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Concordia University Irvine

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Concordia University Irvine Programs

China

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)

Concordia University (Irvine)'s Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS) program is an extraordinary opportunity to cultivate academic, cultural, research, and language...

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China

Teach in China and earn a Master's from Concordia University

English instructors/professors needed for K-12 schools, colleges and universities in China! Concordia University Irvine offers a Masters of Arts in International Studies...

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China

Teach English in China - While Earning MA in Int'l Studies

The Concordia Campus Church is a Bible-based, Christian congregation of the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod. We believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God,...

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Concordia University Irvine Reviews

Overall Rating

10 / 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Excellent Program for Living and Studying in China

I felt compelled to post this review after reading Roy's review, which I think is not representative of most opinions in the MAIS program. My own experience is in Shanghai in the Business track, starting in August 2013.

In my opinion there's no better way to learn about China than to be here. The MAIS program is a good way to be here, but of course not the only way. With MAIS, you work a Chinese job, meet Chinese people, speak Chinese, get involved in Chinese life, do research in China. If you are interested in China, it's a good program for you.

It sounds to me like Roy was expecting to make more money, or not need very much money? The MAIS program is not cheap but since you have the opportunity to live and work in China for much of it, the expense is actually lower than it could be. Do not expect to make money doing this, think of it as an interesting school housing arrangement. With some hustle it is possible to do OK financially, but don't choose this program because of money. Choose it because you want to learn about China, be in China, and earn a graduate degree.

Like anything in life, what you gain is proportionate to what you invest. It's possible to BS your way through papers, fail to make something of an opportunity, and feel defeated when you encounter obstacles. But it isn't that way for everyone, and I would hate to see someone discouraged from doing something cool because of a bad review.

It's true that there exists the possibility that you will have a bad year in China with MAIS. But you might also have a great year. It is probably you who will make the difference, not MAIS.

Program: Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)

Overall Rating

3 / 10

  • Academics

    1

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Health and Safety

    3

  • Social Life

    5

MAIS Review 2014-2015

Joining this program was a monumental mistake that I made and one that I severely regret. Firstly the way in which the program is advertised is misleading. While there is some compensation to the schools that the program places you with, it is well below the actual cost of plane fair. In my case my compensation is about 40% of the cost of a ticket one way. The schools that the program partners with do not all provide housing. In the case of International Development if a school does not provide housing you must find housing on your own and pay at least six months of rent before moving in. A fact the program did not mention to me during the summer. The jobs that students are placed in are also labeled "salary" based, while true this is often misleading. before joining this program I did not think of a salary position as a position below the poverty line in the United States. Most students (if not all) make well below 1000 US Dollars a month. If a school does not provide housing, the student must use this wage to cover all the basic tenants of living (internet, food, water, electricity, etc). Financial Aid for Concordia also does not allow a student to change the amount of each student loan disbursement. They have an estimated max amount of which a loan can be disbursed. This is troublesome because when you first move to China you need more money to first establish yourself. While there are many opportunities to network and develop language skills, the practical experience gained is almost zero (at least from the ID concentration). Experienced professionals in my opinion will feel suffocated by the restraints of the program as well as the education provided. I do not believe that this program provides graduate level education in all of the classes. While some classes do provide challenging and thought provoking education, many classes do not. In terms of the International Development concentration, the main "professor" does not have a Ph.D but only two masters. The quality of education that has been provided by her is incredibly lacking. Her grading criteria is also very subject to change. In one instance this "professor" went back and changed a student's grade based on a comparison with other students work. The rubrics that are used by this "professor" also seem to be very lazy, 20% of a paper is based on formatting, and 20% of a paper is using outside resources. I have contacted professors from other universities about this type of rubric system and they have confirmed with me that it is not usual for a graduate level coarse. In the international Development concentration the program partners with one (or many) schools, that have displayed racist behaviors. Three very qualified and experienced minority teachers were turned down from a teaching position, while one inexperienced Caucasian teacher was awarded the position after the prior three were refused. Students also cannot graduate in exactly one year. The earliest a student can graduate is the August following their fall semester. Students can not enroll in the Thesis writing class until their summer term.
Based upon my experience with this program, I would say joining this program was one of, if not the worst decision of my life. If a person wants to network in China, I would suggest doing it independently and not squander tens of thousands of dollars. If a person wants an incredibly easy program and just a paper Masters Degree, this might be a program to consider. If you want to grow as a professional, and gain an in-depth graduate level knowledge about your concentration, this program is not the right choice for you.
This is based off of my experience with this program, others may have a radically different perspective than I do. Comparing this program to other University experiences and Professional experiences, I am utterly disappointed. Upon completion of the summer coarse many students are financially handicapped into completing the entire program, so please carefully consider you decision and make the best choice for you.

Program: Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)