Why You Should Study Abroad in China

By Victoria Robertson on May 21, 2019

Studying abroad gives college students an opportunity to step outside of their comfort zones and experience the world from a new perspective. From an educational standpoint, study abroad is one of the most enlightening ways in which you can learn. From a cultural standpoint, study abroad provides you experiences that you never would have otherwise experienced.

So what happens when you take the traditional study abroad trip and push the boundaries, traveling to a location that will open up a plethora of new experiences, but that also may come as a bit of a culture shock complete with language and cultural barriers that are difficult to prepare for?

A study abroad experience that will not only create memories that will last a lifetime but also an experience that’s unlike any other and that will broaden your horizons, perhaps more than any other study abroad trip your school likely offers. Just ask any past student, but studying abroad in China is far more complex and unique than studying abroad in say, England or Australia.

So, without further ado, here are eight reasons why Studying Abroad in China should be on the top of your mind when you’re looking into study abroad experiences.

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1. Beautiful Landmarks

China is known largely for some of the most beautiful landmarks in the world, including the Great Wall of China. However, the country is absolutely enormous, which means that the landmarks don’t end there.

In fact, there are many places in which you can visit for a good photo opp, take a closer look at culturally significant landmarks or even just check off another beautiful location on your bucket list.

Some additional landmarks worth checking out include the Palace Museum, Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum, Summer Palace, the Bund and the Temple of Heaven. These landmarks are not only culturally significant to the Chinese, but they are also historic and beautiful sites that will transport you to another time, place and culture. For that reason alone, they’re well worth the visit.

2. Chinese Immersion Programs

One of the better programs available in China is the Chinese immersion program, which essentially is a way to teach you the Chinese language by putting you in real-life situations in which you can learn it in practice.

Chinese is easily one of the most difficult languages to learn, in the world. That’s saying a lot. For that reason, a program such as this is practical in that it gives students the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the culture and language in a way they won’t be able to experience it and learn it in a classroom.

This combination of classroom teaching and real-life experiences with the language is a surefire way to learn it in a practical, useful and relevant manner. Obviously, there are different levels to this type of program, so before you commit to learning Chinese abroad without any experience with the language, be sure to look into the levels available and ensure that you’d be able to keep up in a beginner level class.

Basically, if you do the research, this is a program that you won’t regret spending your money on.

3. Safety

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding study abroad in China programs is that they aren’t safe since China is a communist country. This couldn’t be more false.

Just like any other study abroad program, there are risks, and students should stay away from areas that are known for crime or otherwise seem unsafe. That being said, studying abroad in China is no less safe than studying abroad in another country.

These programs are designed to give students a fully immersive experience in a new culture while continuing their studies. For this reason, these programs scope out areas in which students can learn and walk away with a positive experience.

Higher program costs are typically attributed to this; students are put in locations that are safe, culturally significant and educationally oriented, meaning they are typically located in nicer, wealthier areas that have more to offer.

This all being said, it’s important to still look into the safety of the program you’re interested in, and don’t commit to a program that you aren’t familiar with. Do your research and, so long as you’ve chosen a good and credible program, there is no reason to feel unsafe when studying abroad.

4. Big City Experience

Study abroad programs offer big city experiences that are difficult to replicate anywhere else. China’s population is so dense that living in the city in China compared to a bigger city in the US is vastly different.

For some, the big city experience isn’t a good fit due to the close proximity of people, as it can feel stuffy, claustrophobic and overwhelming. For others, the big city is exactly where they want to be, and this is the perfect program for that type of individual. Basically, it comes down to an individual’s interest and comfort level in crowds. China is a beautiful country, but it’s also very populated, which can turn some students off.

If you’re concerned as to whether or not that’s a good fit for you, do some more research into the program you’re a part of to determine where you will be located and how populated those areas are, as most programs take place in larger cities, which can certainly be a culture shock for some.

5. Relevant Business Experience

When studying abroad there is a multitude of programs that you can participate in. For some, these programs provide an opportunity to put your studies into practice and immerse yourself in your career. For others, the program is just an opportunity to view a new place and experience something new while you’re there.

