China is amazing Past Review

By (Mba, 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?
The study abroad experience was definitely worthwhile, as previously mentioned I had great improvement in my language skills as a result of going on this trip. It also gave me much insight to Chinese culture and history. During the trip I met several westerners, some from my home state and one even from the same college who now teach English in China, which I have since considered doing myself after I graduate.

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 program was very intense, as they informed us it would be. I think that allowing the Chinese instructors to use English when explaining complex concepts in special situations would enhance the learning experience, as ended up happening eventually anyway. One free day in Beijing would have been nice also. Overall it was a great experience and I am very happy with the improvement that I have had in my Chinese language abilities.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program was planned very well, there was a good mix of exposure to Chinese culture and time spent in the classroom. I felt like it was money well spent, we had tour guides when we went out to the famous historical sites who told us the history of each place that we visited, which greatly enhanced the experience. I got a lot out of the trip, I could have spent a year there myself and not gotten the same level of experience out of the trip.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing was clean, comfortable, and convenient. The dorms in Beijing were on campus and the dorms in Kunming were next door. I felt safe and there were many options for after-hours fun.

* Food:

The food can be hit or miss, many places are excellent and others not so much. The food in cafeteria was better than I would expect to find in an American high school. I especially enjoyed the Halal section of the cafeteria and Halal restaurants in Kunming. The food was super cheap and typically delicious. I was warned not to eat food from street vendors, I did not listen, I got sick.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to some of the coolest places that I have ever been in my entire life. The stone forest was an amazing place, also the summer palace in beijing, which is the largest palatial compound in the world. Dali and Lijiang were also very memorable. I believe that we went to two UNESCO world heritage sites, the old town in Lijiang, Dingling tombs.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

No one on the trip had any serious health issues while we were in China. I felt that we would have been okay had the need arisen for any kind of hospital visit. I felt very safe while we were there also, it helped that both our faculty leaders were from China and the tour guides also seemed to place a high priority on our well-being.

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?

I practiced Chinese with everyone that I met. It was a language immersion program so we could not use English to speak to other people but occasionally other people spoke English to us.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Our host teachers were excellent
  • Well organized
  • Cultural experiences
* What could be improved?
  • an incremental increase in personal time
  • Native language partners
  • mabye 6 weeks instead of 4
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is essential for anyone who is serious about learning Chinese. It was overwhelming at times but it is totally doable.