My two months that I spent in China changed my life. After studying Mandarin Chinese for around five years in high school and college total, I decided that I wanted to actually study abroad in China and put my Chinese language skills to the test in an environment where there is little to no English. Although there was no language pledge in this specific program, I did my best to speak Chinese with those around me. I was enrolled in a Chinese language class, an elective course pertaining to Chinese history, an internship course, and an actual internship.
All of the CET staff truly cared about the students, especially the director of the program, Zuo Cui. She is an amazing woman who I hope to see again in the future. Whenever I had any issue at all, I would go to her and she would help me to resolve it. My Chinese language teacher was fantastic as well. Although she did not speak much English, I was able to understanding much of what she was saying in Chinese and practice my Chinese as well. Class sizes were small, actually ranging from 1-9 students depending on what level Chinese you have placed in. This is great because it allowed for much active participation and direct teacher and student communication.
Apart from classes, most of us participated in excursions on weekends. CET did an excellent job organizing the trips and I learned so much from each trip. One trip we took was a weekend trip to Qingdao, the beer and seafood capital of China. I absolutely loved the atmosphere in Qingdao. In addition, some of us also went to Shanghai the following weekend without any faculty or staff. It was amazing to see different Chinese cities and notice the difference as you go from city to city. I learned so much from travel within China.
My internship was great. Although I, along with a couple other students, did not have an internship placement until about two to three weeks into the program due to scheduling conflicts and lack of communication between some of us and the internship class teacher, this did not rain on all of our parades. I met some amazing people at my internship and I was able to work in a traditional Chinese courtyard home which is an experience that I will never forget.
The housing at Capital Normal University was absolutely awesome. Every two days, housing workers would come in and take out our trash for us and mop the floors. Every week, they would come and replace our bed sheets. You also get paired with a Chinese roommate. I loved my Chinese roommate so much. He was able to teach me so much Chinese and help me out with my Chinese homework whenever I had questions. CET really does an amazing job when pairing you up with your roommates. There were no problems between anyone in our group and the Chinese roommates. Overall, I wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone who has any interest in Chinese and China.