ISOIS ▸ Final reports

Host country:
Host institution:
Mobility type:
Program:
Faculty:
Ac. year:
Semesters:
Study level:
Language filled in:

Shanghai International Studies University

China 2019/2020 Faculty agreements

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Arts

Field of study:
Cultural Studies of China

Level of study during period of placement:
Bachelor

Language used:
Chinese

Summer/winter school?:
no

Period of studies:
autumn 2019

Period of placement (from-to):
2019-08-25 - 2020-01-05

Number of months:
4.00

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
http://www.oisa.shisu.edu.cn

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
SISU Application Form (Non-Degree Programs), Photocopy of diploma, Photocopy of passport

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
Half a year in a advance

Did you need a visa?:
yes

Documents and materials needed for a visa:
passport, JW201/JW202 form, acceptance letter, flight tickets (return)

Length of wait for visa:
4 work days (including the day of application)

Fee for the visa:
2700 czk

Studies
Did you have a Learning Agreement signed before your departure?:
yes

If not, why not?:

Before your departure did you know how your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
I supposed they will recognise Chinese based classes similar to those taught on MU. But I wasn't sure about that.

During your stay did you change your Learning Agreement?:
Yes

When and how did course registration take place? Are there any restrictions? Possibilities of making changes?:
The registration was on 28th August at school campus. We were required to take an online test and then a (placement) oral test on 3th September. Later we were assigned a group according to our level of Chinese. There was a chance getting in a higher group after re-taking an exam or going to a lower group, if you didn't feel comfortable in assigned level. You could switch only once.

School started on 9th September. During second week we could choose between specific Chinese taught subjects (all according our language level) or any english course we wanted.

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:
Yes. We had vocabulary exams for every lesson. Then Mid-terms and the Final exam at the end of the semestr.

Does the school use the ECTS system?:
no

If not then explain how the credits there were recalculated into ECTS:
It was according the amount of hours I spend attending the subject and of course the relevance to my major.

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
As there were 3 obligatory classes (Comprehensive Chinese, Listening and Speaking, Reading and Writing) we had 3 different teachers.

The one in Comprehensive Chinese (the class we had 6 times per week) was well experienced teacher. She had equal approach for everybody, used different exercises for practising Chinese, pushed us to actually speak and express our thoughts. We weren't afraid to ask question, because she wasn't judgemental and used several examples and different point of view to explain in detail. After finishing every 7 lesson we did a review and wrote a summary exam. The most knowledge I gained during the semestr comes from this class.

In Listening and Speaking class (2 times per week) we mostly listen to recordings in book and replied to a questions. This class wasn't really entertaining as it was really stereotypical. Once we did a discussion among the class, when we split into two groups and had to provide argument why our statement is the best. Although the teacher was young and not really experience, she had a good approach.

Reading and Writing class (2 times per week) was the most flexible class, even though we had to stick to the articles in a book, our teacher often contribute with some funny-related story. We did not get much for writing, although the teacher itself acknowledge her mistake and we started writing articles in the last month.

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
It's not comparable. Those teachers in China (especially the one for Comprehensive Chinese) had a years of experience teaching foreign students Chinese language. They used methods suitable for us and while teaching, they were really confident in using Chinese only.

How did you receive study materials?:
We collected books for every subject before the classes started.

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
Apart from obligatory classes I took the Calligraphy. It was amusing to learn basics and it was one of the relaxing classes, although it was though in Chinese.

How well is the school library equipped?:
They have 6 storey library. Equipped with one printer, 3 computers (apart from PC room) and accessible wifi. There was enough space for students but it got a bit crowded during exams, as not every floor was opened during the weekend.

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
Apart from placement online test at the beginning of semestr and 2 times making a presentation, there wasn't any need for using a computer. We were asked to give feedback of teachers for school and check our attendance, but all of us submit it with our phone.

They have about 3 different sisu-wifi connections but its nearly impossible to connect to with usage of vpn. Luckily there is also a eduroam network.

Options from printing and copying:
We could use a printer(/scaner/copy machine) in library, for a very cheap price. If it was crowded, you could use any out of 5 nearest copy center near school.

Does the foreign school/student organisation arrange special events for exchange students?:
yes

If yes then what?:
The first was group trip to hospital for medical report.

