East China Normal University
Located in Shanghai, the East China Normal University provides international students a direct exchange program, offering either a semester or year-long enrollment geared towards intensive linguistic and cultural integration, as well as the opportunity to live and learn among Chinese university students. Students will live either in university dormitories or independently, and meals will be provided via university cafeterias. Courses will be taken primarily in Chinese, however there are select courses taught in English, as well as introductory-level Chinese language courses for less experienced students. This program is aimed at students looking for intensive study of the Chinese language with solid work ethics and self-motivation. Since this exchange does not work through a liaison program, integration and academics will be less guided and possibly more intense. At least one year of college-level Chinese is recommended before applying for this program.
Further info can be found at: http://english.ecnu.edu.cn/
We Reedies are so used to being challenged in creative ways, and the rote work that learning a new language demands got old for us very quickly. Besides this, while our professors' Mandarin was indeed very good, very standard, we were extremely dissatisfied with some of our teachers' (lack of) teaching methods. East China Normal's campus in Shanghai is, in my opinion, on par with Reed's for resembling a park. It's beautiful here. Chinese students say that if you're a college student in Shanghai, ECNU's campus is the best one to fall in love on. I wholeheartedly agree. True, the dorm's not quite as accommodating as that in Beijing, but it's a lot cleaner and more comfortable than those at Beida and Qinghua. Everyone I've spoken with in the Chinese program at ECNU, regardless of their level or attendance habits, has expressed full approval of their teachers and classmates. I know that ECNU has a better reputation throughout China than CNU (Capital Normal University), and it's possible that it attracts a slightly more driven group of kids. I definitely feel the rigor of my courses here, but I'm also at a much more difficult level (and maybe just a teensy bit in over my head, the way I like it). Bottom line is, I prefer ECNU to CNU, and I'm positive my friends at CNU would as well. All the same, I think going to Beijing is a valuable experience for anyone who comes to China.
My time abroad allowed me to meet and interact with many other like-minded individuals. It was refreshing and reassuring to meet people with common interests to my own. I think the language and cultural understanding I have picked up will compliment my economics training, and hopefully prepare me for a career in China. One of my five teachers was very good, one was very bad, the rest were mediocre. The text books were good. The other students were uninspiring and motivated me to go the bars rather than the library. The cafeteria food was inedible, but there was a small cafe right next to the international student's dormitory with passable food. There were also many, many off-campus eating options, although they were a bit more expensive. The on campus living conditions were not great, but certainly livable. In addition to Chinese language, I picked up a lot of the culture and social mannerisms. I also got a feeling for how business is done in China.