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CSA Study Abroad Program at the Beijing Language & Culture University
Ryan R. - Beijing, China
Ryan is from the US and after living and working in Asia for many years, always wanted to learn Mandarin. In his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, getting lost in Beijing's Hutongs, and avoiding 1 Jiao notes.
Where: Beijing, China with Center for Study Abroad
When: Summer of 2011
Highlights: The highlight of my trip was seeing how much progress I made at the end of the course. I wasn't there for a full semester so I was worried about just how much I could learn. As it turned out, I learned a lot. When I was leaving Beijing I had definitely mastered survival Chinese and had no problems getting myself around town and interacting with local people. I actually made some friends in Beijing and we had a great time exploring the city during my last week in town. It was incredible that those previously unrecognizable sounds now had meaning, I was so happy!
Morning: I'd get up in the morning at about 7 or so because my classes started at 8:00. I was out the door by 7:30 and hustling off to BLCU. On the way I'd stop and get some street food for breakfast - either a Jian Bing Guo Zi or a little wrap with some meat in it (possibly pork, I didn't want to ask uncomfortable questions). Regardless of what I picked up, it was usually less than 5 RMB, so it was super cheap...and FAST. I tried to get some free language practice with the person making my food, but the opportunity was limited to less than 3 minutes!
The classes were split between two different teachers, so after a few hours of one, they'd swap out. I liked the teachers and the method was a good fit for me. The teachers seemed to genuinely care about helping the students learn, but were relaxed enough to share a laugh every now and then.
Afternoon: In the afternoon I'd usually grab lunch at the university canteen with classmates. The scene there was amazing; it would go from relative quiet to a full-throttle rush of people in about 15 minutes. The food on campus was cheap and the selection was great - everything from everyday Chinese dishes to hotpot, fresh steamed dumplings, noodles, etc. We'd usually talk about the day's Chinese lesson or any plans for sightseeing, etc.
Evening: In the evening I'd try to work on some homework and review earlier lessons. The pace was pretty quick (it really was immersion!) so I needed to devote extra time to try and stay up to speed.
Why Did You Choose Center for Study Abroad?!
I did a lot of research on study abroad providers before choosing CSA. The greatest factor motivating my decision was definitely choice: CSA seemed to offer so many different options that I could literally pick and choose my experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the CSA program because the staff were warm-hearted and seemed genuinely interested in me having a fun, and productive, time in China. For me, CSA gave me peace of mind - I wanted to try and learn Mandarin as much as possible and use it daily, but I knew that if I had a problem CSA would be a very capable safety net.
Since its initiation in 1990, Center For Study Abroad (CSA) has been providing affordable study abroad programs for students and adults globally. CSA's mission is to provide low-cost and flexible study abroad programs, as well as greater independence in selecting study abroad experiences. Admission is guaranteed and open to all. Join us!