I enjoyed my time with TEAN in Shanghai immensely. I grew in so many ways and have come to love yet another country that I already have plans of going back to. I am very glad I went with TEAN for so many reasons. Some of my most important ones I have listed below.


1. Help from the start

From orientation, to all the formalities that are needed for enrolling in a Chinese University, to talking with your landlord, I always felt that if I had problems or ideas I could approach my Resident Director. Because of TEAN, we had an easy time registering with the police, which is something you have to do if you live of campus. TEAN also helped us access courses that normally fill quickly.

Welcome to Fudan University
Welcome to Fudan University

2. Great language learning

TEAN offers Mandarin Chinese classes taught by faculty of the University of Virginia, so that you can get the most of your language experience in small classes. Our groups weren’t much bigger than five to six people and we got a lot of speaking practice. I really enjoyed how applicable the knowledge I gained in class was to daily life in China, from food, through calling a taxi to asking for directions. I am now very confident in striking up conversations with strangers and ready to advance my language skills even further.

Beginners Mandarin Language Class with University of Virginia
Beginners Mandarin Language Class with University of Virginia

3. Amazing apartment

If you decide to live in the off-campus with your TEAN peers, you will live in very modern, western style apartments. We had good air conditioning, a large kitchen, great bathrooms and some of us even heated floors. But probably the most amazing thing was that we all lived together, which brings me to my next reason.

TEAN Shanghai Housing
TEAN Off-Campus Housing in Shanghai

4. Fantastic friends

Living with the TEAN group was so much. We grew really close and went out to eat a lot. We studied together, explored Shanghai together and went out at night as a group. We took care of each other and created close friendships that will outlast our time in China.

New friendships

5. Included excursions

TEAN took us out of Shanghai to one of the most remote places in the world, the desert in Inner Mongolia. It was such a great experience riding camels, going sand sledding and sleeping in traditional yurts. Our second excursion was to China’s capital Beijing and we especially grew as a group during that time. Exploring the Forbidden City and hiking up the Great Wall together bound us as friends and we were so amazed by the fantastic things we got to see together.

Taken on the TEAN excursion to the Great Wall and Beijing - Photo by TEAN Alum, Nathan Robertson
Taken on the TEAN excursion to the Great Wall and Beijing – Photo by TEAN Alum, Nathan Robertson

All in all I loved my time in China with TEAN and I would not have wanted it any other way. I am very grateful for the experiences I got, the friends I made and the people I met. If you want a great time in China go with TEAN to Shanghai. Go out there and have an amazing time!

Katharina Gruenewald is a TEAN Alum and Global Ambassador at Iowa State University. She was a TEAN Featured Blogger this past semester while studying abroad with TEAN in Shanghai, China.