangzhou, an acrobatics show in Shanghai, a Confucius temple, and even a crafting pavilion where I made my own fan!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I never had any issues, but I did hear about a girl getting stung by a bee and the Fudan staff responded immediately.

* Safety:

I never once felt unsafe in the city. I could easily walk to the ATM or WalMart alone at night without any problems.

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

Getting to go somewhere unique like Shanghai was truly rewarding. I knew nothing going in, and I loved being able to learn everything.


* 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)

As an American, the exchange rate was completely in my favor. Lunch everyday cost about $1.80. The most I ever spent was at Shanghai Disneyland, which had prices that reflected American values.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around $40, including splurging on fancy desserts
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Don't order a bunch of food, you can fill up your stomach cheaply no problem!


* 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

Learning the language wasn't required, but it was offered.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None regarding Chinese; 201 Spanish in college
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? Don't be afraid to test your skills out on the surrounding area restaurants - the locals are patient and will help you out!!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • Unique opportunities and experiences
  • Friends I made
  • Support from TEAN
* What could be improved?
  • Fudan's organization
  • Better WiFi
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how to work the ATM beforehand, or that some places do take card while some places only accept WeChat! I would have set up a bank account for a short time period. I also wish I knew a bit more basic Chinese prior to going.

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 Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'