Best way to start off college Past Review

By (Industrial Engineering., University of Florida) - abroad from 08/24/2013 to 12/14/2013 with

USAC: Chengdu - Study Abroad at Southwest University for Nationalities

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned what one can only understand by studying abroad themselves. It was the most worthwhile experience of my life.

Review Photos

USAC: Chengdu - Chinese Language and Culture Studies Photo USAC: Chengdu - Chinese Language and Culture Studies Photo USAC: Chengdu - Chinese Language and Culture Studies Photo USAC: Chengdu - Chinese Language and Culture Studies Photo USAC: Chengdu - Chinese Language and Culture Studies Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The program had it's own set of teachers, and the language classes were small with english speaking teachers.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was always someone there for you in case of emergencies or if you just needed advice or tips about the area. If someone was sick they would be escorted to the local hospital and looked after.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in the dorms which were situated in the same building as classes. It was very convenient to get to class, to get food, and to get on a bus. I stayed alone in my room which had two beds, an ac unit, a television, tiny closet, and it's own western-ish bathroom. I was situated on the 10th floor with only two other USAC students, and the shared kitchen on my floor was closed (for storage), so I had to go to the 11th floor to cook and to do laundry. My room was roach infected but overall I was happy with the room and it's dingy view of the city.

* Food:

I really enjoyed the food. Of all the places I went in China, the Sichuan food of Chengdu was my favorite. After finding good restaurants in the area I really fell in love with Chinese food and also surprisingly fell in love with Tibetan food (Chengdu has a large population of Tibetans especially near the school). I also enjoyed the street food. I was very lucky not to have gotten food sick my entire trip, but it did not spare many other students. Many of the restaurants I ate at had very unclean kitchen's which was very scary which is why I wouldn't give the food five stars. Some of the food on the USAC field trips were below par, but that was due to the unavailability of good food in the area, overall though the food ordered was ordered with the western perspective in mind (so no duck tongues or rabbit heads).

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Since classes were only for USAC students you had to look outside for making Chinese friends and experiencing Chinese culture. I found this very easy to do as tips were given and it was very easy to get on a bus and get around the city. As you made friends and explored the city it became easier to integrate with the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not need to use the healthcare but got sick a few times during the trip. If I had needed to go to the hospital I could've been escorted at any time as many other students had experienced.

* Safety:

The city was very safe. I never felt afraid of my safety during the duration of my stay, but other students had some of their items pick-pocketed, so always be careful!

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)

Everything was very cheap in Chengdu. Only electronics and western food got pricey.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-$150
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Try not to splurge on things from home too much, those things will most likely be imported and cost more than what you would spend at home. Local things will be much more inexpensive and will also help you adjust to the culture more.


* 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

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? 1 years worth of language
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? Find local friends to hang out with.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
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?
  • Friendships made
  • Adventure
  • Freedom
* What could be improved?
  • Quality of the dorms
  • Internet access/quality
  • Sichuan cuisine class
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring the least amount of things possible. Internet is very scarce and very slow. Be wary of the smog, it is a lot more serious than you might think. Time is going to go by way too fast.

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 Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Track 1

Course Department: Language
Instruction Language: Mandarin
Comments: Teacher was knowledgeable and well-prepared, a good english speaker. Very hard grader and very difficult exams.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Sichuan Cuisine

Course Department: Cooking
Instruction Language: Chinese translated to English by an adviser
Comments: The class was taught in the shared dorm kitchen which was very unclean. The expense to take the class did not match the materials provided (overpriced), for the final of the class we needed to prepare and buy our own supplies to make two dishes. The kitchen was too small and did not have enough cooking plates for everyone to cook at once.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Tai Chi

Course Department: Athletic
Instruction Language: Chinese
Comments: The class was given in Chinese, and having a level of 0 myself, I could not understand what the teacher was trying to explain. The class was interesting, and we learned a whole tai chi routine. The teacher graded his favorites a little more favorably.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: Art
Instruction Language: English
Comments: A lot more challenging than I thought it would be. The teacher graded harshly but gave good guidance. At the end we made a poem that got framed to take home. A very fun class.
Credit Transfer Issues: