IES Abroad Shanghai - Economy, Business & Society
92% Rating
(10 Reviews)

IES Abroad Shanghai - Economy, Business & Society

IES Abroad is proud to offer an excellent way to study abroad in Shanghai. Students enrolled in the Economy, Business & Society program will gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and their approach to conducting international business.

As one of the largest cities in the world, Shanghai has much to offer. For good reason, studying abroad in Shanghai is increasingly popular. Through IES Abroad's semester long program, students will take a Chinese language immersion class and expose themselves to Chinese culture in unique and challenging ways. While in Shanghai, study the diversity and impact that international influences from all over the globe have on Chinese culture. Witness how globalization affects Shanghai and develop a greater understanding of how China’s influence is increasingly affecting the world. If studying abroad in Shanghai sounds right to you, apply now!

Asia » China » Shanghai
Asia » China
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Program Reviews (10)

Default avatar

Shanghai In Review

During my semester in Shanghai, I was able to explore the culture, language, food, and art of the city. IES really contributed to my cultural immersion by providing language partners from Chinese universities that wanted to better their English, just like I wanted to better my Chinese. It was also a great immersion experience because I elected to live in a homestay with a Chinese family. My host family only spoke Chinese and we got along very well and I still keep in contact with them now! In addition to the other types of immersion, IES scheduled multiple day trips to various cities in China as well as a week long trip to Taiwan at the end of the semester. The academics were different than I was used to at my home institution (50 minute classes compared to 3-hour long lectures), but I was able to adjust without issue. Overall, it was a well organized program with high-quality program advisors and staff. I'll be back soon!

How can this program be improved?

My primary improvement suggestion would be for IES to really emphasize what to expect when you're in China. For example, some students were surprised at how academic the program was, some were surprised at how different the food was, etc. For me, I would've appreciated knowing that the spaces/rooms were generally smaller so I wouldn't have as much room for stuff (i.e., I should pack lighter).

Yes, I recommend
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Shanghai forever

My semester in Shanghai was the ultimate study abroad experience. I went in knowing no Mandarin and never having been to Asia. I was incredibly nervous to be going into this with no preparation besides good packing! Getting out of my comfort zone was the best decision I have ever made. Not only did I learn Mandarin and about Chinese culture, but I learned so much about myself as well. Can't wait to go back!

How can this program be improved?

More immersion with locals

Yes, I recommend
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Home away from Home!

After a year abroad with IES, I fell in love with Shanghai. What's not to love? It's exciting and always has something to do! It has amazing food where you can sample local delicacies like 小龙包 (Xiao long Bao), authentic Chinese regional cuisine like Sichuan and Zhejiang food, and international staples when you are craving a little taste of home. My favorite part about IES Abroad's program was having the ability to be independent. Our apartments couldn't have been in a better location. It was about a 10-20 minute walk to the Bund, and we had a major subway line really close to us as well. I also enjoyed the local life of our neighborhood. During the day, the streets were crowded with mopeds and taxis as people drove to work. The restaurants were filled with people during their lunch or dinner breaks. At night, the street vendors began to open up shop feeding brave customers without much understanding of food safety the most delicious stir-fried noodles and grilled squid. When I wasn't eating or exploring Shanghai's beautiful parks, extravagant malls, and historic sites, I was studying Chinese and other classes relating to China. The Chinese classes were great. I loved my teacher both semesters because they always found ways to make a 2.5 hour Chinese class relatively fun. As for my other courses, I enjoyed having the freedom to choose what I was interested in, but the 3 hour long classes could be tough to get through sometimes. IES Abroad's program in Shanghai didn't have class on friday, which allowed me to travel during the weekend to some pretty amazing parts of China. I valued that free time to help me gain a more holistic understanding of Mainland China.

How can this program be improved?

The major issues came from some minor miscommunication from the IES Abroad Center office. If you plan on studying abroad in China, I would highly recommend trying your best to get a multiple entry visa. Once you are in China, it is nearly impossible to get one and the immigration and visa office does not speak English. While stateside, go through a third party visa provider to get your student visa. You are more likely to get one through them than on your own.

Yes, I recommend
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Life Changing Experience

My time spent in Shanghai, China was a life changing experience in which I grew personally from my experiences. It is inarguably the best 4 months of my life. I met 20 life long friends, and travelled and learned about different cultures in Southeast Asia. I felt safe and supported by my peers as well as the program directors. Although I was far from home, Shanghai quickly became my home, and my friends my family. I learned the mandarin language extensively through class, but I saw most improvement through the opportunity to use it daily when communicating with locals. The living accommodations were beyond my expectations in cleanliness, size, location, and accessibility to public transportation.
Shanghai is an amazing city especially for expatriates. It is the perfect blend of Chinese culture with American influences. I was able to have local Chinese food, but also American food when I missed home. I am grateful for IES for making my experience abroad the most amazing experience of my life. I hope to see myself as an expatriate back in Shanghai one day as a have an unbreakable tie with the amazing city.

Yes, I recommend
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Life in Shanghai

Shanghai. What an incredible city. I spent my spring semester there with IES and was just blown away by all that this city has to offer. The city never sleeps – there are always people around and always something to do, making each day exciting and different. New experiences happened almost daily, from exploring the city, karaoke, and trying out new food at different restaurants, to learning some tai chi in a park, going on a river cruise, and playing intense badminton. Shanghai has it all, and I had a blast being a part of this remarkable, international city.

