Living the 'HAI Life: East meets west Past Review

By (International Affairs And Commerce, University of the Pacific) - abroad from 01/09/2012 to 05/11/2012 with

USAC China: Shanghai - Chinese Language and International Business

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to become extremely independent in a fast-paced environment. There were many take-aways from this experience: networks, life-long friends who I still skype on a monthly basis, traveling adventures/stories, and overall memories that benefited my college experiences.

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.

The academic curriculum was decent. My constituent university was much more rigorous. However, I found great value in my internship that was found from the USAC program. I still email my boss to this day.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program administration was PHENOMENAL! They were all so helping and even taken the liberty to assist me and my colleague in booking hostels, flights, and networking us to the right people whenever we wanted to travel.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The living arrangements were acceptable. You can tell that some of the housing staff do not like the international students due to past experiences so it was hard to build a relationship with some of these individuals.

* Food:

For me, the food was one of my highlights of studying abroad. However, I did spend a considerable amount of time caring for my classmates who were not acclimated to the Chinese diet

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I did not feel integrated but there was such a large population of international students and expats that this did not bother me at all.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was quite healthy throughout my time in Shanghai but the healthcare is not the best in the world there. No matter how severe your illnesses may be, the doctors would require you to pay before the initial consultation. This added more stress to some of my colleagues were suffered from either accidents or food poisoning. As for the program, they assisted whatever way possible but due to the limitations present in this country, they could only do so much.

* Safety:

Shanghai is an incredibly safe city! we were able to walk around at 4 in the morning and still feel completely safe in the city. Police are constantly patrolling so there is no need to feel unsafe in this environment.

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)

It was quite easy as long as you didn't eat in an upscale restaurant every night. It was very convenient to live on a student's budget due to the street and cafeteria food available.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent on average $50 a week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Learn to budget strategically because in a country where the US dollar can purchase many things, it is too tempting to spend frivolously.


* 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

A LOT! My internship in Shanghai was a Mandarin speaking environment only. also, my Chinese professors highly encouraged us to dialogue in Mandarin.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? second semester Chinese (CHIN 11B)
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? Language Partners, get a Chinese significant other, work in a Chinese environment. It's all about immersion and practice.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Integration of academia in real-world scenarios
  • Adaptability
  • 中文!!!
* What could be improved?
  • Academic Rigor
  • Assimilation of cross-cultural interactions (ie. mixed classes)
  • An increase in student activities
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Bring enough Western Medicine!! Plan for the Worst, Expect the Best in any situation

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 Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.