CET Shanghai
90% Rating
(13 Reviews)

CET Shanghai

Want to use international experience to build an amazing résumé? CET Shanghai students get to understand the rewards and challenges of working abroad. There are hundreds of placements available, and we help you find an organization that's the perfect match for your interests and skills. You'll undertake coursework that provides an academic context for your internship and take Chinese language classes as well. Choose an elective that meets a major requirement, like International Marketing, or one that's distinctly Chinese, like Foundations of Chinese Design: Fashion, Music and the Visual Arts. Life with a Chinese roommate provides the opportunity to engage with Chinese culture. A highlight of the program is a weekend trip to the Yangtze Delta. This program is open to students of all majors and all language levels.

Asia » China » Shanghai
Asia » China
Program Type
Subject Areas
Asian Studies
East Asian Studies
Global Studies
Liberal Arts
Social Sciences
Degree Level
Academic Year
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation
GPA Requirement
Starting Price
Price Details
CET makes it a point to include as much as possible. The CET program fee covers tuition, housing with a Chinese roommate, activities and excursions (including a weekend excursion to the Yangtze Delta), medical insurance, visa fees and course materials/textbooks.

The program fee does not include transportation to/from Shanghai and meals.

Still wondering how to budget for your time abroad? CET offers scholarships, and CET staff is happy to provide advice on keeping discretionary purchases to a minimum (i.e., they can tell you where to get cheap eats).

Questions & Answers

I'm estimating that the average commute is ~40 minutes -- it may sound like a lot, but it's important to note that this is very reasonable within the massive metropolis that is Shanghai. Also, public transportation is reliable and convenient. The subway station is a five-minute walk from campus, and there are multiple bus stops at the school entrance.

Program Reviews

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Program Reviews (13)

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20 years old
Sarah Lawrence College

Alumni Review


Overall, I had a positive experience at CET Shanghai, and will be returning for another semester in the Spring. The best parts of the program are the Chinese classes, roommates, and internship. I think that having a Chinese roommate is probably the most unique aspect of CET Shanghai and was one of my most valuable experiences. Living and forming friendships with other Chinese college students was a really amazing experience, and I learned so much from them. All of our roommates were so helpful and nice, and genuinely wanted to form close relationships with us. The internship can go either way. Mine ended up being a very positive experience, but that's because I actually left the first internship I was placed in because the environment was not great. I know that this was the case with a lot of my classmates, who were working in internships where they weren't given much work or attention. However, I ended up working one on one with an artist in his studio which was great.
The Chinese classes are challenging and I feel that I learned a lot and that my level improved quickly. Taking classes in China with a Chinese teach is a unique experience which cannot be replicated in America. I liked the level of work and intensity of our classes, as I felt that I learned a lot without being overwhelmed.
The elective classes were probably the least positive part of my experience. The internship class didn't feel like a great use of time, but since it also didn't require a lot of work it wasn't a big issue. Overall there aren't a lot of options or variety offered with the electives. I ended up having to take economics when I would have much rather taken some kind of humanities class. The history class was interesting but in part a repeat of material I had already covered. However, the professor was great and actually let me read my own material in place of things which would have been review for me.
I think that this is a great program if you want a blend of language and work experience. It also offers a fair amount of free time to explore the city and travel to other places.

How can this program be improved?

The biggest improvement would be offering more electives, specifically in the humanities. I think it would also be great to offer some supplement classes/clubs, maybe focusing on art or music or dance. When I did SYA in high school they offered some after school classes like this which were really great.

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22 years old
Clark University

Shanghai Summer School and Beyond


Having the opportunity to live, work and study in Shanghai will always be one of the most memorable and amazing experiences of my life. As a program, CET outdid themselves in every aspect, both inside and outside the classroom.
The combination of both Chinese language classes and Chinese cultural classes really helped me have a better grasp of living and experiencing Chinese society. I really enjoyed the one-on-one instruction the program offered as well as the field trips we would take as a class to new parts of China I would have never had the opportunity to otherwise visit on my own. Getting to live with a local Chinese roommate, especially a native Shanghainese, greatly enriched my experience learning the language and making new life long friends.
My internship taught me a lot as well. Working for a Spanish company's Asian headquarters immersed me into the international business world in the best way possible. I was surrounded by colleges from all over the world, in a multilingual environment who helped me in so many ways to learn how to successfully navigate and interact in a professional and multicultural business setting.
Shanghai is an absolutely stunning city and has so much to offer. I loved exploring the city every chance I had, whether it be with my Chinese roommate, my fellow American students or just by myself. The sense of independence and confidence living in a whole new part of the world instills in you is unlike any other. Taking the initiative to even look outside of the program, to go to new events and make new friends all from around China, to learn more of who you are as a person, is the most rewarding aspect you can take from program.
Overall, I couldn't have been happier with CET. They were extremely well-organized and tremendously supportive all throughout my time there and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

How can this program be improved?

