IES Kunming, the real abroad experience in the best country in the world! Past Review

By (Global Business and Accounting, University of Redlands) for

Yunnan University: Kunming - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Absolutely. Considering coming back to China after graduation, but moreover decided to come back to IES Beijing in the Fall.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Yunnan University
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 educational experience was as good as it gets. In a program that preaches commerce below your doorstep, and then goes to the destinations that the program talks about, IES Kunming education is second to none. On top of it, the 3-4 hours of language studies received 4 days a week will improve your Chinese by at least a semester's worth at school. If it doesn't, then you were the issue.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Got me to IES Beijing, which ultimately got me to IES Kunming for the summer, and then to another semester in IES Beijing for Fall 2011. Extremely dedicated Administration that not only takes care of you, but befriends you.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Although the hotel we stayed at did not completely cater to our language advancement as much as it could, the hotel did have people that did speak Chinese all day. The Hotel, though, was in a great place in Kunming, where everything is a walk away. And I mean everything. From the best food to the best shopping malls. On top of it, our hotel rooms had a kitchen, a den, and a big bathroom. It was outstanding.

* Food:

Ate like a king from the strategic location of the hotel.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Kunming is one of the few cities where the lives of foreigners and locals merge. That is the beauty of Kunming. Every trip we went on, to the border of Vietnam and Yunnan, to the dam in Dali, included locals that new the area and were able to shape our cultural experience. We also had a local as an Assistant Director who spoke nothing but Chinese, which helped the experience that much more.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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?

Being in Kunming, there is not a day that goes by where you don't speak Chinese. This is great for a few reasons. One, from studying about 40 words a day, there are many opportunities to concrete what you have learned. Language instruction is 3-4 hours 4 days a week, and is with a very skilled Chinese teacher with very American teaching styles.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You will not be upset with your choice. Between the 1 week trip to Laos and 1 week trip to Vietnam, and the family of 20 or so that you gain after 6 weeks, it will be one of the best decisions of your life. IES in China is known to create families. And that it does for Kunming.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Southeast Asian Economics, specifically the Mekong River

Course Department:
Instructor: Brian Eyler, IES Beijing Director
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The course was properly challenging, with much of the focus being on outside speakers and on-site visits. What can get better than that?!
Credit Transfer Issues: