Before I studied in Shanghai, I knew nothing about the Chinese language and very little about Chinese business or culture. I came out of the program with a much greater understand of all three of these topics. It was a very enjoyable experience that I would highly recommend.
I was satisfied with the academic courses I was a part of, which included one Mandarin language class and three business classes. The required Mandarin class meets four days a week, which helped me to keep improving my language skills and made it easier to get around on day to day basis. My three business courses were not as rigorous as the courses offered at my home college, but the teachers were easy to understand and seemed to put a lot of effort into their courses.
The on-site administration members were very helpful and set up a number of trips and cultural activities which I really enjoyed. They were almost always available and really seemed to care about making each one of us have the best experience possible.
We got to stay in an extended living hotel, which was a lot nicer than any college living arrangement I'd experienced. The apartments are spacious, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a common room. Our bathrooms were cleaned twice a week and the entire room once a week, which was much more generous than I was expecting. The apartment is in a great location just outside of the center of Shanghai with many restaurants nearby and a subway stop less than five minutes away. My only complaint was the internet, which was often very slow and sometimes unable to connect.
Food is on your own, but if you like Chinese food, you are in luck. A lot of the local options are very cheap, however, Western food will cost about the same as it would in the United States. Shanghai is a very international city and you can find pretty much any kind of food there. Your cheapest option is street food, which is easy to find (especially at night), convenient, and often very delicious.
Our on-site staff set up a few cultural exchange activities for us to talk to Shanghai locals (such as a volunteer event with middle school students and a Chinese yo-yo lesson from local experts), but cultural integration was mostly on our own. At the beginning, we were set up with language partners, but most of the students didn't click very well with theirs.
Overall, I had a great time in Shanghai and would recommend my experience to anyone interested in learning about Chinese language, business, or culture.
A lot of the program's specifics were not very clear. Until I arrived in Shanghai, I did not know that internships weren't available, which I wish I had known ahead of time. There were also no homestay options.