I became more independent Past Review

By (Economics/Political Science, University of South Dakota) for

USAC China: Shanghai - Chinese Language and International Business

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Probably the greatest decision I have made up to this point. I gained a better understanding of a culture. I gained a better understanding of what its like to live in a huge city. I learned how to live and travel on my own relying on myself to get around. I learned how to work through difficult situations when language barriers got in the way. I became more independent. I met people from all over the world which increased my appreciation of other countries. It was a good time.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Full-Year 2007

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Going strictly off what I learned in the classroom I wouldn't rate it as a high intensity university for coursework

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Our program administrators were very helpful whenever a problem would arise or when we needed help working with a different culture. The only weakness at times was what seemed like a lack of organization from time to time.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in international student dormitories. We had our own room with bathroom which offered privacy that was nice. At the same time we were surround by students from around the world which allowed for ample interaction. In addition, the dorms were under 24-hour watch. It was a 5 minute walk from a subway stop.

* Food:

They have all the Western food amenities that you could want but if thats what you want don't go to China. Otherwise the food was amazing and cheap cheap. Right outside all the gates of the university were numerous places to sit down and get ample amounts of food for about $1USD

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I lived in a foreign county. I had the opportunity to travel extensively and even when staying close to my university I still was able to interact on a daily basis with local people which after a short learning curve helped with my language skills.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never felt unsafe in Shanghai and this is a city much bigger than any in America. I have felt less safe in Washington, DC interning than I ever did in China.

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)


Language acquisition improvement?

I think living in the country provided me with a better grasp of the language. But I think that about all language courses, you don't learn the language in a classroom you learn it by speaking it everyday.

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? If you want to go through USAC decide what you are going to China for. If you really want to learn the language study with their Chengdu program. If you want to learn the language but want to still have a western feel from time to time than Shanghai is a better spot. I have no other program to compare to so I would have to say that they did a good job overall. I was there for USACs first year in Shanghai so I am guessing some of the cobwebs have been sorted out. USAC is also a very large study abroad program whether thats good or bad. But if you do plan on studying with this program I think being a bit more independent will help with the overall experience.