Shanghai, China

China In A Global Context

Resuming Fall '23
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Information for term China In A Global Context

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

May 1, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: May 1, 2023
  • Dates: Sep 3 – Dec 16, 2023 (15 weeks)
  • Credit: 15 semester hours / 22.5 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA

Application Deadline

November 1, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: November 1, 2023
  • Dates: Feb 25 – Jun 8, 2024 (15 weeks)
  • Credit: 15 semester hours / 22.5 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA

Application Deadline

May 1, 2023

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Deadline: May 1, 2023
  • Dates: Sep 3, 2023 – Jun 8, 2024 (40 weeks)
  • Credit: 15 semester hours / 22.5 quarter hours
  • Eligibility: 2.5 Overall GPA


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Experience China firsthand by studying abroad in Shanghai – one of the fastest-growing cities in the world – also known as China's commercial financial and cultural hub. As one of the world's largest seaports and industrial centers, Shanghai is the perfect destination to expand your intercultural skills.

Regardless of your Chinese language skill level, you will gain an in-depth understanding of China while accelerating your Mandarin skills. At CIEE Shanghai, you can take courses in English that explore colonial history, foreign policy, political development, and social issues that have impeded or given rise to modern China. Those with advanced Mandarin proficiency may take a course taught in Chinese. All classes are complemented with CIEE co-curricular activities and excursions beyond the city to enhance classroom learning and provide intercultural understanding. 


Unique experiences

  • Begin or continue your study

    of Mandarin Chinese with the support of our local Chinese teaching professionals.

  • See the China beyond Shanghai

    and what tourists often miss – with a multiple-day excursion.

  • Learn about Chinese politics,

    politics, economy, and more with a broad selection of courses taught in English.

  • residents

    24.3 M



Location & Culture

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Perched on the banks of the Huangpu River and the East China Sea, Shanghai is China’s largest city by population, and a global hub of culture, commerce, and finance. Massively redeveloped over the past 20 years, the city boasts both classic and modern architecture, interacting harmoniously with the traditional Chinese cultural environment. 

The CIEE Shanghai Center is located inside the Zhongbei Campus of East China Normal University in downtown Shanghai, known as the “Garden University” for its beautiful natural environment.

CIEE wants all our students to feel welcomed, supported, and empowered to succeed while studying abroad. Local CIEE staff have provided details about conditions and cultural attitudes that students with specific identities might encounter in Shanghai.

The Culture


  • Learn about Chinese business with company visits in Shanghai. 
  • Join classmates for a thrilling acrobat performance, river cruise, group meals, and more. 
  • Explore Chinese history and arts with visits to museums, art exhibitions, and plays. 
  • Travel to beautiful cities such as: 
    • Suzhou, often called the “Venice of the East” for its many canals, classical gardens, and silk industry 
    • Hangzhou, known for its natural beauty as well as its textile and tech industries 
    • Nanjing, one of China’s four ancient capitals and major commercial centers 
    • Zhujiajiao, the best-preserved traditional water town in Shanghai, lined with stone bridges, cobblestone lanes, and canals 
  • Gain hands-on cultural experience by learning Chinese cooking, calligraphy, martial arts, or mahjong. 
  • Connect with the community by volunteering with local organizations or schools. 


Students participate in a multiple-day excursion for an in-depth look at Chinese culture and history. Past excursions have included: 

  • Silk Road Trade Route – This famous premodern route enabled the exchange of merchandise, as well as religious, cultural, and artistic ideas. Fall semester students may travel from the head of the northern route in Xi’an to Dunhuang, the City of Sands, a desert oasis at the junction of the northern and southern trade routes.  
  • Tea and Horse Road – This ancient network of mountain paths connected the tea-growing regions of southwestern China to Burma and India by mule caravan through the mountains and valleys of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces and Tibet. Spring semester students may travel to Lijiang and Shangri-La, seat of a Tibetan autonomous prefecture near the border of Tibet.  
  • Global Business in China – Explore the Pearl River Delta Region in Southern China and sites such as the Canton World Trading Fair, one of the oldest world's trading fairs. Students visit companies and attend lectures on business development and industry, take a city tour, and visit a local temple. 


Study abroad students participating in the Organizational Internship course will be assigned to an internship project with a company in Shanghai. The internship sponsors, which vary each term depending on participating organizations and available positions, may include local Chinese companies and multinational companies, as well as international small and medium-sized enterprises and nonprofit organizations. Course curriculum includes class introduction, coached work, and final presentation to earn three academic credits. See the “Curriculum” section for more detail.

