Shanghai: International Wisdom From Studying Abroad! Past Review

By (Marketing., University of Alabama - Birmingham) for

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This study abroad program has been the highlight of my life. I gained more experience and wisdom from studying abroad than I have in the last 20 years of my life. This experience has made me want to live in China for years to come. I have never been so excited nor have I ever missed a place that was not my home like I miss Shanghai.

Review Photos

Education Abroad Network: Shanghai - Fudan University Photo

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.

The teaching style at Fudan for international students is fairly similar to home university style. The teachers are all fluent in English and extremely knowledgeable in their field. The course from which to choose to begin with will very from when you get there, but that is the same for any program. You have "mandatory" classes but exceptions can be made depending on reasons. The grading system is standard. There are no pass/fail classes. Homework, projects, papers, and other features of workload are similar to home universities, which are based off of the level of the class. The school actually is host to other foreign teachers as well (such as I had a professor from Chile teach my International Negotiations class).

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in China. The process for getting everything from my visa, to booking travel from outside of the country, to traveling within the country, to buying cellphone minutes, and traveling by cab/bus or simply navigating the street was easier than I could have ever expected. The size of the Shanghai group was about 20 people, and 28 with the Beijing group included. The program provided us with Chinese roommates that help us with our basic needs and helping us get acclimated to our home city.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in apartments that were 2 blocks away from the school. The program provided us with Chinese roommates that allowed us to have communication with the Chinese students who could help us with translations, navigation, ideas on where to go, where to eat, where to travel to outside of the city. The roommates treated us as just that, roommates. We had to purchase basic supplies such as more hangers, ironing board, iron, food, and toiletries. If we did not like the bedding they provided us we were free to purchase our own. Basic cookware was provided but if we wanted something that suited more to our liking we could buy that as well. All of the apartments came with basic cable, wireless internet, 32" TVs, and heating/air.

* Food:

The food in Shanghai is like no other. Street food is always abundant and I had no dietary issue while there. I am no allergic to anything so I had no issues on find food that was edible. There are always abundant places to eat. So if you get tired of one style of food you can move on to another. Things you must try in Shanghai before leaving are the Korean Barbeques, Hot Pot, street food (I LOVE OCTOPUS ON A STICK!!!), and particular places are Helen's (about 6 blocks away form the school) and Munchies (if youmiss american food this is the best burger you will ever eat in your life).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Constantly something to do in this country. The very first week was memorable for me. We stayed in a small home hotel about half a mile from the great wall of China. We walked to and then hiked along the wall for a good ways until we were able to watch the sun rise along the wall. We visited the Summer palace, the forbidden city, and Tienanmen square. We also were able to take a TaiChi class in the middle of a park in Beijing. For Easter, we visited the Shanghai Zoo. On my own, I visted a friend in Guangzhou, which was probably the highlight of my trip. With member of the program, we made plans and visited cities on our own such as WuZhen, Hangzhou, and Xian. Other people visited several different places. As for other social events, there are some many parks, historical sites, shopping areas, clubs, and bars that are easily found in Shanghai. Also, there are many websites that you can find something to do that is always culture related.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Never carry your passport and try to only carry lockable bags and clutches. Make sure you have comfortable and well worn shoes. The healthcare insurance provided by TEAN is well worth it. If you had any issues from needing to talk to someone about trouble adjusting to physical pain to illness you were covered and able to see someone within 24 hours. There were no health issues asside from the usual don't drink unboiled water or strictly bottled water.

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?

We had Chinese roommates that we could ask for assistance during the program and would help out with any Chinese language practice we needed. Many people in Shanghai speak English; though, not fluent by any means. Many of the street signs have the Pinyin or english translation underneath and the subway system has English translations as well as the pinyin available for stop to stop update. The entire city is full of people trying to learn English and will gladly help you in your goal of learning Chinese for English classes in exchange. You will be speaking Chinese in everyday situations from ordering food to buying clothes. Much of what you need to know you pick up easily or can easily learn from your Chinese roommate.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Social Activites
  • Traveling
  • Academics
* What could be improved?
  • Internship
  • Price
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Worth every last penny! Save from the beginning, SCHOLARSHIPS!!!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Gender and History in Modern China

Course Department: History
Instructor: Chenyan
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This particular course was our mandatory course. It was told to us that it was suppose to be a basic Chinese modern history course. The course was strictly a feminist course. Each lesson was a case study on particular issues regarding women in China. There were not any test in the course; however, there was a paper due. The rest of your grade was based off of attendance and participation. The teacher read mostly off of her powerpoint slides that she would not make available. She would tell you where you could go online as well as what books she retrieved her information from.
Credit Transfer Issues: My credits did transfer back. The transfer process took 6 months though. I suggest studying abroad your second junior semester or your first senior semester.
Course Name/Rating:

International Negotiations

Course Department: POLI110039.01
Instructor: Rodrigo Tellez Long
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my favorite course from the entire program. The professor kept everything interesting and business related but had no issue relating the course to international affairs if asked. The course entailed the best ways to communicate during a negotiation, the proper process for a negotiation, and how to do research to ensure favorable outcomes. By far the most useful course I took.
Credit Transfer Issues: My credits did transfer back. The transfer process took 6 months though. I suggest studying abroad your second junior semester or your first senior semester.
Course Name/Rating:

History of Chinese Art

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This course was fairly interesting. There was not much in-depth analysis of the artwork. I think this had something to do with the teacher's basic knowledge of English. In truth, this course is almsot exact with any course you could take at a home university and you should not waste credit on it.
Credit Transfer Issues: My credits did transfer back. The transfer process took 6 months though. I suggest studying abroad your second junior semester or your first senior semester.
Course Name/Rating:

Intermediate Chinese

Course Department: Language ICES110001.01
Instructor: Wang Nan
Instruction Language: English/Chinese
Comments: I do not recommend this course for anyone with less than 2.5 years of Chinese instruction. The workload is is not intense but definitely requires a good amount of studying. The professor is available for extra study sessions as well as for clarifying anything misunderstood. However, if you choose not to take this level and go below you will find yourself back in the very beginning. This course helped me out in extreme measures in understand conversational/business Mandarin.
Credit Transfer Issues: My credits did transfer back. The transfer process took 6 months though. I suggest studying abroad your second junior semester or your first senior semester.