incredible Past Review

By (International Relations and Affairs., Fudan University) - abroad from 02/14/2014 to 06/18/2014 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My time abroad changed me as a person, I learned so many new things about the world and myself. I feel more confident, and secure in my goals. Studying abroad is the best decision I have made so far in life.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Through TEAN we were directly enrolled into the history department at Fudan giving us access to a wide range of English taught classes. As an International relations and economic major I was able to take several very interesting classes in these disciplines that transferred back to my home university. The reason why TEAN provided such a great academic experience is because they give you the opportunity to choose from a large selection of classes rather than giving you 3 or 4 that you must take.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program directors and resident directors at TEAN were absolutely great during my semester abroad. From the moment I applied to the program, to settling in abroad, to returning home they were helpful and involved in the entire process. TEAN has both staff in the US and in each of the program countries so you can reach a member to get help at any time. My resident director was available to me whenever I needed anything and helped me with little things such as translating information, to helping me book plane tickets, to showing me where the best hospitals were located.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

TEAN provides several different housing options in the different countries of operation. In Shanghai they gave us the option of living in a Fudan dorm or in an off campus apartment. I chose the apartment, where i lived with 2 other girls in my program and one local Chinese student. Having a Chinese roommate was so beneficial because she helped us out in many situations where language came in the way. We also got to explore Shanghai with her and meet other local students.

* Food:

Food is probably the most important aspect of China. From street food to high end international restaurants, everything is worth trying while in Shanghai. Most Chinese restaurants are "family style" where food is shared among the diners, which is great because you get to try a little bit of everything. Street food can be a little intimidating at first but it is delicious! Noodles, baozi, and xiaolong bao must be eaten when in China.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The downside of going to China when you are blonde is that you will stand out in all circumstances. Traveling to China is not the same as traveling to Italy or London where you can sometimes pretend to be a local. China has a obvious language barrier and clear cultural difference from the Western countries. Some Chinese are very curious about foreigners and are interested in getting to know you, while others are not. It really depends how much effort you put into it. Shanghai is such an international city that you can get by with only interacting with foreigners, however integrating into the culture is possible if you make the effort to learn the language, understand the culture, and interact with the local people.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had health insurance through TEAN which covered all my basic needs. We were referred to some of the best english speaking hospitals in Shanghai where our insurance was covered and they were very similar to the service you would get in a western country.

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe, threatened, or uncomfortable when in Shanghai. Even though it is such a large city I felt more safe in Shanghai than I have in any other large city I have visited. The area in which TEAN has their apartments is very family friendly and secure. No matter the time of day I felt fine walking to the metro or store by myself no problem.

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

Finances

* 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)

Everything is much cheaper in China, this is something most people know. a Chinese meal such as fried rice or a noodle dish will most likely cost you around $1-3, while a meal at a western restaurant will be around $5-8. Either way for the price of a meal you will eat in the US you can have three in China.

Language

* 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

Having a Chinese roommate encouraged us to practice a lot!

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • The people that I met abroad
  • Shanghai as a city
  • International atmosphere
* What could be improved?
  • nothing!!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Time is going to fly by, don't waste any time, travel as much as possible, meet new people, interact with locals, and make sure to practice the language when you have the chance!