China: Language study wasn't bad, cultural study, just ok Past Review

By (East Asian Studies, Western Washington University) for

Western Washington University: Beijing and Kunming - Faculty-led Summer Chinese Language and Culture Program

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained friends and my language skills did increase, I was able to see very interesting things and I would say this experience has made my want to go abroad again and has impacted future plans as far as career goals go.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Beijing Language and Culture University, Yunnan University
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 workload was really heavy, but the point of the trip was to increase fluency so I guess that workload wasn't too bad. Most of the foreign teachers were very competent and handled class well.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The elective classes were not handled very well, we did not have a choice in what electives we could take (as was advertised) and some were so introductory, with such short time allotted to learn intricate subjects, that the time would have been better spent as a study hall.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

Dining hall food is ok for a bit, but if you bring your own money and don't mind spending it, going out to eat is loads better. There is a nice bakery on the way to class, half sugar in english or semi sweet I think, really good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The field trips arranged by the program were mediocre, lots of time on busses and not that much time at actual sites.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Fairly safe, only person got pickpocketed. Just don't drink tap water.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No


* 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
Language acquisition improvement?

Having three separate classes, large class with the whole group, medium class with half and then small class with 2 students to 1 teacher was a fairly effective method, however I found myself most engaged in the medium and small classes. I was forced to use the host country language in everyday interactions, however since the program was so short, my level of fluency didn't increase that much. Most people did not speak English.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Good mix of two cities, saw different sides of China
  • Lots of opportunities to practice the language
  • Host university professors mostly great
* What could be improved?
  • Host institution electives
  • I'd rather be bunked with actual Chinese students
  • More study time, less electives
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This is great if you want to have someone control your whole life and schedule for a month. If you are enjoying the freedoms of college, then I'd suggest looking into more independent studies that will allow your more freedom.