Study Abroad in Shanghai

College Study Abroad

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shanghai study abroad

Explore Shanghai, China

Long known for its history of foreign influence, fashion, and economic prowess, Shanghai is China’s largest global hub and one of the most popular study abroad destinations in Asia. With massive development over the past two decades, Shanghai has blossomed into China’s largest city by population with skyscrapers, a rapid-transit system, and a unique history. 

When you study abroad in Shanghai, you’ll gain firsthand experience studying in one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Whether you want to take Chinese language courses, intern abroad, or boost your cultural knowledge of Asia, Shanghai may be the place for you!

where is shanghai in china on a map
shanghai excursion at the yu garden lantern festival
students smiling and learning chinese in shanghai

Every CIEE semester program has frequent cultural excursions uniquely designed to complement the program’s academics and enhance students’ cultural immersion. In Shanghai, past study tours and excursions have included:

  • Visits to historical sites, such as Old City God Temple and the Bund
  • Select a multi-day excursion to destinations like Xi’an, Yunnan, or Taiwan
  • Spend long weekends in alluring destinations like Beijing, Hangzhou, or Nanjing
  • Participate in themed excursions, like modern architecture in Shanghai, and governance and environment in rural Sichuan Province
  • Complete classes for calligraphy, painting, seal carving, or martial arts

If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese culture, history, and language, CIEE Shanghai’s excursions and tours allow you to do just that! As one of the best cities in China to study, Shanghai offers something for everyone.

students interning in shanghai in traditional clothing

Where Students Study

CIEE Shanghai
Our Center in Shanghai is part of the CIEE Open Campus Block Network. CIEE Shanghai is located on the campus of East China Normal University (ECNU). Established in 1951, ECNU is one of Shanghai’s universities of higher learning. Nationally known for its Chinese language and literature program, the university hosts more than 26,000 students at its two campuses, including 3,700 international students.

volunteer group of students in shanghai china

Internships & Volunteering

Depending on their program of study and availability, students may be able to participate in an internship or volunteer. For students looking to intern in Shanghai, they can participate in an internship at local Chinese companies, multinational companies, as well as international small- and medium-sized enterprises and nonprofit organizations.

Students interested in volunteering in Shanghai can gain hands-on experience and connect with people in the community by teaching at a migrant elementary school or helping with a community project in a local area.

Study Abroad Programs in Shanghai

Pocket Guide to Shanghai

  • Currency
    Renminbi (also known as Yuan)

    Spoken Languages in Shanghai
    Mandarin, Shanghainese, English

    Available Transportation
    Train, subway, taxi, bus

    Famous Local
    Yao Ming – former Chinese basketball player who stands at 7′ 6″

  • Climate
    Humid subtropical climate with an average annual temperature of 62°F

    Places to Explore
    The Bund – Shanghai's waterfront area and protected historical district with a wide variety of shops, restaurants, clubs, and more

  • Airport
    Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Hongqiao International Airport (SHA)

    Social Norms
    Locals may ask to take photos with you! Say cheese!

    What to Pack
    Comfortable shoes and a raincoat

Frequently Asked Questions


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China is a great destination for students looking to study abroad, whether you’re looking to learn Chinese language in Shanghai, study China’s culture, or explore historic sites across the country. If you’re looking for adventure in one of China’s economic and cultural centers, Shanghai may be the place for you! Not to mention, authentic Chinese food is delicious!


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Shanghai is known for its popular tourist destinations, including The Bund, Lujiazui skyline, Yu Garden, Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and so much more. With diverse nightlife, a variety of museums, and a vibrant food scene, Shanghai is famous for its speedy development over the past few decades, drawing tourists from all over the world.


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Shanghai is one of the safest cities in China for students to study abroad given the use of modern technology and surveillance. As with any big city, pickpocketing and scams may occur, so we advise students to be proactive and keep their belongings safe.

Safety And Security Travel Advisory

Effective March 2023, the U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 3 Travel Advisory to all U.S. citizens traveling within Greater China. All students choosing to study abroad in the region are advised to carefully review the Travel Advisory and be fully committed to adjusting their personal practices to limit any potential negative interactions. When on program, participants must ensure that all actions, attitudes, social media, communications, and photographs shared represent Chinese culture positively. Should you require support from CIEE's Health, Safety, and Security team, please contact us.


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While both Beijing and Shanghai offer students an authentic study abroad experience in China, the cities have different characteristics. Beijing is the more historical city with prestigious universities and drier, more polluted air, while Shanghai is the more international, developed city with a unique Shanghainese dialect.


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In order to ensure our students feel welcomed, supported, and empowered while studying abroad, CIEE staff completes comprehensive diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) training. Staff provide students with advice, resources, and ongoing support both before and during their study abroad program in Shanghai.
For more detailed information on diversity in Shanghai, visit our Diversity in Shanghai page.

Study Abroad Scholarships & Grants

famous river outside of shanghai in suzhou

APPLY IN 1,2,3!

You may be wondering if there are any scholarships to study in Shanghai. CIEE offers scholarships and grants for study abroad programs in Shanghai to students with demonstrated financial need, proven academic merit, and for specific CIEE programs. Students can apply for scholarships through 3 simple steps:

  1. Search for and apply to your dream program
  2. Review all available funding opportunities
  3. Complete the Scholarship & Grants portion of your application

students exploring the streets of shanghai



Based on students' Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) from their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enrolled institution. Complete the Scholarships & Grants portion of your program application to be considered for all awards to which you are eligible. 


Based on academic achievement. Complete the Scholarships & Grants portion of your program application, along with an essay, to be considered for all awards to which you are eligible. 


Other scholarship awards are based on program or alumni status. 


Live From Shanghai


@cieeshanghai on Instagram


Study Abroad in Shanghai Reviews

  • "I loved my CIEE study abroad experience in Shanghai! I think anyone who has an interest in Chinese language and/or culture should definitely consider this experience!"

    Julie S., Washington & Jefferson College
  • "It’s very convenient andthere are many opportunities to go to different places. The staff is also really great in Shanghai."

    Phoebe P., University of Colorado-Boulder
  • "I liked all of the activities and classes, and I felt like there was a lot of support from the teachers and office which made it much easier to make the transition to living abroad."

    Ashley H., University of Colorado-Boulder
  • "I enjoyed my experience and the location. The language courses were especially informative and helpful! I also really enjoyed my host family. The excursions were awesome, especially the trip to Sichuan."

    Makinna M., University of Colorado-Boulder
  • "I feel as if I had a truly life-changing experience here in Shanghai, and the program provided by CIEE did a lot to facilitate that. The program ensures you get close to your fellow students and the culture that hosts you, but also provides a great deal of freedom to discover these aspects on your own."

    Augustus H., Emerson College