I was able to live in a homestay and really enjoyed it. My host mom took great care of me – providing delicious and traditional food for me, taking me out with her and her friends, and showing me around the city, while also helping me with my Chinese throughout the semester. I was glad to be able to use my Chinese daily in my living situation and pick up new local sayings because of it. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of a homestay; it was extremely beneficial to my experience.

We studied at Shanghai Jiao Tong University – one of the top universities in the country – and were taught under Chinese professors which gave us new perspectives and helped us understand how things work and function in China as compared to what we know about how it is in America, a very useful and enlightening aspect. We didn’t have class on Fridays so students were able to do some traveling or spend more time exploring Shanghai. We also had a week-long break during the semester and students were able to travel to different parts of the county to see how unique the ways of life are in other provinces. Our language skills were utilized daily and we enjoyed using them to meet the locals and in getting around the city – be it for transportation or ordering food.

Though it is a very modern and international city, the ancient customs and traditions from China’s long history are still very evident and important in Shanghai society, so getting to learn about and understand the different views and beliefs and where they come from firsthand was extremely valuable. From the city to the classes to the people – it was an absolutely incredible semester, one I am so thankful for and that I won’t ever forget. I was challenged a lot and I grew a lot and have gained a new outlook on life. So, thank you IES and thank you Shanghai, I’ll be back.

How can this program be improved?

More involvement/integration into activities on campus with local students, we felt kind of secluded.

Yes, I recommend
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A Successful Experience in Shanghai

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.

How can this program be improved?

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Holistic Learning

The housing conditions were very clean and spacious, like an American hotel. The program included multiple fun excuursions and field trips, both as part of the curriculum and part of the program. We were given free time to explore on our own was well. All in all I would definitely recommend IES Shanghai, the program was small which made it feel more personal. Studying abroad was one of the best experiences of my life and completely unforgettable.

How can this program be improved?

They did not notify us until we arrived that there would not be internships arranged. Also homestays were not an option.

Yes, I recommend
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Being the only Blonde

Being a blonde in China meant that I tended to stand out wherever I went. But that was okay because it was a great starting point for conversation with total strangers, most of whom were very nice in Shanghai. Shanghai is a cool city where modern meets old. Here you get to experience China while still having access to many of the things you would at home. There is so much to explore in and around the city on your own or on the trips put together by IES. The best learning happens outside the classroom so get out and go places if you want to have a rewarding semester, make new relationships and return home with some amazing stories!

Yes, I recommend
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One of the best decisions I've made

Despite what you may think, life in Shanghai is very easy to adjust to, provided that you expect to make an adjustment. Yes, things are different here, but Shanghai is an amazing place to be! We have Chinese class every morning 4 days a week, with our other 3 classes meeting just once a week. My Chinese class is honestly very enjoyable, and I credit that to my classmates (all IES students) and my teacher. Its also much easier academically because your language skills take off after living here for a while, so Chinese class feels like a breeze. We live in the Fudan dorms in singles, and its very nice to have my own space and my own bathroom. You will survive easily if you don't like Chinese food; there are a ton of restaurants with huge variety. At the same time, I strongly suggest trying new things and embracing as much of the traditional culture as possible, because chances are you'll enjoy at least part of it. I will completely admit to eating street food for dinner because it is delicious, and I have a new found love for tofu that I never knew existed. I walk to the stores on my street, bike around campus to class, take the bus to the big shopping center a few blocks away, and take the subway when I need to get into the city. And if I don't feel like utilizing those options there are taxis everywhere. I take a taxi maybe every other day, because despite the traffic I like being above ground instead of on the subway. My wonderful experience was made possible by the research I did before my arrival. If you prepare well, you will be much happier. To prepare, I would suggest the following: figure out what your banking situation will be (go with Bank of America for no ATM fees), which classes will transfer back to your university, get all of your prescriptions filled for 6 months, lay out all the clothes you want to pack and then get rid of some because you WILL shop here (fake markets rock, and everything is cheap), put a copy of your passport and visa in your wallet, bring a tube of toothpaste (the ones here just aren't the same), and be prepared to go with the flow. China is such an interesting and dynamic place, so be ready to take things in stride and you'll be good to go!

How can this program be improved?

I'm not sure how much control IES has over this, but pretty much all of our major assignments in our extra classes (not Chinese class, I mean) are due in the last 3 weeks of the semester, which creates an annoying homework crunch when I want to be out enjoying my last few weeks in the city.

Yes, I recommend
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IES 21st Century China Program

I would recommend this program for anyone interested in studying in Shanghai or China. The housing was better than most of what my other friends in other programs had. The staff was also very supportive and the school was located right across the street from Fudan University. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and the programs IES had set up were great. I learnt a lot of Chinese through their intensive classes and I would definitely go again. Shanghai is a very safe city and the day trips and excursion to Taiwan that IES had organized encouraged me to see all of the opportunities China had to offer. Shanghai is a fast-changing city not just economically but socially as well, and by studying abroad with IES, students are a lot more prone to witness this and understand it. IES was there throughout the whole trip and making sure I was well accustomed to my surroundings. Studying abroad is what you make of it but its reassuring to know the IES staff is behind you whenever you might need them.

Yes, I recommend

About The Provider


IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student should have the opportunity to