Daily Life

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    Homestays: Ideal for students who are looking to get the full Chinese experience by staying with a local family and improve their language skills by communicating only in Chinese every day. Students have their own bedrooms in the host family apartment and share the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Host apartments are within a 60-minute walk or commute by public transportation to campus. 

    Residence Halls: Students can live with a Chinese ECNU student – and speak only Chinese – or with another CIEE student in a five-story residence hall on the ECNU campus. There are shared kitchens and bathrooms on each floor, plus study areas and laundry facilities. The hall is a 10-minute walk to CIEE and close to public transportation.  


    Homestays: Students are invited to most meals but should budget for lunches and some weekend meals. 

    Residence Halls: Students are responsible for meals. There are moderately priced cafeterias on campus and various options in the area surrounding the campus. 

Shanghai, China

Where You'll Study

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    CIEE Shanghai

    Downtown Putuo campus at East China Normal University

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    Downtown campus

What People are Saying

  • "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 as well as the culture that hosts you, but also provides a great deal of freedom to discover these aspects on your own"

    Augustus H., Emerson College
  • "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
  • "The language program is amazing and all of the excursions are extremely fun."

    Molly D., Washington & Jefferson College


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The China in Global Context Program lets students dig-in to the history, culture, language, and economic prowess of China. Language courses focus on rapid language acquisition, designed to move students ahead at least two levels in all four Chinese language skills. The program is open to students with no language experience as well as those with superior proficiency, although it is not intended for native Chinese speakers. One semester of college-level Chinese area studies is recommended.

The CIEE Shanghai is located on East China Normal University (ECNU)’s downtown Putuo campus, and is known as the “Garden University” for its beautiful grounds by the Liwa River. Chinese language courses are taught by full-time CIEE faculty members, including the CIEE language director, and adjunct faculty from ECNU, Fudan University, Jiaotong University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and other prestigious Chinese academic and government institutions, as well as professionals from the private business sector. A committee of specialists in teaching Chinese as a second language holds these courses to the highest educational standards.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Additional Requirements

Students who are citizens of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan ROC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau, please contact a CIEE Study Abroad Advisor for details.


One semester of college-level Chinese area studies is recommended.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Program Requirements

Students must take 4-5 courses, for a total of 15 U.S. semester credits, including:

  • 2 East Asian Studies courses
  • 2-3 additional electives, which can be made up of:
    • A Chinese language course
    • Electives in English or Chinese
    • Organizational Internship
    • Directed Independent Research

Program Credit

Total credit: 15 U.S. semester/22.5 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • CIEE courses: 3-6 U.S. semester/4.5-9 quarter credits; 45-90 contact hours
  • CIEE Internship: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 15 seminar hours, 100-120 internship placement hours
  • CIEE Directed Independent Research: 3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 15 contact hours, 100-120 research hours

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Academic Culture

CIEE courses are designed to follow U.S. academic culture and standards. Courses are academically rigorous, and there is a heavy emphasis on participation. Attendance is required, and students should avoid scheduling travel during the week. In language classes, instructors introduce new content and focus on improving students’ language accuracy and consistency through drills. Outside of class, students meet with peer tutors to reinforce the content and language skills learned in class. Additional hours of language tutoring can be arranged if necessary.

Class Format

The semester is 15 weeks long and includes a one-week orientation, 12 weeks of instruction, a group cultural excursion, a one-week program break for independent travel, and typically, one national holiday. Courses take place Monday through Thursday for two to four hours with occasional course-related field trips on Fridays and weekends. Class sizes range from 4 to 20 students and are typically co-taught by head language instructors and assistant language instructors. Students also meet with peer tutors for structured tutorials for at least two hours per week. All Chinese language courses, business electives, and area studies electives are managed by CIEE and specially designed for CIEE study abroad students. Some area study courses may include a limited number of ECNU students to increase cross-cultural and academic exchange.


The U.S. grading scale of A-F is used. For elective courses, students are graded on exams, homework, participation, and attendance. Professors may assign exams, quizzes, research papers, and individual and group oral presentations or projects. For language courses, students are graded on daily homework, quizzes, and written and oral exams.

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.

Language of Instruction

English and/or Chinese

Individual courses may have additional prerequisites; for CIEE courses, these are listed in the syllabi below. Students are responsible for having their own course approval conversations with their advisors.