If someone is debating between choosing to attend the Chinese Studies and Internship Program and the Chinese Intensive Language program, ask yourself what you want out of the program and then base your decision on that. Having completed both, I would say that if you want to focus solely on academics and improving your language skills, then I recommend the Chinese Intensive Language. If you want a more well-rounded, enriched and in-depth experience into understanding Chinese culture and society, then I recommend the Chinese Studies and Internship Program.

22 years old
Washington & Lee University

Insights into Shanghai's International Community


While abroad in Shanghai, I was exposed to its international community of expats studying abroad at my university. Shanghai is the largest city in the world, and as such, there is an enormous contingent of foreign students looking to tap into its growing business environment. On my hall, about three doors down from me lived an international student from Senegal. Bobo, a Muslim African, had been conducting his graduate studies in Shanghai for eight years, and was going through Ramadan during my first month in Shanghai. As part of his religious tradition, he and his friends could not eat until after 8pm every day. While returning from an early evening on the town, I happened upon Bobo and began to chat with him. Just as I felt the conversation growing a bit awkward, I mentioned that I had homework to do, and needed to retire to my dorm for the night. He insisted that I stay and eat dinner with he and his five friends. I took him up on his offer, and continued to eat a traditional Muslim dish out of a tray on the ground, with our hands. We ate, talked about the Senegalese way of life, their government, and their aspirations. After spending the better part of two hours with them, I finally went to my room and finished the homework I had put off in order to learn about a culture foreign to myself. This encounter is special to me in that I learned about a group of people I had no prior knowledge of, and it was in an especially unique place: Shanghai. The experience proved to me that it is grossly important to learn about other people's experiences, and also gave me an alternative view on my abroad country from somebody other than native Chinese person or an American on my program.

How can this program be improved?

There could be a few less class hours a week in order to free up students' time to experience the city.

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22 years old

Better Than Anything I Expected


As someone not exactly fit for a study abroad - having had mild depression and anxiety throughout my college years, going to a foreign country where the language nor the people were familiar to me was a very sound choice.
I was scared of whether I could do the internship that I found, something that was exactly what I had asked for, incorporating business and publishing all in one neat package, and I didn't know how I would do in this new environment.
The program was amazing. I was not just a tourist, although I had plenty of time to do that, but the program cared for me in a way that I didn't think about the money being paid - although I tried to remember. They truly love their students.
When I was struggling, they checked up on me. When I needed to talk, they were always there with encouragement and advice. The classes are difficult, but very good. You learn a language for real, and they're serious about leaving you with amazing skills.
I was able to go on trips with plenty of time left to explore with my roommate, who was a lifesaver for me who couldn't speak a full language. I learned the most from her than anyone else. If anyone ever is worried they can't do it - you can. And this program is something I'd really recommend.

How can this program be improved?

The only thing I could think that could improve this would be doing more trips or having more interaction between the Chinese roommates and the study abroad students. Pairs of roommates/students work together, but rarely groups of both hanging out. However, friends are still made and I still made good Chinese national friends.

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20 years old
Salt Lake City
George Washington University

