My experience studying abroad was the greatest experience of my life. If I could do it over again I would take that opportunity in a heartbeat. Before I left for China, I had no idea what to expect. I knew the culture would be different, but I did not know much beyond that. This scared me, but TEAN did a great job of taking care of all of us and slowly setting us into the culture rather than just leaving us to fend for ourselves. The orientation at the beginning of the program definitely helped a lot with both the culture immersion as well as meeting everyone on the program. The orientation let us experience parts of China that I would not be able to experience if I had just visited Beijing on my own. From the Peking duck, to eating with a family in a Hutong, to climbing the Great Wall of China at sunrise, I could have never done that without TEAN setting that up for us. It was definitely a great start to the program and I don’t know of any other program that had done anything like that for orientation.
When I got to Shanghai I lived in an apartment with 3 other girls in my program as well as one Chinese student from Fudan. Her name was Daisy, she was Shanghainese, and her English was impeccable. She helped us out a lot with both the language and other things. She told us where to buy different things, where to go when we were sick, and also helped us out with our Chinese homework. We also got to go over to her parent’s house for dinner, which was an amazing experience. We got to eat home cooked traditional foods made by her mom. It was all absolutely delicious.
At Fudan University I took 5 classes and an internship. The classes I took where Business and Culture, Negotiations and Conflict Resolution, Political Economy of China, Chinese language, and International Financial Mgmt. As the school system is a lot different from the US, it was hard to get used to the way the classes were taught at first, but overall I really liked them. My favorite and most redeeming classes were probably Political Economy of China and Chinese language. I feel like those were the classes I learned the most relevant information from.
My internship was at Planet International, an exporting company for medical supplies and baby products. My job there was research assistant. I would research either FDA regulations, or write up marketing proposals. As an international business major, it was a good experience to learn that kind of thing and will benefit me in the future.
Probably my favorite part of the TEAN program was the group trip to Inner Mongolia. This again was something I could not have imagined doing on my own, and the trip was one of the greatest I’ve ever taken. I don’t have anything bad to say about the trip, other than the large amount of mosquitoes living in Mongolia. We got to live in Yurts, ride camels, go sand sliding, and take part a wedding reception around a campfire. I’m pretty sure everyone who went on the trip can say that they had a blast, and it was one of the great parts of the whole study abroad experience.
Before studying abroad I went through a lot of research trying to find the perfect program. After many pros and cons lists, I finally settled on studying abroad with TEAN, and I do not regret my decision one bit. Unfortunately for me I had to go through an extra step of writing a petition since TEAN was not affiliated with my school, but I went ahead and did it because I thought it was worth it. The main reasons I picked TEAN over the other programs was because of living with the Chinese roommate, the trip to Inner Mongolia, and the amazing orientation to Beijing. The other programs I looked at provided some of these things, but not all of them together.
Overall I’m so glad I studied abroad, and I’m so glad I went through TEAN to do so. I could not have asked for a better experience.