Learning on Adventures in China Past Review

By (Environmental Analysis & International/Intercultural Studies, Pitzer College) - abroad from 01/09/2015 to 05/09/2015 with

Yunnan University: Kunming - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The program greatly expanded my knowledge on the region and all the issues that are happening there, how governments, people, organizations, etc. are going about fixing them. My language skills have improved incredibly as we were taking intensive courses and practicing what we were learning almost everyday. It has opened my eyes up to the possible work opportunities available throughout the region, while also giving me the connections that will help me get those jobs/positions if I choose to pursue. It has also strengthened my want to focus my studies on the area and the topics that we covered in the classes, while before the semester I did not do much outside-of-class learning (self-learning/researching) it has brought about a greater interest and want to continue to learn on the region and the different things occurring there.

Review Photos

Yunnan University: Kunming - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Yunnan University: Kunming - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Yunnan University: Kunming - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Yunnan University: Kunming - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Yunnan University: Kunming - Direct Enrollment & Exchange 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.

While there was a solid amount of homework and papers, than I had expected/heard about study abroad program, in the end was very happy that there was a good amount because I learned so much and left the program knowing that not only did I get an international experience learning about new cultures and ways of life, but also an education on current issues that were occurring in the region.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Half the students lived in homestays and half were in dorms. I was in a dorm room with one other student and we shared a bathroom. It wasn't bad at all because the program offered a lounge in the RA's room, so we would hang out there with other students and only use our room or sleep.

* Food:

I love Chinese food!!!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It was truly up to the student to push their cultural experience; of course you need to go out to eat and whatnot so you're already forced to get out enough

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

a student broke his finger and immediately our RA and student program coordinator were there to help him get to a hospital

* Safety:

Only a few students were pickpocketed, but if you're smart about it you'll be absolutely safe. I had no problems what so ever.

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 incredibly easy. Location is definitely why this is the case, China VS Europe, Kunming VS Beijing/Shanghai; cheaper in both instances. I was eating breakfast for 7yuan=$1USD, lunch for the same if I went to the dining hall (15yuan=$2USD if not), and dinner for ~20 yuan ($3-4USD).

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50/week I wanna say (not including travel expenses if went on weekend trip, trains roundtrip ~ $50)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Go to any of the small restaurants for food. Nice restaurants are fun on the occasion but you'll learn to love the simple foods everywhere and find the good cheap places that are still delicious!


* 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

Halfway through the semester we chose to only speak Chinese on Tuesdays

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Chinese 200 - placed into 351
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? Go places on your own, spark conversations with random people. Don't get hurt when people give you the cold shoulder or say "ta ting budong" (he/she doesn't understand), because you will always find people who are enthralled to meet you and learn about your life and share their own with you.

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

  • 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?
  • Staff - all are my friends
  • Field Trips (orientation to Dali, field trips around the city, Spring Fest. to Xishuang Banna, two-week trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand)
  • Final Symposium on Regional Issues (like model UN)
* What could be improved?
  • I want to say less readings so students can explore the city more during the week, but at the same time I learned so much
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The history of the SE Asian countries and their relations. Think about it, how much do you know beyond the Vietnamese War, General Mao, the Cultural Revolution, and the Opium Wars... I'm going to bet not much

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Regionalism in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Course Department: IR
Instructor: Brian Eyler
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Learned so much about the history of the region, that I hadn't previously had an education on (think about it, how much history do you really know of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, China and all their interactions....). Also learned an incredible amount about the current issues between the countries and how each stands on them
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Economic Development in China and Southeast Asia

Course Department: Economics
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Wasn't too challenging because it didn't go too much into details on the 'economics' but was more macro in the sense that it discuss China's economic history and where the country is headed
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Environmental Sustainability and Transboundary Resource Dilemmas in the Greater Mekong Subregion

Course Department: Environmental Studies
Instructor: Karliss
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Learned so much about the environmental issues occurring in the country and how the government has avoided dealing with them up until recently as the public has begun to cry out against the problems and their sources.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Chinese Language in Context: Independent Abroad I

Course Department: Chinese Language
Instruction Language: Chinese
Comments: An awesomely intensive course on Chinese grammar and vocabulary. We were learning 30-50 characters per class, tested on them in the first 15 minutes of class, reviewed the lessons and stories, then later had 1-on-1 45 minutes classes to practice our speaking. If you wanna learn Chinese, but not be obligated to speak it outside of class, this program's a great choice
Credit Transfer Issues: