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Study Abroad in China or France?

ricepaperricepaper Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
Iʻm pretty stuck. I want to study abroad for a year. I love learning languages, mainly because I like how language relates back to culture and lifestyle. My French and Chinese are about equal--my French is probably a little better. I like the character, culture, and food in China a bit more, though. I havenʻt yet chosen a major.

Given the criteria of wanting an immersive (culturally, not just linguistically) experience where I could make lasting connections over the year, my ideal program would be:
in a second or third tier city in China (ie not Beijing or Shanghai), with a host family with the opportunity to audit classes at a local university and engage with local people my age and form connections naturally that way. However, I cannot find a program like this.
I am considering direct enrolling in a Chinese university for a year instead to really get an immersive experience. However, this would be a gap year because I am pretty much guaranteed to fail all my classes in the first semester. I would be going into this with the equivalent of four years of college Chinese.
Another option is studying abroad in France. My school already has a program with a host family and the opportunity to attend classes at a local university and it isnʻt located in Paris. Itʻs an ideal program, except that it isnʻt in China.

Please let me know what you think I should do, or if you have any suggestions for programs in China!!!

Option 1: go to China with a preexisting program that doesnʻt fulfill my goals for study abroad
Option 2: direct enroll in a Chinese university as a gap year
Option 3: Study abroad in France, with a program that fulfills my goals for study abroad

Replies to: Study Abroad in China or France?

  • RMNiMiTzRMNiMiTz Registered User Posts: 769 Member

    When you are talking about a lower tier city in China, what region are you thinking of?

    Personally, I would take France over China. Not to trash my own culture (I am a Chinese immigrant to the US), but there are a lot of places in China that are absolute crapholes, with terrible infrastructure, corrupt government, and loads of other bad stuff.

    However, you really do seem to love China, so I guess it could be a good experience.
  • ricepaperricepaper Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    @RMNiMiTz I was thinking non-coastal cities mainly. I'm looking for a place with more character and less air pollution, mainly. I don't mind some grunge and I've got a strong stomach so I'm not too worried.... I guess Kunming would be a great city, but I'm honestly pretty flexible. I'm just trying to keep away from the very international Bejing/Shanghai types.
  • roethlisburgerroethlisburger Registered User Posts: 1,674 Senior Member
    It depends on whether you're doing this for the experience or to further some career goals. I foresee a lot higher demand for people who are fluent in both Mandarin and English than French and English.
  • monydadmonydad Registered User Posts: 7,458 Senior Member
    If you go for option 2, there is a good language program in Dalian. FWIW.
  • philbegasphilbegas Registered User Posts: 2,916 Senior Member
    Where in France?
  • ricepaperricepaper Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    @philbegas It would be Toulouse
    @monydad Thanks! I'll look into that.
    @roethlisburger I'm going mainly for fun, but I do like learning Chinese a bit more.
  • alcibiadealcibiade Registered User Posts: 586 Member
    I would doubt there are programs in China for living in a family and auditing courses, the unis are not that cosmopolitan outside of the big ones in the big cities. What you could find are language courses. Of course, you might be able to find something like that in Taipei and believe me, the living standards and life would be easier to cope with there than on the mainland. You might consider teaching English, for which there is great demand.

    I live in France and can say without hesitation that it is a more pleasant place to live than China would be. (I have not lived in China but have worked there a lot.).

    You haven't mentioned if you have any career considerations in this, but just wanting fun is a fine enough aspiration at your age.
  • philbegasphilbegas Registered User Posts: 2,916 Senior Member
    I'd still probably do #3, it just sounds a bit less scary, less of a culture shock. But hey, some people like that sort of thing.
  • fallenwinterfallenwinter Registered User Posts: 267 Junior Member
    Option #3 you won't regret it and you'll probably come back fluent
  • Chocolate-TacoChocolate-Taco Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    @ricepaper Where did you end up choosing?
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