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Course Information

Course Notes

  • Students who have not completed one semester of college-level Chinese or are unable to demonstrate equivalent proficiency must take Conversational Chinese to complete the Organizational Internship.
  • Students taking a Chinese language course will take an on-site placement exam and be registered in the appropriate language level based on their results.
  • Students enrolling in the Organizational Internship are required to change their student visa to an S2 Visa. Students pursuing the internship are responsible for the $150 S2 Visa application fee. The application process includes approval from the internship sponsor, approval from ECNU, and a special application to the Chinese government. Please note that recipients of the S2 Visa are not allowed to leave and re-enter the mainland of China without obtaining a new visa.

Fall 2023 CIEE Courses

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Academic Projects

Semester Credit

Business, Economics, Management, and Marketing

Semester Credit

Communication, Journalism, and Media

Semester Credit

History, Philosophy, Religion

Semester Credit

Languages and Cultural Studies

Semester Credit

Social Sciences

Semester Credit

Note: This course listing is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract between CIEE and any applicant, student, institution, or other party. The courses, as described, may be subject to change as a result of ongoing curricular revisions, assignment of lecturers and teaching staff, and program development. Courses may be canceled due to insufficient enrollment.
"(GI)" denotes courses that originated at CIEE's Global Institutes and that are offered at multiple CIEE sites.


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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Wollitzer Merit Scholarships in Area or Comparative Studies
  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • Stohl International Undergraduate Research Scholarships
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

See more scholarship info

Dates & Fees

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Dates & Fees

You get more for every dollar when you study abroad with CIEE, because our high-quality programs include everything from excursions to insurance. There are no hidden charges, and no disappointing surprises when you arrive.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date

Fees & Housing

Fall 2023 15 weeks May 1, 2023 Sep 3, 2023 Dec 16, 2023
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Program Fees

CIEE offers the most student support of any provider in its program fee, including an airport greeting, full-time leadership and support, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, pre-departure advising, and CIEE iNext travel insurance with benefits.

Participation Confirmation = $300 *

Educational Costs = $15,766 **

Housing = $2,375 ***

Insurance = $197

Visa Fees = $212

Total Fees = $18,850

Estimated Costs

Students are responsible and manage costs related to travel, meals, books, and personal expenses. Below are estimates for consideration.

Meals not included in program fee = $875

International Airfare = $1,300 ††

Local Transportation = $150 †††

Books & Supplies = $10 ††††

Personal expenses = $350 †††††

Other = $15 ††††††

Total Estimated Costs = $2,700

Financial Aid

CIEE offers the most grants and scholarships of any study abroad organization, including $8 million/year in travel grants, merit-based scholarships, institutional and MSI grants, and Gilman Go Global Grants.

See Scholarships

This breakdown has been prepared from the program budget for the purpose of calculating eligibility for financial aid. During the course of program operations, actual figures may vary. It should not, therefore, be used as a basis for calculation of refunds. CIEE reserves the right to adjust fees at any time.

Students required by their US home institution to study abroad via CIEE's School of Record will be charged a $500 administrative fee in addition to the Program Fees listed.

* non-refundable

** direct cost of education charged uniformly to all students

*** includes breakfast and dinner during the week and most weekends for homestay students

for students in residence halls; students placed in homestays should budget $350 for lunches

†† round-trip based on U.S. East Coast departure

††† students enrolled in internships should budget $200

†††† language books and area studies readers are free

††††† for laundry, local calls,etc. Personal travels not included.

†††††† Covid test to enter the US, if required

Spring 2024 15 weeks Nov 1, 2023 Feb 25, 2024 Jun 8, 2024
Academic year 2023-2024 40 weeks May 1, 2023 Sep 3, 2023 Jun 8, 2024

To help you budget, keep in mind that students are responsible for the cost of international airfare, local transportation, books and supplies, visas, and personal expenses. In addition, your college or university may charge additional fees for study abroad, or may require you to receive a transcript via CIEE's School of Record, which carries an additional fee of $500.

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What's Included

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What's Included

Pre-departure Advising
Advising before you depart to set goals and answer questions
Optional on-site airport meet-and-greet
Introduction to your program plus practical information about living in your host city
On-site Staff
Full-time program leadership and support in your city
Cultural and/or Co-curricular Activities
Excursions and/or Study Tours
Travel Protection
CIEE iNext and a local liability insurance
24/7 emergency on-site support

Our Staff

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Get Started

Here's what you need to do to take the next steps:
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    You're one step closer to an amazing study abroad experience! 

    Apply Now
  • 2

    Share your plans and confirm you're on track to meet all required steps to go abroad. 

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    Contact Us

    Send us an email if you still have questions or need information about applying to this program.