CET Academic Programs

Program Reviews

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Shane
10/10

The Beijing CET program is not only a language program, but by default a cultural program as well. Why? Because all teachers are Chinese, and most of them have never taught abroad. Being taught Mandarin Chinese by a fully native faculty is very insightful and useful in getting insider perspectives on topics discussed in class ranging from politics to the arts, to environmental protection. Many of the opinions you hear will challenge your own, and this is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of being in China; to hear these contrasting opinions and to try to understand why they exist, rather than simply listening and then immediately providing your own opinion before reaching that understanding. Suggestions for having a great time in China:
1. Travel alone as often as possible, interact with Chinese people. You will make countless friends, business connections, collaborators(for artists), and people that can make your life much more rich and informed.
2. On a similar note, do not spend most of your time with your classmates, it will not be worth it, no matter how fun it seems. If you wanted easy camaraderie based on a mutual home-country/culture, why did you come to China?
3. Indulge Chinese people while you are here: forget about your own practices, your pet peeves, your habits, learn all of these anew from the Chinese people around you and you will gain an entirely new understanding of East-Asian thought-process and life. If you do not, you will find yourself at odds with Chinese people at every turn, and will end up living in a foreign cultural sphere within China.
To Sum it Up: This program was wonderful, but it won't be that way on its own.
Beijing CET is a platform, so use it to go far and delve deep into China, in my opinion, the best place in the world for a lone traveler!

How can this program be improved?
It's an extremely difficult task, but I believe separation from fellow foreign classmates needs to be more encouraged, or rather, interaction with Chinese people and/or Chinese roommates more effectively yet gracefully promoted. The negative effects of foreigner/classmate group weekly hangouts are far too serious in my opinion. In these group settings, such as going out together on weekends, many people start speaking English because they do not understand or are unhappy with their ability to express themselves, whereas when with only Chinese people, this problem would not be had. Additionally, these settings inhibit them from learning anything about Chinese way of life, instead they live as they would at home, but in China. If I come up with any worthwhile ideas regarding how to push Chinese-foreign interactions along better in the future, I will contact CET with the suggestion. Thanks.
Yes, I recommend
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Bethany
10/10
Program:
CET Florence

CET Florence was amazing this summer! From the first day we arrived in Florence, we were taken by CET to an amazing lunch with multiple courses and delicious, authentic food. I loved that we were taken on field trips every Tuesday—we even had a cooking class where we made our pizza and gelato! The classes were great. CET brought one Vanderbilt professor, who was great. I also took a class with an Italian professor who was probably the best professor I’ve ever had. CET clearly put a lot of effort into choosing their professors. The housing was also great. Our apartment was centrally located and very spacious. All of the staff made sure we were comfortable in it. They also helped us find amazing restaurants and helped us with all our travel plans. Thank you CET for the best summer ever!

Yes, I recommend
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Julia
8/10
Program:
CET Prague

I had a beyond incredible time with CET/FAMU Prague. I fell completely in love with the city and made many amazing friends. My experience living in the provided apartments was close to perfect and Prague always provided something new and interesting to do. The CET staff was also helpful, caring, and responsive.

The main issues I had with the overall experience were mainly academic. While I did feel like I had the undying support of multiple great teachers, namely Pavel Marek and Michael Gahut, making a film with this program felt extremely difficult, despite the fact that my group members and I have been studying film production for the past 3 years. This was mostly due to the disorganization and mistakes made by the production team hired by CET/FAMU to help us. Nevertheless, we were still able to make a few good connections through our set and do not regret the overall experience working with 35mm film.

Other than that, doing something I love in a completely different country and culture was a once in a lifetime opportunity that has shaped me further as a student, filmmaker, and human being. I definitely recommend this program and destination.

How can this program be improved?
This program (specifically FAMU/CET) definitely needs a little bit more organization. While my classmates and I adored almost every single one of our film and acting teachers, many of us struggled with the prop/costume department and production managers who were hired to help us make our movies. My recommendation would be to make sure the provided production team members care about working with us even though we are only students, and have skills in organization and communication. An issue could have also been that there were not enough people hired per student film group, in which case it would be wise to either have more staff members or larger groups.
Yes, I recommend
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Abby
9/10

I really enjoyed my time at CET this past spring. I am finishing my gap year after graduating high school/ starting college and I am so thrilled to have used my time at CET to learn an entirely new language. The Capital Normal University (CNU) campus in West Beijing where CET is based is very convenient and of course living in the country of the language you're studying improves your level faster than any other method. Immersion is the way to go if you want your language level to improve immensely and CET exudes that idea in more ways than one. The program and staff are excited to be here teaching Chinese and there are countless activities, excursions, and outings available through the program itself and friends met while here. I loved my time this spring so much I'm doing their summer program, too.

Yes, I recommend
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Lorelei
8/10

CET Beijing Intensive language program allowed me to improve my Chinese at a incredible pace. At some points it felt like I was not improving at all- but when I called my friends (also Chinese majors) back home or had a full conversation with a stranger in Chinese, I knew that my Chinese language level was constantly improving. The professors and environment that CET exposed me to has made me feel comfortable with the language, to the point that when I came back to America I still found myself saying "谢谢", "好", "对", and other simple phrases to my friends, family, and strangers. Another example of how CET allowed me to be more comfortable with Chinese is that some words I think of first in Chinese. The language environment was a unique experience that every single person benefited from. I think my favorite part of the program was that it allowed me to slowly find my personality in Chinese, for example, I loved being able to make jokes with my friends and roommate. The program classes were not as intensive as I thought they would be (probably due to the lower level I was placed in), but that did give me a chance to explore Beijing and other parts of China.

