• China
    • Shanghai
Fall, Spring, Summer
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships, BIPOC funding
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Apartment Host Family


Price Details
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details: www.IESabroad.org/shanghai
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Some Activities Classes Some Meals Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards Visa
Jul 07, 2022
Feb 10, 2020
6 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

For good reason, studying abroad in Shanghai is increasingly popular. A thoroughly modern city risen from a fishing village less than 100 years ago, Shanghai has been heavily influenced by Western business, culture, and architecture. As one of the largest cities in the world, Shanghai has much to offer.

Learn the impact of such rapid modernization on local customs and the environment. You can practice your Chinese, study business or engineering in this bustling metropolis, and more through one of our Shanghai study abroad programs.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ Support

Today, and every day, we celebrate who you are and who you will become. We take pride in simply getting to know you, and look forward to adventuring through this incredible world with you.

Studying abroad as part of the LGBTQIA+ community can present unique opportunities and challenges in exploring a new culture, so we have compiled resources on sexual orientation, gender identity, and allyship to help prepare you and support you along the way.

Neurodivergent Support

Going abroad, whether this is your first time or your umpteenth, can be a trip both literally and figuratively. Seeing something new or being someplace unfamiliar has its own challenges, especially when it comes to mental health and physical accessibility. With IES Abroad, you won't handle these concerns on your own.

We have not only compiled resources on mental health, physical health, and self-care to help prepare you and support you along the way, but we also have a dedicated Student Affairs staff that are available for you to contact from the United States and once in your host country.

Accessibility Support

Going abroad, whether this is your first time or your umpteenth, can be a trip both literally and figuratively. Seeing something new or being someplace unfamiliar has its own challenges, especially when it comes to mental health and physical accessibility. With IES Abroad, you won't handle these concerns on your own.

We have not only compiled resources on mental health, physical health, and self-care to help prepare you and support you along the way, but we also have a dedicated Student Affairs staff that are available for you to contact from the United States and once in your host country.



As part of IES Abroad's Global Good Commitment, IES Abroad employs sustainability measures in the following ways:
-Moving toward more sustainable Headquarters and Centers abroad
-Producing printed materials mindfully
-Hosting events and conferences in LEED-certified buildings
-Purchasing carbon offsets for staff air travel
-The formation of the IES Abroad Sustainability Team - a dedicated group of volunteers responsible for implementing sustainable practices across our organization. The team comprises of members across our Centers, departments, teams. It is truly a global effort, and we are better for it.

Popular Programs

student smiling on a staircase below a pagoda

Students enrolled in the Economy, Business & Society program will gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture and their approach to conducting international business. Through IES Abroad's semester-long program, students will take a Chinese language immersion class, see how globalization affects Shanghai, and develop a greater understanding of how China’s influence is increasingly affecting the world.

student on a hike looking up with fog and mountains behind him

What better place to study engineering than the world’s fastest-growing economic and manufacturing center? In this program, you will study either Mechanical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, or Materials Science in English at one of the top universities in China: Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). A member of C9 League, SJTU is part of the Chinese equivalent to the Ivy League. Its Mechanical Engineering program is ranked first nationally.

group of students smiling on a boat

Study either Mechanical, Electrical or Computer Engineering in English at one of the top universities in China, Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). The university boasts numerous technological achievements and notable alumni in the field of engineering. You'll have access to high-caliber faculty, research laboratories, and a wide range of English-taught courses such as Physics, Electricity & Magnetism, Data Structures & Algorithms, Fluid Mechanics and Probabilistic Methods in Engineering.

group of students smiling on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant in Shanghai

Immerse yourself in the language and culture of the largest city in China when you study abroad with IES Abroad in Shanghai. In eight weeks, rapidly improve your language skills in the classroom and in your daily activities as you interact with Shanghai residents from all over China and around the world. The IES Abroad Shanghai summer program provides intensive beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate, and advanced level Chinese language courses.


IES Abroad Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

Financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why IES Abroad offers more than $6 million in scholarships and aid. IES Abroad offers a number of diversity scholarships and grants to provide opportunities for traditionally underrepresented communities in study abroad.

$500 - $5,000

Program Reviews

4.83 Rating
based on 18 reviews
  • 5 rating 83.33%
  • 4 rating 16.67%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.2
  • Support 4.6
  • Fun 4.95
  • Housing 4.75
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 18 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The City that made the peak of my College experience

Experiencing a Study Abroad in Shanghai is a great adventure. While still applying, the IES team in Chicago will give you an advisor who will help you and answer all your questions regarding the program and everything you need to prepare. Classes offerings will be available on their website but you may want to be flexible because they are still subject to change until the program starts. In terms of accommodation, the program gives the option between living in an apartment with other students from the program and a homestay. If you want to maximize your learning goals when it comes to learning Mandarin, I would advise homestay. My experience has been wonderful and gave me a lot more than I ever expected. The families are super nice and of course, an RA will be available to assist you in questions related to housing, health issues, or really anything. One of my favorite activities is to walk on the Bund, bring a book and read while facing Shanghai’s signature monument and look at people passing. That, of course is just one among many others. If you are a traveler, Shanghai’s location is on your side. There are many beautiful places full of history and rich in culture close by that you can access easily by train. The program also organizes optional and mandatory trips to help you make the most out of your time abroad. Some of the destinations include Beijing, Hangzhou, and Taiwan. If you are looking for a blast abroad and live an experience that will impact your life forever, IES Abroad in Shanghai can give you what you are looking for.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I had could do it all over again, I would have saved more money for traveling.
108 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying in Shanghai is no vacation