With that, studying abroad in China provides business experience that’s going to set you apart when it comes time to graduate and apply for jobs. Many businesses work with China, leaving the door open for experience in that field.

For one, if you participate in a language immersion program, you will have the ability to speak with Chinese partners in their own language.

In addition, studying abroad in China and experiencing business from a new country provides you with perspectives and information on how things are done on the other side of things. This experience is invaluable to many companies and will surely set you apart from the competition in this regard.

6. Ability to Work Abroad

Another way in which a study abroad program in China is beneficial is that you can now work while you study abroad, gaining back some of the money you are spending on your program instead of waiting to pick up work when you return to the US.

Photo Via: Pixabay.com

This didn’t use to be the case. In the past, study abroad students weren’t eligible to hold part-time jobs or internships while studying abroad.

Now, students are given the opportunity to take on internships and, in some cases, part-time jobs while they are studying abroad, giving them more opportunity to gain invaluable experience while immersing themselves in a culture that’s entirely new to them.

Again, not all programs offer this perk, and this program is relatively new to the experience, so you may want to do more research on this before committing to a program and ask your academic advisors which internships and part-time jobs are going to be worth your while.

Working while abroad is nice, but can also detract from the rest of the experience, so you’ll want to be sure that this is something you’re actually interested in doing and that will help you in the long run. Otherwise, it can be a waste of time that you should be spending experiencing China as a tourist and student, not as an employee.

7. Large Variety of Programs

As previously mentioned, not all study abroad programs are the same. In fact, there is a vast number of courses and programs that you can take while studying abroad, meaning you aren’t in any way limited in your choices.

From business to women’s studies to language immersion programs, there’s something for everyone to partake in. A common misconception about studying abroad in China is that you should only do it if you’re a business major, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Many organizations, across many fields, work with China and see value in an individual that has been to the country and experienced it firsthand. Just as is the case with other study abroad programs, the more research you do on the front end, the more beneficial the program will be for you on the backend.

Take a look at the different programs offered, but also pay attention to the courses available to you within that program. There is a vast catalog of offerings out there, so it’s up to you to pick the one that’s most beneficial to you.

As previously stated, it’s useful to sit down with your academic advisor and determine which programs and courses are going to yield the best outcome for your unique situation. There’s no issue with asking for help, and it’s in your best interest to get as much input as possible before fully committing to a program that may not be the best fit for you.

It’s also useful to talk to students that have experienced it before to see what their take on it is. What would they do differently? What would they recommend? What was their experience like and did they find it useful when they returned?

The more information you can get up front, the more likely you are to make a program decision that will set you apart from all other competition and that will truthfully set you up for success.

8. New Cultural Experiences

Generally speaking, new cultural experiences come with the study abroad territory. That being said, there is a lot more to consider than just experiencing new cultures.

Study abroad experiences are designed to give you the most of the experience in a pretty short amount of time. With China, there is so much to explore, but the fact that it’s so different than what we are used to in the US speaks volumes.

Other countries, such as Spain, England and Australia, are different in a lot of respects, but similar in others. In China, the experience is vastly different, which is a large reason that individuals can experience culture shock while studying abroad there.

If you’re looking for new experiences, there truly isn’t a better place to visit, as you will undoubtedly experience something new while there, it’s just a matter of how much newness you can take.

It’s certainly not the easiest of study abroad programs to commit to, but it is one of the most culturally complex, which can be a great thing if you’re looking to utilize your program to really immerse yourself in experiences and cultures you’re unfamiliar with.

If you’re looking into study abroad programs, China should be one of your top picks, as it’s an experience like no other, and likely one you’ll only get one chance to take advantage of. The cost is going to be higher than most programs, but so is the opportunity to take away something new and exciting that you can implement in your everyday life.

Plus, you have the added bonus of traveling there with a professor and program that’s designed to make the most out of the experience, especially in a short amount of time. Those are things that you won’t have the benefit of should you choose to visit China on a vacation, no matter how long you plan to visit for.

It comes down to the fact that this study abroad experience is challenging but entirely worth the time, energy and money that you put into it. Speak to individuals that have done it before for the evidence, but this is a program that you won’t soon forget, and that you’ll likely never regret taking advantage of.

So what are you waiting for?

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