As some of you may know, I was in Shanghai for 5 months in 2014 and attended Fudan University’s Chinese Language Program to improve my Mandarin. It was truly a great experience and I wanted to share my thoughts on the program here.
We decided on Shanghai based on three reasons: 1) my boyfriend’s family was there, 2) Fudan University is one of the best universities in China and 3) Shanghai is a great, modern metropolitan and a nice city.
The whole application process was pretty straightforward as we only needed to fill out an application form and pay a small application fee. Although the approval process did take a long time, I think it is pretty much a guaranteed admission. We waited for a couple of months for results and after that everything just fell into place we were able to apply for our student visas.
There are 10 levels of Chinese classes offered at Fudan University based on your skills level. Before school started, we had to sit for Chinese tests (oral and computer) in order for them to determine which level we fit into. Generally, each level have classes on writing, reading, oral and reading comprehension, targeting different areas of Chinese usage. We had two exams and in each semester, we get to complete two levels of Chinese classes.
The school’s been around for a hundred years so it is a very established Institution in China. In terms of teaching facilities, they are a bit backwards when compared with Western Institutions – for example, they were still using blackboards! That aside, the school and the International Students department were all generally very supportive of International students (for example, we were provided with all the necessary phone numbers and they also provided accommodation services).
The teachers were all very friendly and created the perfect environment for us to improve our Chinese by making us speak the language at all times. Conversations were held in Mandarin and homework was set by teachers everyday for us to practise what we have learned in class everyday.
Students from all around the world attended this program and it was a great cultural experience for myself as I have never met so many people from different countries before. They were all generally quite keen to make friends and share their culture. For example, my class had a few pot luck parties where each brought their own home cooked dishes. It was amazing to meet these people and to be able to keep in touch with some.
The Overall Experience
This was truly an invaluable experience for myself and my boyfriend and I wouldn’t trade this for anything else. It was the best part of 2014 for me. Not only did I manage to improve my Mandarin, I was also able to do a lot of travelling within China (which I will cover in subsequent posts). I would definitely recommend anyone who’s looking to improve their Mandarin to attend the program at Fudan University!