Living in China is becoming a more influential resume builder as China becomes an international player. Immersion in China is difficult for any foreigner, and traveling around the country isn't meant for noncitizens. However, IES Abroad staff are quite helpful in guiding students to helpful resources in order to facilitate travel. The best part of living in China as a part of the IES Abroad program is the abundant opportunities to learn. The classes IES allows you to take partnering with Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Fudan University are topical, and give a student unique insight into Chinese education and the Chinese economy. The IES professors are extremely knowledgable and incredibly helpful throughout the semester. I learned more about Chinese economics, culture, and language in this one semester than I learned in my four semesters before it combined. Making lasting Chinese friends is not for the faint of heart, and cultural immersion is difficult living in an apartment (but the Western toilet is a lifesaver).

What would you improve about this program?
I would make the program required trips more open-ended. The structured, planned schedules for the Taiwan trip were limiting with what time we had in Taiwan.
103 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


I am currently writing this review on the 0743 Thalys train from Brussels Midi to Paris Nord. Gazing at the windmills along the horizon of the countryside with glaring into the cabin brought a smile to my face, glued my eyes to window and brought back many memories as I reminisced of my study abroad experience. As an American Born Chinese student visiting China for the first time, one can imagine how the experience affected me. I sincerely hope this story encourages any student interested in not learning more about a culture, but about themselves as well. The study abroad cliches are real, it really is life changing and was one of the most educational, hands-on experience I could have ever benefited from.
As an eager and outgoing person, I knew I always wanted to study abroad. I know that is not the case for everyone as some are on the edge of going or others believe it is difficult to do so depending on the majors and schedules. Truth be told, it was weird knowing that I was leaving my family for three months, I became anxious and nervous about all the things I will miss from birthdays to life events. The second I boarded the plane, these fears and worries quickly vanished as I changed my mindset from nervousness to openness. I was putting myself out there, in a foregin country with foreign people.
The second I landed, reality hit me. I was in a new country, alone, for three months. It is not as daunting as it sounds as IES Abroad did an amazing job in ensuring that I was escorted from the airport to the campus where the orientations were held and everything was organized. Throughout the summer, IES Abroad planned several cultural trips, all of which were most definitely enjoyable and not frowned upon. I strongly believe that the experience was amazing only because of the people I was able to meet and make life-long friendships. I strongly urge all prospective students to study abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
I would improve the housing situation as the price was pretty steep for the housing that we received.
100 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Living at SJTU

Shanghai Jiao Tong University is located outside the downtown area of Shanghai but is still accessible within an hour on the train. There is a very extensive transportation system all throughout the Shanghai city and surrounding area, and they have over 20 metro lines. Shanghai is often called a city of cities, so take time to explore the many areas.

The school is very known for its alum and technical achievements and there are many tech talks that go on throughout the term that international students are more than welcome to attend. Setting up classes was very similar to the process at universities in America, it's done online using your student ID number and you pick the courses you want to register for and you can add or drop online before the deadline.

The staff and support are phenomenal! Upon arrival, there is an orientation with everything you need to know to get around in China. Coming from someone who just started Chinese when I arrived in Shanghai I was more than prepared for the basic things like paying and eating.

What would you improve about this program?
I would encourage students to participate in a homestay.
108 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Magical Experience in Asia

IES Abroad's Shanghai Economy, Business & Society program is an incredible opportunity to step outside of your comfort zone and learn about yourself, the rest of the world, and how the global environment is shaped by students and travelers. I had a wonderful experience in Shanghai with IES Abroad. The excellent staff are part of what makes this program so wonderful. The program includes plenty of time to travel independently and explore Shanghai, but there are also plenty of excursions with the cohort that immerse you in Chinese culture and bond you together.
From visiting nearby cities to ancient water-towns or learning about traditional Chinese medicine, there is plenty of exposure to the rich and diverse Chinese culture and landscape. This is an abroad program unlike any other. You aren't going to Europe to stay comfortable with Western practices and retain the ability to navigate with English. In this program, you're going to learn Mandarin (and some Shanghai-dialect Chinese!) no matter what your language level is on arrival. Students who came in as intermediate speakers of Mandarin left with advanced proficiency, and students who had never studied before left with the ability to comfortable navigate the city, ask for directions, order food, shop (and haggle) and so much more. This is a truly valuable experience because no matter your intent to return to Asia, you are learning about a part of the world that will undeniably contrast what you're familiar with, and you will grow from that exposure.
During a school break I was able to travel to several cities in China and hike through the world's deepest river gorge, into a mountain range in Western China. Travel and accommodation is accessible and inexpensive, especially compared to Europe or North America. For the budget-minded traveler who wants to get the most out of a semester abroad, China is the place to go, and IES Shanghai EBS is the program to choose. Our living arrangements were fantastic - clean and modern service apartments right in downtown Shanghai. This meant that the commute to classes was short, but we also lived within a 10-15 minute walk from some of the most bustling sites. Museums, restaurants, art galleries, bars, malls, markets. Everything is accessible. American students I met through classes at Fudan University who were enrolled in other exchange programs were much less fortunate in their housing placement - they had to commute a considerable way to get to any night life or daytime attractions, and this made their experience less enjoyable. They were restricted by their location and thus couldn't fit as many activities into their time abroad. Shanghai Economy, Business & Society has no such problem.
Part of the program was a week-long trip to Seoul, South Korea, where we experienced a completely different variety of Asian culture. Having free time in South Korea to explore and understand some of the nuanced differences between Chinese and Korean culture despite the underlying similarities from Confucianism was extremely rewarding.
The Asia-Pacific region is one of the most geographically, culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse regions in the world. By virtue of studying there, you have the liberty to travel and visit parts of the world you may otherwise never get the chance to. I couldn't recommend this program more strongly.