Hong Kong-Thai-American in Mainland China


For most Americans, when they say "Asian" or even "Asian-American" they lump all of East Asia and South-east Asia together. However for me as someone with cultural heritage from both Thailand and Hong Kong I find it really important to tell people that I'm not just a Asian-American or even a Chinese-American, I am a Hong Kong-Thai- American. I've heard stories, whether from my co-workers in China or from CET, that Chinese-Americans are usually judged at a higher standard than most people. While this might be the case for others, I really didn't feel this was true. First, my name in English is "translated" from my Cantonese name, sounds that don't even exist in Mandarin, so whenever I introduce myself people, including the CET teachers, assumed I was Korean. I also have really dark skin so people assume that I have southeast Asian blood in me and therefore can't speak Mandarin either. For me, I was really lucky because I looked foreign enough where most people wouldn't judge me too harshly if I messed up, but at the same time I looked "Chinese" enough that people wouldn't feel like they should practice English with me.
In terms of how my background affected my Chinese learning in class, I'm really grateful for the teachers at CET. One thing I was really worried about is the fact that a lot of the words I know in Mandarin Chinese are more Southern/Taiwanese style Mandarin, but the head teacher, Qu laoshi, assured me that this wouldn't be a problem. Her reasoning is that as Chinese-Americans, we've grown up using that terminology and while that terminology isn't necessarily standard, it isn't incorrect either so she sees no need to force us to change that habit. I was also horrified that they would try to change the way I said the pinyin "sh" and "s"s. Once again I say it with a Southern accent. Actually at one point I did get into an argument with one of my teachers, but that argument quickly melted away as we continued the lesson. My other Chinese teacher said that as we are in the 300 level class, it is too late to change our accents. She thought it was more valuable to learn new grammar and words rather than to change something like grammar. I agree with this reasoning. The point of language is to communicate and I feel like no matter what accent you have, some one will always think you have an accent.
My Chinese teacher was also really good at telling me when I was using a Cantonese/Southern way of saying something rather than the Mandarin way of saying something. Rather than saying I was wrong, she would simply say that in the mainland they don't use that phrase/word and tell me what they use in the mainland. The teachers I've had in the past would straight-out say I was wrong so I'm grateful that the teachers in CET have a basic understanding of other dialects.

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23 years old
Lawrence, Kansas
University of Kansas

In Shangri-la. The Actual Shangri-la


One of my favorite experiences when I was studying abroad in China happened over Fall Break. When my friends and I were in Shangri-la in Yunan, we were tired and hungry from a long and windy bus ride. We decided to have a recommended Tibet-style meal for late lunch. We ate ground yak meat (amazing), spicy Tibetan tofu (amazing), bread with caramelized cheese honey (amazing), and yak milk tea (amazing). This was one of the most unique, memorable, and tasty meals of my life.

How can this program be improved?

I did consistently wonder what this program would have been like with a language pledge. I gained a lot from using English at my internship and with my American friends. However, I understand my Chinese language could have improved much more if I hadn't used my English so often.

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27 years old
Johns Hopkins University

worthy moments in Shanghai


I first attended CET Shanghai program with the simple reason to learn more Chinese and for cultural immersion. However, CET provided me with much more than I had expected, even linking me with some of the best corporate internships in Shanghai. The experience later proved to be invaluable, enabling me to work with Chinese companies after graduating from college as I pursued the path of an entrepreneur. CET's Wide selection of internships not only helped me to think about my future career, but also provided me with professional knowledge in the industry that I was interested in. I can also say that my internship placement at the marketing/PR agency also facilitated an extensive improvement of my Mandarin skills because my supervisors often instructed me in Chinese and I was placed to research, write, and speak in Chinese during working hours. Also, weekly seminar sessions with the director of CET program helped me to organize my internship career and how to quickly solve problems so I could balance both internship and coursework effectively. Even after I completed the program, the director continued to provide students with opportunities for career advancement and developing tight networks among CET students.

Besides from internships, intensive language coursework and my awesome Chinese roommate helped me learn and experience Chinese culture! Due to small class sizes, I could maintain close relationships with Chinese teachers and weekly 1:1 discussion sessions with them were especially helpful in improving my Chinese oratorical skills. It is true that there was not enough time to hang out with my roommate because of homework and internships, but weekend getaway with her was definitely memorable and such intimate gathering helped me learn Chinese slangs that were not in textbooks.

The program director and the staff of the program are family-like and are always ready to listen and help students. When I became sick during the program, all of the staff members not only helped me to receive proper treatments, but also even arranged me with extra study sessions to catch up on the course materials. Also, because of thorough care and instructions of staff members, my worries about safety in Shanghai dissipated as silliness. Due to the warmth and reliability of the director and staff members, I was able to have a great time in Shanghai without concerns.

How can this program be improved?

I wish more elective courses are available in the program. Though I enjoyed Chinese economy elective course, there was no other course options to take in that spring semester.

Due to tight class and internship schedules, there was not enough free time to mingle with Chinese friends. It would be great if there were more time to experience Shanghai and the culture of China.

