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“Bringing a backup debit card is something I think every student should do.  Bank cards are lifelines abroad, and if it does get lost it can be a huge pain to get another one.”
— Graham Sadler, Spring/Summer/Fall 2013

“Go out and explore! Minzu University is a beautiful campus, but go out on weekends, don’t let the workload overwhelm you. Beijing is a big place; everything is so spread out all over the city. Get out there and do some fun stuff: go skate in Houhai, go haggle in Dongwuyuan (not actually inside the zoo but across from the zoo there are few huge wholesale markets), go see the art district in 798...”
— Lin Lin, Spring 2012

“Some students avoid street food all together during their time in Beijing. Of course, I would suggest doing so during the first 2 or 3 weeks in order for your stomach to get adjusted, but then branch out a little. Go see which carts are most popular for Chinese people, which sellers come every day, and which foods look well preserved on ice. Those tend to be the safer ones. Once you figure all this out, you’ll realize street foods often times are the most delicious.”
— Maikhanh Nguyen, Spring/Summer 2013

“Cosmetic products should be bought from home if you have specific brands that you like; stock up if you plan to stay for two semesters! It is quite difficult to find moisturizer or even face wash because one, you may not be able to read most of the bottle labels, and two; many Chinese products have some bleaching agent for skin whitening. Also, American drug store cosmetic lines are sold at department stores in China. You might not be able to find your favorite items and if you do, it might be unpleasantly overpriced from what you’re used to paying for.”
— Melissa Segura, Spring/Summer 2013

“The blue card in your wallet will probably become your favorite one. You can go to virtually any subway station to buy a jiaotongka (transport card). It is around 20 kuai for the card itself, with a minimum balance of 30 kuai. Although I would recommend putting about 100 kuai on the card. Since a trip starts at 3 kuai and increases according to distance travelled. It will definitely be worth it. You can also use the card for buses too.”
— Rahul Kini, Fall/Spring 2013

“Always do your research before buying/fixing your electronics. Go to an electronics store for your repairs (there is one on campus) and don’t risk the cheaper alternatives at the markets. You want to be careful with what you buy, because chances are that you won’t be able to return it. Always ask the teachers for advice, as they know which places are the best to go to and might even accompany you.”
— Prianka Imanudin, Spring/Summer 2013

“Use the dorm TV: watch CCTV news program every night even if you cannot understand at all (The program is ????). Go to Youtube, train vocab and listening skills in a fun way with Chinese music and TV drama series (try ????,??????) or movie (?????? is a fun one). These are small, easy steps to assimilating to the language and culture. Take advantage of the Chinese host family. Try to take initiative. Set up a plan to hang out with them, ask them to take you around, or invite them to something. Otherwise, you’re wasting an incredible resource. Also, consider making friends with the locals, especially those of the opposite sex, NOT necessarily for romantic purposes, though. It's easier to befriend people your age, and it’s more interesting to learn about the culture if your local friend is different from you.”
— Son Le, Spring/Summer 2013

“Know that when you are coming to the program that it is rigorous. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. There will be days when you are sleep deprived or maybe just tired of ACC life, and perhaps wonder why you chose to put yourself through this intensive language program. But if that is the case, then also know that there are other places in Beijing besides your dorm and the gym. Grab a friend or two, take the subway and go somewhere new (that’s what Google and Baidu are for). Or if you are still too stressed out to leave behind work, take it with you and go to a cafe with decent WiFi. Also, we all get food from Ximenr; it’s a casual place. So once in a while if you are having taolunke with some new students you aren’t really friends with, ask if they want to grab lunch with you. One or two semesters is a long time to only stick with one friend group.”
— Maikhanh Nguyen, Spring/Summer 2013

“If feeling down from the academic stress and homesickness, talk about it. Reach out to your friends, teachers, RA, and so forth. Your peers are going through the same thing, and your teachers understand where you’re coming from. Don’t be scared to ask for help or to confess that it’s overwhelming. The teachers know how hard you work and will take that in account when grading, so don’t get hung up over every single point on your graded work. It’s simply not worth the physical and emotional stress. Your biggest mistake would be to suffer in silence and have a negative outlook that impacts your entire ACC experience. Cherish your study abroad experience and make the most out of it!”
— Sabrina Hua, Spring/Summer 2013

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