But the entertaining ones: Carnival (with attendance of foreign students introducing their nationality), Winter Ball (wide range of performances also from students), Cultural lessons (connected to Chinese traditions etc.) and a trip to a water town.

How would you assess your integration with the local students (evaluation like in school from 1 to 5 with 1 as highest):
3

or describe in your own words:
There is a negligible chance to get in touch with the local students (in the sense of Chinese local students) as we were placed at a campus specifically designated for foreign students and most of the local (Chinese) students were places at a different campus 3 hours away. But there was a chance to get in touch with some of them, as they lived on dorm near our campus.

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
I lived at a SISU Hotel, which is one of the dormitory of SISU.

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
412 EUR

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
The price was for double bed room type B (on lower floor). With a private bathroom.

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
Two beds, two chairs, two tables. Small fridge (for an extra fee), television and half working AC, one small cupboard for 2 people. We also had a private bathroom.

I would highly recommend getting an iron, kettle and table lamp. It is better to buy it here and sell it when leaving rather than bringing your own. Also there is no equipment in bathroom (starting with toilet paper and soap) and if you want to use shared kitchen it is better to buy/bring your own dishes as there are not many disposable.

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
We did apply for the accommodation when filling in the SISU application - but we were re-assigned a place after receiving a government scholarship.

What are the catering options?:
There was one shared kitchen in a SISU Hotel, which was not really big and clean but had the basic equipment (except for kettle). Also with a usage of your Student IC card you could eat at the school canteen (prices were low and a range of food vary) or visit any of the school cafeteria/bistro. Not mentioning the vide range of restaurant and mama/papa shops around the campus.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
It is easy to distinguish - getting local groceries are cheaper (comparable with Czech) than exported ones. Also hygienic supplies are twice more expensive than in Czech.

Transport to location of placement:
With a usage of metro or taxi.

Rough prices for transportation:
The buses are the cheapest one - you pay 2¥ for as many stops as you want to ride. In metro is depends on where you want to go (3-7¥). Taxi is the most expensive one but still cheaper than in Czech. Then there are two types of trains (slov ones are alway cheaper than the fast ones).

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
You can get a united card for transformation (valid for metro and buses) almost on every metro station.

As for trains, it is great to get a Chinese app and verify your account on train station. It is hard but worth it - in any other situation you will pay fee for purchasing train tickets.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
taxi, bus, metro, train.
The best thing to go to close destination is on bike. With Chinese bank account connected to your WeChat/Alipay you can rent a bike for a silly price (e.g. 70 czk per month).
There is also a possibility to rent a motorbike or car, but I never tried it.

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
It is easier to go only for one semestr - although you will get only one entrance visa, you don't have to deal with medical examination or residence permit.

What health insurance did you use? (rough price, advantages, disadvantages, is it necessary to arrange insurance at the university other than your home (Czech) insurance?):
I used the one from Kooperativa called KOLUMBUS KOL. The price for medical treatment was about 5 000 czk and for insurance of flight and luggages was about 3000 czk + discount for students = in total 7 000 czk. It was recommended to me by few students that already spend some time studying in China.

I did not had to get another insurance in China, because this insurance covered everything that had to.

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
no

Did you work during your studies?:
no

What are the conditions for working for MU students?:
I suppose we are not allowed to work during our trip as we are traveling on study visa.

Tips for free-time activities:
There is a lot of thing to do. First, don't forget to join a WeChat group, connected to events on SISU. Also there are a lot of clubs, organised by students (starting with dancing, badminton and others). Exploring Shanghai and traveling around China is great way, how to spend a weekend or some short holiday.

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
80000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
20000 CZK

Number of supported months:
4

Total number of months:
4-5

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
I received a grant from Chinese government and of course I did bring some money by myself.

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:
Chinese government Scholarship (2019/2020), specified as "16+1"
It covered expenses for accommodation, tuition fee and enrolment fee (the money were directly transferred to the school) and we did got 10 000 czk/month (3000¥/month) on a Chinese bank account.

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
9750 CNY

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
450 CNY

b/ amount of tuition fees:
9200 CNY

c/ amount of other fees (which):
100 CNY

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
8435 CNY

a/ of which for accommodation:
3335 CNY

b/ of which for catering:
2100 CNY

c/ travel and recreation:
3000 CNY

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
b/ for semestr
c/ sim card 100¥ (for the whole year); bank account for free
---
a/ 3150¥ for accommodation for month + 40¥ for fridge, 105¥ because we arrived earlier (although they said 2-3 days before registration which was on 28th and we arrived on 25th and still ad to pay), 40¥ for laundry card (5¥/one usage)
- and I did spend a lot of money on souvenirs and shopping.