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23 years old
United States
Haverford College

Academic, Professional, and Personal Growth in Shanghai


Studying with CET Shanghai was one of the highlights of my college career. The rigorous language coursework and local roommate program helped me improve my Mandarin skills beyond my expectations, and the staff were incredibly supportive. My internship placement at an international school was a bit different from many of the business- and finance-related positions that many of my classmates held, but it was perfect for my interests and professional goals.

Bus stops and a subway station right off campus made it so convenient to explore the city -- to the local mall for groceries or to catch a movie, to the Bund skyline for touristy pictures and people-watching, and even to the countryside outskirts of Shanghai for a break from the bustle of the city.

This was my first trip overseas, and I tried to take advantage by traveling as much as possible. Shanghai's transportation options include multiple terminals for long-distance buses and trains, as well as two airports, making it a great home base for travel all around mainland China as well as into Hong Kong and Taiwan.

I will always be grateful to CET Shanghai for helping me build strong friendships abroad and for giving me a home away from home.

How can this program be improved?

The English-language electives were useful, but could have held us to higher standards and engaged us to think more critically about Chinese culture and history. A lot of my understanding around those topics actually came through my language class, which required us to conduct regular interviews with our local Chinese roommates.

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24 years old
Washington, D.C.
George Washington University

Study Abroad with CET Shanghai Fall 2014


When I first came to Shanghai four years ago for the World Expo, I felt something buzzing in the Pudong air (not the AQI). It read like a template for the globalized future. Global Citizens had converged on this city because Shanghai had proved herself to be a vibrant cultural center unlike any other in the world. As I sat at my desk last Spring in Washington, DC, I thought to myself, "I want to be in China and I want to be back in that in the midst of that development and optimism and thus I found a home at CET Shanghai."
I am proud to say that in Shanghai, I can attend a marriage market in People's Park in the morning, and be at an electronic music festival with 10,000 people on South Bund by night. I am proud to say that I can enjoy a cup of tea and a bit of tranquility in the 600 year-old Yuyuan Garden at breakfast time, hop a train under the Huangpu and be rocketing to the top of the Oriental Pearl Tower for lunch, 15,000 feet up.
After a semester in Shanghai, I have heard more languages than ever before in my life, tried stranger dishes than any Westerner should lay eyes on, and experienced a 5,000 year old culture that opened its arms to me. I have worked among the people who are driving China's growth, I have learned from her brightest minds, and I have forged lasting bonds with the Middle Kingdom.
After studying abroad with CET, I have built a global network of friendships that I hope will last me a lifetime. The connections and experience that I have gained from my internship will help me establish a career in the future. I recognize that mastery of a second language is a lifelong pursuit but after a semester living in China with intensive study, I am proud that I can converse on a deeper level with native people in a language that is not my own.

How can this program be improved?

I really appreciate the reimbursement program, it helped me to get out and visit places around the city. However, I felt that I didn't get as many opportunities as I might have liked to travel to the many other amazing places around China. I recognize that intensive language classes and internships do not leave much extra free time, but for many students though not all, this will be their only time in China. I have found that the best opportunities for spiritual reflection and practical application of my studies have presented themselves while I have been traveling around this incredible country. For example, when I was summiting Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province on frantic weekend trip I felt the overwhelming beauty and mysticism of China. This experience gained more meaning when was I able to discuss the American electoral system (the subject we were studying back in Shanghai) with a Chinese stranger who sat down next to me on the bus off the mountain. A few three day weekends would really help give one more of these types of opportunities.

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24 years old
United States
Elon University

Shanghai Internship and Language Program


Going into this program, I had no idea what kind of summer adventure I was going to have, but I knew it was going to be interesting to say the least. Arriving in Shanghai, my roommate was waiting for and we travelled back to Donghua, the university I would be living at for the summer. I knew, just from that moment, my roommate was going to be the best part about my summer. She helped me struggle through learning Mandarin and always encouraged me to speak Chinese, even if I messed up over and over again. She took me around to museums and different restaurants (she learned that I loved spicy food and brought me to as many places as possible).
Living in Shanghai was an experience in of itself. Everyday the city brought something new and surprising to my life. I was constantly out of my comfort zone, but i loved every moment; the city always kept me on my toes.
I learned so much about myself from being in Shanghai. I am so thankful for this program and the entire CET staff who were always there for us when we needed anything.

