Alliance for Global Education Participant Reviews
A fall to remember
Submitted by anonymous - Franklin and Marshall College | April 18, 2018
This past fall semester, I had the privilege of studying abroad in Shanghai, China through IFSA-Butler's International Business in China/ Shanghai program. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! Apart from the program's enriching and fulfilling language and business classes, I was also able to complete an internship abroad- as I am interested in working in China this was great real-world experience for me. Besides academics, the program offered two breaks. The first we traveled to southern China, Hong Kong and Macao while the second break was independent travel. Both were educational and fun!
ArtJerusalem with IFSA-Butler and the alliances or career global education
Submitted by Rachel Bird - Colby College | November 18, 2017
I LOVED my experience abroad. I did a specialty program through my provider that allowed me to take art classes at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design and also classes at the Rothberg international school of Hebrew University. As a double major in art and anthropology, the ability to take classes at two universities was incredibly valuable in making study abroad fit into my 4 years at college.
In addition to broad ranging academic offerings, the IFSA/Global Alliance program also offered tons of extracurriculars and outings that gave me the chance to explore Israel and learn about the wide range of cultural diversity it offers. We visited an Ethiopian community outside of Jerusalem, a camel farm in the Negev, Baha’i temples in the north, and so much more!
Our program staff was also amazing, including our on-site program coordinator, who we affectionately referred to as “Mom.” I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to study in Israel, and for the friends and memories I will treasure for a lifetime.
Program: IFSA: Diversity and Coexistance
Learning to go with the flow
Submitted by Maria E. - American University | April 15, 2017
Last summer, I couldn't imagine that my first experience abroad was going to the opposite of the side in India. And I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Manipal this Fall. First, our program director (Smriti) was my and other students main go-to person. She was always up to talk about things when we needed to and was very supportive. In terms of public health immersion, our out-of-the-classroom public health visits to local government and nonprofit organizations was deeply informative and eye opening. Also, our professors had public health experience and were more than willing to share them. I left with a new perspective on India's public health system and efforts!
On a personal note, I had a wonderful roommate and made some great friends that I still talk to! Also, I really felt as though I gained confidence and fulfilment while there because of the directed research project and volunteering within the community! I can't express enough how Manipal challenged on a personal level and allowed me to grow.
Program: IFSA: Global and Public Health
Cultural immersion in Varanasi
Submitted by Bailey - St. Edwards University | April 14, 2017
My semester in Varanasi was the best, most challenging and amazing four months of my life!! I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this program and how much it taught me. The program itself had both positive and a few negative aspects to it. The only criticisms that I have are the academic structure of the program could have been better. In class experience was a little unorganized in some classes, but we had some logistical issues because a teacher had to leave in the beginning of the semester. Outside of the classroom immersion was the best part of the program. There is so much to see in the city and it's so complex so you'll never be bored. The program staff, Lara and Rahul, are so knowledgeable and helpful. They know everything there is to know about Varanasi and help out in every way possible. My host family was also amazing, they became my second family. I still talk to them every week and I'm actually going back to Varanasi this summer and staying with them again.
Varanasi is unlike any other experience abroad. It is not easy, it is challenging, but it is beautiful and amazing and well worth the struggle. I would recommend this experience to anyone looking to put themselves out of their comfort zone and experience one of the most beautiful places on this earth.
Get yourself hooked on China, world travel, and new experiences!
Submitted by Grace B. - North Central College | January 31, 2017
I am so glad that I chose to study abroad in Shanghai China fall term of my junior year. As an International Business and Chinese double major, Alliance's International Business program was a perfect fit for me! I got to strengthen my Chinese speaking, writing, and reading skills. My favorite times learning Chinese were during "Chinese Table/中文桌子“。 "Chinese Table" was a weekly event where Alliance provided our Chinese class with a small stipend so we could go out to eat local Chinese food with our teacher and classmates. The only requirement was that we had to speak in Chinese! I loved going to new restaurants and trying new food dishes while bonding with my teacher and classmates. The academic classes were also great. I particularly enjoyed our final capstone project where we got to collect data and research a subject of our choice. My paper was done from a marketing perspective on Chinese student opinions of the Iphone 7.
As part of the International Business program I also chose to do an Internship. I highly recommend doing so! I interned at a small digital marketing firm, but you can be placed in a variety of different business areas to suit your personal interests. Having an internship on top of classes had me exploring the city on my own and taking the subway to and from my internship every week.
I shared a large apartment with my classmate and a Chinese roommate. Our Chinese roommate definitely went above and beyond to welcome us to Shanghai. We ended up being great friends, and we were even invited to her parents house for lunch! We even took a weekend trip to Seoul, South Korea together!
I definitely recommend saving up your money as you will probably catch the travel bug like I did! In my 4 months in Shanghai I took several other international weekend trips and trips to other cities throughout China. However, what I enjoy about the Alliance program is their integrated week study trips. For example, the International Business program took a week-long trip to Hong Kong, Macau, and several other Chinese cities! These trips are led by Alliance staff and is a great bonding experience with your Alliance classmates.
I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in International Business or to anyone studying or would like to begin studying Chinese!
Shanghai with Alliance is a great idea!
Submitted by Houda El Joundi - Kenyon College | April 10, 2016
The International Business program in Shanghai was a balanced combination of all the things I personally was looking for before going abroad. I needed academic rigor as well as cultural immersion which I both found with the Alliance program in Shanghai. As an Economics major, I wanted to make sure that I could actually take Econ related classes that I can credit for and that will contribute positively to my academic career. The housing was perfect as it was so close to the University. The apartment was great and spacious with 3 bedrooms, a common area, a bathroom and a Kitchen. We were assigned Chinese roommates which was great because that way, even during the days where I had a lot of work and was constantly surrounded by people from my program, I would still practice my Chinese and chat with my roommate either in the morning or before going to be. That was very helpful as I got to meet some of her friends and learned so much about their lifestyles. The location of the university and the apartment was great too, close to a wide range of food places, not too expensive. It also provided many opportunities for cultural immersion and language practice.
