China up close - an amazing cultural immersion January 30, 2016

By (History, Chinese, Journalism, Iowa State University) - abroad from 08/31/2015 to 12/24/2015 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about the Chines culture and got to visit so many different places with TEAN but also on my own. It was definitely worthwhile. I expanded my Chinese and got hooked on exploring another country and its culture

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.

Fudan University is considered to be one of the top universities of China, some even rank it as the best. It offers a variety of classes in english and has experienced professor both local and international. For learning mandarin TEAN partners with the amazing Chinese program of the University of Virginia, allowing students to have the best Chinese learning experience.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Both our her resident director and the assistant resident director were always reachable through phone and in person to provide help and answer questions. Through the TEAN administration we had an easy time communicating with our landlord, registering with the police and signing up for classes.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The apartments of campus we lived in were very modern and in wester style. We were very pleased with them, since they had modern bathrooms, a good air conditioning and heating system.

* Food:

Authentic Chinese food is amazing. It was great to explore the different styles of cuisine. We especially enjoyed Chinese hotpot and Northeastern style cooked cabbage and cauliflower.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

In each apartment lived a Chinese Native to help us adapt to live in China and assists us. Some of our classes we also shared with Chinese students so that we could make friends with Native. We also had the option to join clubs on campus.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Complete Healthcare coverage is part of the TEAN tuition, while I personally didn't need. Pogramm-mates told me that there expensive for western doctors and medicine were fully covered.

* Safety:

China and Shanghai are very safe places for foreigners. I never felt threaten, even alone as woman. I explored the city alone and also traveled around China alone. Th

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

For my very first time in China, I was happy to have chosen TEAN since I felt very much taken care of and guided. But guided enough that I could advance to experiencing China on my own soon. I made amazing friends and had a great time at Fudan University

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)

It is very easy to live on a low budget in China. The food is very cheap. You can often get a large meal of noodles for around 2 US $. Travel was also cheap with trains and taxis. And taking the subway was especially convenient, since it spreads through the city and it only costs about 5 chinese yuan ( 70 US cent) to go from one end to the other.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? around 100 yuan = 16 US $
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? While you can always get western food in China, you will pay the import price. That is not necessarily much more than what you would pay at home. Chinese street food but also restaurant food is so much cheaper and really delicious. It was one of the easiest ways to safe money.

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

We had a Chinese class set up privately for the TEAN students everyday.TEAN had itself with faculty from the University of Virginia for the Mandarin Studies. My intermediate class had about 5 students and focused a lot on speaking and listening which was very useful for the daily use of the language.

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
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Chinese 202 level ( medium intermediate)
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? The best way is to keep speaking Chinese while you interact with Chinese so that they speak the language with you. Also making Chines friends and doing a language exchange is very helpful. You can teach them english and they help you with Chinese. Listening to Chinese music, radio and television also helps.

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 local and international friends I made
  • the excursions
  • learning Chinese
* What could be improved?
  • nothing i could think off
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That managing life in China is easier than expected.