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24 years old
United States
University of Texas- Austin

A Taste of the Chinese International Scene


Shanghai was the time of my life.

I made strong friendships, learned a lot of Chinese, and had a blast exploring the Shanghai nightlife. Most importantly, I learned about myself. Being thrown into a culture and overall lifestyle that is so different from my own, I was forced to adjust. As I've heard others say, "It's China. You either grow or are run over." I can happily say that I grew - academically, professionally, and emotionally.

You are matched with a Chinese roommate through CET, and I'd say around 95% of the CET students were very pleased with their roommate pairing. I am still in contact with my roommate, and I plan to visit him as soon as I can.

The staff is incredible. They made me feel at home! They are courteous, reliable, and always willing to go the extra mile. I remember when a staff member, Nova, stayed up extra late just to help a CET student with flight issues. They are here for the students, and it shows.

The program director did an excellent job making sure that everyone was assigned with an appropriate internship. Whether you are working for a small software company or the largest financial planning firm in Shanghai, your internship will be satisfying and open doors.

My advice: Speak Chinese as much as possible. Go out and explore not only the amazing nightlife of Shanghai, but also the enriching daytime excursions offered by Shanghai and other Chinese cities.

With the right mindset and motivated attitude, Shanghai with CET can be the most thrilling and rewarding ride of your life.

How can this program be improved?


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24 years old
Boston, MA
Colgate University

Rigorous program in the heart of Shanghai


I initially CET Shanghai because it was advertised as an academically challenging program that still allowed for students to participate in internships (if they chose to do so). Since I was double-majoring and studying abroad for a full academic year, I couldn't sacrifice any course credits during my time abroad - a CET program was a logical choice because students receive a ton of classroom time and, even on a non-language intensive program, students get the equivalent of one full year of language instruction in one semester.

My situation was admittedly a little weird; there were only 6 students on the Shanghai program that semester, so I ended up having a 1-on-1 language class for the entire semester. That meant 2.5 hours every day of individual language instruction. It would've been easy for CET to just fit me into the nearest language level with other students, but instead the Director chose to provide a separate class to meet my academic needs, and I really appreciated that.

The only downside to my experience was the social scene - since there were only 6 students, we didn't have a big group to explore the nightlife, and we never really bonded. My roommate was friendly and helped with my Chinese, but we didn't share much in common. The roommate experiences of the other students on the program seemed better, so I think it's just hit-or-miss, and it certainly didn't define my experience in Shanghai. Overall, I was really satisfied with the coursework, and I left feeling like I'd made the right choice based on my academic goals.

How can this program be improved?

Honestly, the only problem I had was a disconnect with the other students on the program. Maybe the Shanghai program could have done more during the first week to orient students to the city and organize events to get students acquainted with one another.

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24 years old
New Orleans
Tulane University

Worth the Effort


Chinese is hard, and I knew that going in. I wanted a program where I could really work on my language skills, and I got exactly what I asked for. I'm a good student with pretty decent time management skills, but I still had to wake up at 6:30 every morning and study the thirty-odd characters I would be quizzed on at 9. After lunch I'd run to my internship, and then I'd be back home for dinner and more studying. This kind of jam-packed day was rough, but it brings you close to everyone in your program. We were all very different people, but from the start we could count on each other for anything. It was a fantastic environment to grow in, and in China, you either grow or get run over.

Another thing that begs to be mentioned are the roommates. They put us to shame every day with how much they cared, taking friendship to a new level. I still feel shallow in comparison to Fujie, who translated carry-out menus and circled good options for my vegetarian friends without even being asked!

China is very, very different from America. We were all homesick at one time or another. But now that I'm back doing my regular college thing, I miss Shanghai a lot. I miss discovering new things, challenging and reinventing myself. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

How can this program be improved?

We had a tough time with the history teacher. She was very knowledgeable, but I have never been in a more boring class. She had no idea how to keep us engaged. It worked out as we got to know her better though.

I also wish we had more free time. There's so much in Shanghai that it felt like a waste going to work every day.

About The Provider


CET Academic Programs is a study abroad organization that has been developing and delivering innovative educational programs abroad since 1982. Originally “China Educational Tours,” CET began operations in Beijing, and today offers a varied portfolio of semester, summer, and short-term customized programs for college, high