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:
15

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:
24

Did you know in advance which of your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
I knew that they will recognise two subjects similar to the ones, which were taught meantime in Czech. But I wasn't sure about the rest and how many credits I will get for it.

What problems did you have with recognition?:
no

Overall assessment
Assessment of personal benefit (1 = excellent):
1

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
1

Evaluate the information and support provided by the foreign school (1 = excellent):
4

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
I would say that looking back at the problems I considered serious at that time, weren't that big after all. But I still feel need to mention one error which occurred at the very beginning of the semestr:

On a registration date, we got an information sheet related to the government scholarship:
1) open an account in ICBC bank
2) send an email to a specific address about your personal information and the bank account number
3) do a fingerprint check (as required every month) until 15th
and then you will receive the money 20-22th of the month

I did everything that I was supposed to way sooner than was the deadline. However, I did not receive the money.

1. I went to the office once (22th September - Friday) when all of my classmates already received the scholarship. The person in charge told me to wait until Friday (did not checked anything).
2. I went there on Friday (23th). He send me home to wait until Monday with the words "The Scholarship could be delaited"(did not checked anything). At this point, I had only Czech scholarship on my Czech bank account and I wasn't sure, how high is the fee for transfer, so I was left only with the cash I brought with myself.
3. I went there on Monday (26th) spoke to the same person, he was getting slightly irritated that I am there again. Told me to come back in the afternoon, and he will call to the people in charge of the scholarship. (DID NOT DO anything)
4. I came back the same day in the afternoon. After an inappropriate comment, that I came back too soon (although as far as I a concerned "afternoon" is AFTER NOON) and it was 2 pm and I insisted, that I still didn't got my scholarship and was in need for help.
The person in charge told me to wait 20 minutes.
5. After 20 minutes nothing happened. I waited outside the office couple more minutes and then returned with a question: "Should I wait here or should I rather come back at closing hours of your office (around 4 pm)?" As I did not wanted to spend there my time just standing and waiting. He finally picked up a phone a made a phone call. After that, he told me that the money were send to my bank account and that the mistake must be on the side of the bank. Because they did send me it, but I didn't not receive it. I asked him to put the information on paper so I could just show it in the bank (as they did not speak English and my Chinese was not at the level to explain the whole situation) he refused, said he is not qualified for writing such a paper.
6. I went straight to the bank, tried to explain the whole situation. Very nice lady helped me and what they did was that they checked my bank account (assured me that the money didn't come) and printed out a statement of account from the date it was open. With that list and a printed balance of my account (the very same day) I returned to the office.
7. They man checked the papers I brought him and then, after several days and hours spend on this problem he decided finally check my email, that I have send to him. He said that I have changed my bank account number which I did not and then he opened an email from a random girl, showing me a different bank account. I explained him, that this person is not me (clearly, the names were different). Then he found out, that the girl used my student number by mistake. Than he accused me of not sending him the email (which I certainly did and showed him the email right away) and when he found it, he checked it with the information in EXCEL TABLE he wrote by himself, and with my name were connected the girls information (as well the girls name had the same information).

He made some calls, informed me, that she got the money once and that they will send me the money next week (2th October). I tried to explain, that I don't have enough money, to live until next week. He said, that there is no chance getting them sooner. He didn't apologize, he lacks of enthusiasm and self reflexion. By mistake of the girl and the men in charge (that missed this error and wasn't willing to accept the possible chance of him making the mistake and checking the informations and email right away) I had to borrow money from a friend.

This could happen to anyone. The problem isn't the mistake itself but the approach of the men in charge and that I think, that without my persuasion that I have done nothing wrong I would be without the money even longer.

What would you recommend to take with you:
Some deposit money just to be sure. The most necessary things for you (but I would rather buy most of the thing here).

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
How good the teachers were. They just knew how to teach, you could feel the years of their experience of teaching on yourself.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
How very few people could speak English and were actually willing to help me with my (school related) problems.

Further comments:
I would recommend everyone to go study abroad. To SISU or to any other university. It is a lifetime experience.