Age 21 from Denmark
I was on my first year of break from studying (starting again summer '11), and had decided to do some traveling during this time. I found the Rising Dragon School by searching on the Internet, and after reading through the site I thought it would be a great idea to spend some time there.
Prior to my arrival I wasn't completely sure what to expect, I thought I was quite fit to begin with, but once I started on Shaolin I quickly discovered there was lots of room for improvement.
I stayed with Shaolin for the two months, and saw my fitness improve greatly. When I returned at home I was even more astonished at how much my level of fitness had improved, suddenly I felt able to run forever and never get exhausted! The Shaolin classes were good, I felt a lot of respect for our admirable master Jin, who, although he rarely showed off never ceased to amaze when he did.
I imagined the training would be hard, and it lived up to my expectations. The level of difficulty and the methods were all part of the experience, and I thought it was great. I was taught one fist form, and one staff form during my 7 weeks, and of course a lot of different kicks, combinations, Sanda techniques etc.
When you first get there, I think it's important to not let any discouragement get you the first few days. There is a lot to get used to in the beginning, your schedule, the food, new people and lots of other things that you aren't really accustomed to. Lots of things are different in China, and life there is obviously not as luxurious as I've been used to back in Denmark. Despite that I still think the school had a great standard! In no time you'll be used to it, and appreciate it all. You'll meet lots of great people and Scott and the staff are all wonderful people. I really felt that it mattered to Scott that his students got something out of their stay, and he is always there to help. The masters were also very talented, and great teachers.
A few months later after coming home, I had to join the military for a while. During this time I could really feel the benefits of having been to the school. Of course my stay at the school didn't just benefit me physically, I also met lots of great people, experienced a completely different culture and way of living, and I will certainly miss the great people who I met during my stay.
Some general advice from me would be to do a good amount of cardio, and also stretching before your stay here. It's much easier to do lots of the stuff if you already have a good range of movement. Also don't forget to see some of the attractions there. Just walking up the big mountain next to the school with some people was a really great experience that i wouldn't want to have been without.
Good luck to all the future students, I hope you'll have a great experience as I did. If I have the time again I will definitely consider coming back.