How can this program be improved?
My friends in the program and I have discussed an additional class that would allow us to study "elementary things" that a lot of us don't know. A class or extra worksheets/information that focuses on colors, shapes, fruits, vegetables, tools, and more everyday items would be beneficial to all students. While you learn some of these things through your day to day experience at CET, you are only exposed to those items you are around in China.

I personally wish I would have been placed higher, but there we pros and cons to staying in my placement.

As for the language pledge, which I loved, There should be less of a threat of "you'll be kicked out" and more emphasis on taking students in and having a discussion reminding them why the language pledge is important for themselves and other people around them.
Yes, I recommend
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Alex
10/10
Program:
CET Harbin

This is the place to go if you want to improve your Mandarin! The language pledge is particularly challenging but it’s really the best way to jump start your learning. In addition, the teachers and program leads are amazing — they are strict but will help you with anything you need. The class/homework load make for busy schedules but there is still time to get to know the people on the program and the city. Great people, great program.

Yes, I recommend
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Julia
10/10
Program:
CET Vietnam

The staff is incredibly helpful, caring, and all around great people to spend time with. They really want you to have the best experience in their country. Great attention was paid to matching me with an internship as well. The coursework wasn't so heavy that it took away from my time exploring the city. The excursions to other regions of Vietnam and to Cambodia were very rewarding and super fun. I will truly miss my time with CET Vietnam!

How can this program be improved?
The only thing that would make this program better, would be 3 day weekends in the schedule. Spring break was really the only opportunity for meaningful independent travel, but if I had a longer weekend, I would definitely see more of the country!
Yes, I recommend
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Olivia
7/10

One of the best parts about this study abroad program is that you live in apartments instead of dorms. Apartments ranged from 2 to 5 students, but the apartments with more students had the space to accommodate them. Since we were enrolled at CET and at FAMU we had classes in both buildings, but they were only 15 minutes away from our apartments by tram. All of the CET FAMU students lived in the same apartment building which made it easy to collaborate and spend time together, but we also quickly became immersed in Czech culture because we had to visit grocery stores and use public transit on our own!

CET provides students in this program with a budget for film and other supplies for projects, which is not only very kind of them but also makes the program accessible for students from all socio-economic backgrounds. We worked on weekly assignments for the first half of the semester and spent the second half of the semester working on our final projects which were displayed in a public gallery for a week. This program includes working with both film and digital cameras, so bring one of each if you have them!

Other highlights include very kind staff members and incredible optional weekend trips to small Czech towns and even Munich!

How can this program be improved?
Communication between CET and FAMU was difficult at times, but this is also understandable because education credits function differently in America and in the Czech Republic. Some items in our apartment (washer, dishwasher, fridge, etc.) book occasionally but they were usually fixed in a timely manner. Living in a triple room was a bit difficult, but I enjoyed my roommates.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Stephanie
10/10
Program:
CET Siena

Deciding between the CET- Florence or the CET- Siena program was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. I was very tempted by the comfortable atmosphere that Florence would provide me with because of the immense American presence in the city. Siena is a small city where waiters, waitresses, and shop owners actually speak to you in Italian, even though they may be able to tell you are not Italian. The streets are not crowded with another 700 study abroad students, but rather with many Italian university students and Sienese families. Siena still has an extremely lively and fun young population, but you don't hear English at every corner you turn as one does in Florence.
Saying I made the right decision is an understatement. I truly cannot express how grateful I am for the CET-Siena program. I made lifelong relationships with my host mom, teachers, and friends, and I look forward to my return to Siena. There was something incredibly special about the small program size, which allowed all of us students to get to know each other extremely well. We joked that we were a family, but after four months of seeing each other all day, every day, that is truly what we became. I woke up every morning excited to get to school and see everyone, and I hated saying goodbye in the evenings or nights, even though I knew I would wake up the next morning and see them all again.
It was very clear that the teachers and the program director, Vicky, loved their jobs and were passionate about what they were teaching us. Although I found Siena to be a much less stressful environment than the University life in the States, I still learned just as much, if not more. I found a unique excitement to learn here in Siena and in the CET program in particular. Although we were allowed a certain number of hours to miss class (that were appealing mostly because of having extra days to travel) students didn't use them. In fact, I know many students that did not miss a single class because they didn't want to. Just like everything else in the program, classes were FUN.
If you want a completely immersive experience in terms of communicating with locals, practicing and learning/improving your Italian, and experiencing more authentic taste of Italian food culture, Siena is the place for you.

How can this program be improved?
It can't, it was perfect!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Joni
9/10

I really enjoyed my time in Jordan, I learned a lot through this program and gained a lot of experience. We traveled to multiple places in Jordan with the program and interacted with a lot of new people. The classes were difficult but as long as you work hard and stay committed you will succeed. I would advise to future students to make sure that you save time for yourself so that you don't overwork yourself.

Yes, I recommend