In general, Shanghai is an amazing city with boundless opportunities for learning and discovering new things. I absolutely loved my time there with Alliance!
A Well-Fueled, Tested, Modernized Machine
Submitted by Jessica Martin - Rollins College | February 29, 2016
My semester abroad with Alliance in Shanghai is best described as an irreplaceable experience! The Alliance professors, staff members, international students and Chinese students whom I saw on a regular basis made my semester abroad successful, endearing, memorable and irreplaceable. The connections I've made with other students, my Chinese roommate and language partners are long-lasting and sincere; relations that were often nurtured by Alliance's orientation, trips and general program organization. I learned a great deal from spending time with so many students who have different backgrounds and come from different parts of the US, if not the world. I particularly liked how the three Shanghai programs (Intensive Language, 21st Century and International Business) had specialized trips depending on their focus but still felt very interconnected with one another.
I will forever remember the Alliance staff, as well. They skillfully added the spices and herbs to make the semester a memorable and smooth-sailing journey; this included things like leading large and small group trips to a variety of places/businesses, organizing cultural workshop nights, arranging educational speakers, taking you to the hospital, helping you deal with internships, giving you directions, taking tons of photos for you and taking time to sit down and help plan independent travel (and find great discounts!). I could always contact any of them at any time to ask any question I needed answered, and they would always be able to help me very quickly. I always felt like they were wholly invested in us and taking care of our needs; an absolute treasure in any study abroad program, especially if you are not very proficient at the host language! Our professors were quick-witted, patient albeit (understandably) demanding and brilliant in their field of studies. We came to know one another well and would joke in class pretty regularly; especially our Chinese language professors. They were an absolute joy to spend time with and get to know; some of my favorite 'snapshot' moments include my Alliance staff members and professors. And I still talk to some of them even now! All in all, Alliance in Shanghai is a well-fueled, tested and modernized machine that leaves the student well-equipped and well-supported to have a healthy, successful and exciting semester. I can find no faults!
I absolutely loved my experience in Shanghai and I always encourage anyone and everyone to study abroad through Alliance-especially in Shanghai-if they are interested in Asia. Because of its intense variety, Shanghai itself is the perfect study abroad location for any student, especially those interested in business or urban studies. China-Shanghai in particular-has a powerful role in the future and is already highly regarded worldwide. Also, it is perfectly located for traveling to other parts of China and throughout Asia when the opportunity arises and is filled to the brim with endless culture and language-practice opportunities (if you know where to look). There are times when I miss it dearly, and I hope to return one day. So embrace the challenge and get ready to catch what all it'll throw at you. Just don't forget to make mental-or physical-notes along the way or else you'll forget the details!
Pune - Contemporary India - Fall '15
Submitted by Hilit Jacobson - American University | February 28, 2016
The Alliance for Global Education's Contemporary India program was an incredible experience. Not only was the staff and directors helpful, kind, and friendly, but the program was all-around great. Classes were interesting and the professors were always there to offer guidance. Also, my living situation allowed me to immerse myself in the Indian culture. My host mom (Priya) is the most kind-hearted and spirited woman and I am extremely grateful for her role throughout my program. I recommend this program to those who want to challenge themselves!
Program: IFSA: Contemporary India
A Life Changing Program!
Submitted by Annette Guzik - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign | February 25, 2016
Alliance's program, Varanasi: The City, the River, the Sacred, is situated in one of the most sacred Hindu cities in India. It is perhaps one of the most unique cities in India due to iconic ghats, beautiful art, and historically famous silk weavers. The program center is a five minute walk away from the most holy river in India; the Ganges. Program is highly recommended to those who have a passion for religion, the arts, and/or who are not afraid of the challenges India has to offer. This program pushes each student to go beyond their comfort zone to speak with locals in Hindi, navigate through the chaotic streets that exist only in India, and to learn a cultural tradition, such as yoga, tabla, or kathak, that can be put into practice. If you want to study abroad to learn through hands-on experience, this program will do that for you.
A Semester Abroad in Pune
Submitted by American Abroad - American University | February 14, 2016
My semester in Pune was fantastic and I highly recommend going on this program! There are three key components to this program:
Each of these played a crucial role in helping me have a fantastic experience abroad.
The professors that teach for this program are all professors who teach in Indian universities as well so they are very knowledgeable and prove to be awesome resources for us as students. They do a really good job of offering an appropriate hybrid of Indian and American styles of teaching. In addition to the teachers, the content itself is very helpful. The classes all come together to help the student get a good look into India (granted there is only a couple months of class to study a whole nation). I really enjoyed the classes and there a couple I would gladly take again.
In regards to the internship, the program offers a good platform on which the student can express all of their interests and skills. They then use this to place the student into an internship that helps advance the students' personal goals while also capitalizing on their current skills. The internship offers a key cultural experience that helps the student understand day to day life for an Indian worker. It also helps expose the students to crucial topics in the Indian contest by offering intensive engagement with the issue.
The final aspect is the homestay. The opportunity to live with an Indian family and to complete the immersion by living with a family really rounds out the experience. Students get to learn what it's like to "have" Indian parents and live in an Indian household abiding by Indian traditions. It contributes a lot to the growth and learning of the student.
All in all, this is a fantastic program that takes a holistic approach which helps students better understand who they and how they play a part in the world the live in.
Program: IFSA: Contemporary India