China: Get ready for fun! Past Review

By (Psychology, University of California - San Diego) for

University of California EAP (UCEAP): Shanghai - International Studies, Joint UC, Fudan University

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I'm definitely more aware. I am always trying to think of new ways to get abroad again. I wish I had stayed longer.

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 teachers were great (for the most part), I had one UC Professor teaching a class which really gave a great insight to the city and culture of Shanghai. I took two history classes, which were taught by the same professor, a local academic from Fudan University. These classes were very similar in subject, and identical as far as required work (a group presentation, and a final paper), and my one complaint is I did not receive the same amount of units for both classes. The class was very interesting, and I learned a lot about US-Chinese relations, and the modern history of China itself. Sometimes we would sit in class, and hear the professor make a statement, and would all have to bite our tongues because it pertained to something that we had been taught was incorrect, or something we did not believe in. While frustrating at times because (at least I felt) it was impolite to argue with your Chinese professor, it really gave me an insight into the differences in learning and beliefs in Chinese Academia. Despite these differences, the professor was a wonderful man, and he was extremely knowledgeable in his area of study. I also took a Chinese language class. I don't really have any problems specifically with the teacher, but the classes themselves were set up badly. They had three levels of chinese, Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced. It just so happened that I happened to be abroad with a group of students more talented in Chinese language skills than other groups who had done this program. This left the beginning course as students who had ZERO chinese background, the advanced students who could mostly read newspapers and magazines, and the Intermediate class with students who pretty much spoke fluent conversational Chinese (but couldn't read or write). Because I didn't want to go back two years in my language study to take the Beginning Course (like many of the students who had my level of language did) I opted to stick with the class. Normally I feel this would have been good, but the professor didn't really teach to the average level of understanding of the class. So in the end I worked really hard to learn very little, and I barely passed the class. It was extremely frustrating.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We were very well taken care of, Nova Shao especially really cared for us, and we dragged her through so much while we were there, including multiple hospital trips. EAP itself kind of have awful administration. Michelle Herting was very abrupt, and not particularly helpful during the predeparture paperwork period. I think overall my expectations were met, studying abroad is really what you make of it. You can't rely on someone to make it for you.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

There wasn't any cooking ware available to us, so I had to buy some of that, they give you sheets and a blanket, but most people went out to buy their own anyways. The washing machine eats your clothes! Buy a mesh bag to protect them. Get ready to cook on a hotplate! We had to pay our own utilities on top of rent and such, but they had someone at the front desk 24/7. Unfortunately, if you need help you will have to speak Chinese.

* Food:

Food in China is good. Be ready to get fat!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Shanghai is known as a party town, so if you want to party a lot, this is the place for you. We had field trips with the group, all of which were very fun!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Try not to get sick, Chinese Hospitals are no fun.

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?

Find a language exchange partner! And try and make friends with other students, practice Chinese with your group, don't just speak English!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Being abroad!
* What could be improved?
  • EAP Customer Service
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Plan your time very well! Anyone can do well here, just be flexible.