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  • My time interning and touring through Minds Abroad was over all an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people, try new foods, see a lot of places I never dreamed of seeing and so much more. I couldn't imagine my summer any differently. - Katherine Beccue, North Georgia University and College

  •  My summer with Minds Abroad was probably the most amazing experience I've ever had. My ability in Mandarin improved significantly from the time spent in class and talking to my new friends in Kunming. My homestay family was so welcoming (and really good cooks too!). I only wish I had stayed a little longer!-Madeline Wolf, Greenwich High School

  •  My adventures in Kunming, China Last summer, as a way to explore China, I enrolled in Minds Abroad study program in Kunming. Of all places, I chose to come to this city because I knew it would be very unique, unlike the busy hustling cities in Shanghai and Beijing. Although I came here not knowing much about its culture, I learned an incredible amount about this place through my teacher whom Minds Abroad arranged for me, and by immersing myself with all the people here in this place. I was so grateful for my teacher--it was a 2 way blessing--she had valuable first hand experiences to share and a real heart for teaching, and I wanted to soak up everything I could learn during class. Because my teacher did her graduate studies on the culture of minority people, I had the privilege of learning valuable things about this subject, so much that it inspired me to return again this year (which I will share later). Of the 55 minority groups in China, at least 25 of them live here in Yunnan alone! This is what makes this place so diverse and beautiful. I applied my learning on a day trip to the Minority Village, south of Kunming. Inside the village I got a birds eye glimpse of all minority cultures-- I tried their food and drinks, and enjoyed their songs and dances. I even had photo shoots wearing a Bai minority outfit to keep for memory. My stay was very pleasant - Minds Abroad friends made me feel at ease being in a foreign country, and made me feel supportive and offered to help in any way. I met friends from the program, as well as local friends. Initially I was afraid of getting lost on my own, but very soon did I find myself on my own. During my time in Kunming last year, one of the favorite moments was in the classroom. As I learned about Yunnan culture, a passion for the minority people grew in me. The people are special and their culture is so unique. Although their socioeconomic level may not be superior, I still regard them as innocent, talented, and full of potential. As a community health nurse and a lover of music, I wanted to return this summer to work among minority groups and to connect with them however I can, because they deserve love. It is not easy living out of my comfort zone, across the world in an unfamiliar culture and lifestyle, away from friends and family, but a part of me gives me the courage to do so. – Ruth Cheung, San Jose State University

  •  My study abroad experience was a little bit different from the typical experience. I specifically worked with the extremely accommodating Minds Abroad staff to tailor a program that would provide me with an academic, professional, and home stay experience. Regarding the academics, I took 20 hours a week of private 1-1 Chinese classes with a teacher affiliated with a local University (Kunming Arts University). Before arriving in Kunming I indicated my academic interests (Chinese language), my level of proficiency, and what sort of experience I was looking for/hoping to gain from the program. The Minds Abroad staff worked very hard to match me with a great teacher, and did! My teacher also worked with me to construct a course to match my interests/goals and prior Chinese instruction. Most importantly, my Chinese greatly improved while I was here and am sure I will keep in touch with my teacher for many years to come. I found that the course reflected my past experience learning Chinese. Namely, I gained as much from the course as I was willing to put in. I had a very good teacher at my disposal for 20 hours per week willing to tailor a course to meet my interests. I made sure to take advantage of this by working with her to tailor the curriculum and meeting with her outside of class as much as possible to practice my Chinese (mainly over dinner with her friends or by helping her out at her clothing store)! My teacher also worked with me adjust our class times and location depending on other circumstances (work schedule, travel, etc). It is important to note that Minds Abroad provided me with an experience that perfectly met my preferences. I indicated repeatedly that, as a student who had taken 4 years of Chinese, I was looking for an unstructured, yet intensive program where that I could tailor to improve my Chinese. Other students on the program who were at a beginners Chinese level had much more structured experiences that were better suited for them. The Minds Abroad staff was incredibly helpful from finding an NGO for me to work at to helping me plan trips. They were always very accessible and always gave you there personal phone numbers in case you needed help or just wanted to chat. By the end of the program I certainly considered them to be more friends than program staff members. The Minds Abroad staff is very accommodating to any dietary restrictions one may have and it is possible to eat all meals during the week at the Minds Abroad office (they have their own wonderful cook). My Chinese improved dramatically while I was here. It very much helped just speaking with my teacher daily, and that she was willing to work with me to figure out how to best improve my Chinese. I also volunteered at an NGO while I was here as a translator and was living with a host family. This enabled me to not only improve my Chinese in an academic context, but in a professional and casual context as well. I think such immersion is really amazing for anybody with a strong interest in Chinese (language as well as culture). I also improved my Chinese by eating most of my meals with Minds Abroad staff, and just chatting with them!- Peter Wasserman, University of Michigan

  • While studying in Yunnan at the host university we focused on basic Chinese language skills as I was just starting out. The teachers were knowledgeable and not too strict. Pronunciation and vocabulary were the most stressed topics and I learned a large amount of information in a short time frame. The American Chinese language course on the other hand was much slower and there was not much personal interaction between the teacher and student like at the host university. Minds Abroad was very helpful and efficient in coordinating the activities of foreign students. They all had a high mastery of English and knew a lot about America. The program was relatively small when I went but this only improved my experience. The coordinators were not always on top of everything but were there to help when problems arose. I unfortunately did not stay with a host family but rather a private apartment with all the necessary modern amenities. The apartment was very nice and located in downtown Kunming which is a truly wonderful city and one of my favorite parts of the program. There was plenty to do. According to the students in the program, spending time with their host families was really great as they got to do a lot of activities not available in America. All the food was amazing. I am something of a food connoisseur and was very impressed with all the variety of choices there were. The restaurants that we went to were always high quality and the home cooked lunches were healthy and delicious. Dining is pretty much completely taken care of by the host family and the program so they will show you the best locations to dine out. As part of the program I attended, we were taken on weekend side trips to explore the culture. I really liked the trips as we saw ancient Chinese temples and cities that still retained their original style. We even made a short trip to Vietnam which was very fun. The scenery everywhere in China is very beautiful and Kunming especially is wonderful with its constant spring climate. My time studying abroad was very worthwhile, I would definitely do it again. For the money put in I got a lot out of the program, met new people and made a huge step in learning a new language. Most importantly I became familiar with a culture that I never before appreciated, and now think the world of because of this program.- Daniel Diaz, Middle Creek High School

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    Minds Abroad is a Chinese Language School based in Kunming offering
    Chinese Language Programs, Summer Programs for High School Students
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