What would you improve about this program?
This program was excellent - I personally had a great time and can't think of any improvements.
101 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

"When in China, do as the Chinese do"

Traveling abroad can be very scary, especially when you're traveling to a country where you don't know the language well or have limited access to your support system at home. It was for these reasons that I chose IES Abroad's program. All of their programs were more structured and supportive than any of the other study abroad opportunities that I researched. They were more structured in the form of organized tours and activities that help strengthen our knowledge of the cultural and societal history of the country. We often traveled as a group, which helped you feel less vulnerable or anxious in an unfamiliar place. While at the same time, we had a lot of freedom and autonomy to travel and explore the city/country around us and it gave you the feeling of independence and personal growth. I couldn't have asked for a more influential program experience, because this semester abroad has changed my life.
When I decided to study abroad in China, I knew I would be signing up for a lot of new experiences and challenges. However, in my heart I knew this is where I needed to be, so I took that leap into the unknown and it is one of the best decisions of my life. I would advise someone interested in traveling or studying abroad in any Asian-Pacific country to not let fear and ignorance stop you from taking this journey. At first, the cultural and societal differences can be overwhelming, everything can seem so different and foreign that you begin to feel uncomfortable. But I believe, this feeling is only temporary if you let it be. I learned that its the mindset you approach new situations with, that determines the outcome and overall success of the experience. With that being said; I did have to adapt to customs and societal norms that I didn't necessarily agree with, and it was hard, but I always looked at it as a learning experience. For example: I live in the Midwest, and we don't really use public transportation outside of buses. So coming to Shanghai, and having to not only navigate the subway system, but also adjust to the aggressive and cramped standards and norms of subway culture was something I struggled with in the beginning. I couldn't understand why people pushed to get in and off the train, or how no one seemed uncomfortable being so close to one another. I just had to deal with it and follow along and over time I began to understand why it was this way and that in order for me to get where I needed to go, I had to follow that example. I would sum up my approach to a play on the famous quote: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do", to "When in China, do as the Chinese do"! This allowed me to have a really immersive experience that I feel was culturally rich and authentic. I tried to travel outside of the bigger cities to more rural areas to get multiple Chinese perspectives. Chinese culture is very unique and complex, some areas are evolving with the introduction of globalization, while their core values remain traditional and sometimes conflict with our Western values. However overall, having the opportunity to meet with and connect with Chinese young people to talk about issues and the similarities/differences of our cultures was very eye-opening and necessary. So I would advise anyone thinking of traveling to China to have the confidence to reach out to your Chinese peers and get to know them, because I learned that at our age we all do a lot of the same things and it makes the people around you feel more familiar and relatable. I feel my experience was so unique because I connected with Chinese exchange students before I left and by the time I arrived in Shanghai, some of them were back in China as well. It was nice to have their guidance and support while I was there. We would meet up and they would show me around their neighborhoods and the downtown area, and I got to enjoy the city the way they did growing up. Which goes to show you how important these connections can be.
Its also important to make connections with the people in your program and learn about how everyone's unique path led them to this point in there lives. You may be surprised to hear about what motivates/inspires people to travel abroad and to choose China specifically. Some of my favorite memories are going out with my program-mates to sing karaoke or eat hot pot (which is delicious) and all of the hilarious hi-jinks we shared in the classroom. Its the people that can really make a difference on you're experience, and remember even if you aren't close with everyone in your program you all still share the bond of the being abroad and the challenges you were able to overcome together.
Quick Tips:
-After 2 weeks decide on a REALISTIC budget per week (you most likely will spend more), and use cash to keep track on your spending
-Bring a rain coat and boots, you will use them and regret not having them
-Learn easy phrases like 'excuse me', 'how much', 'where is the bathroom', these will be VERY helpful in most situations
-Always check for your passport if you plan on traveling outside of your host country
-DON'T take unnecessary risks, if someone does something illegal and gets away with it don't feel bold enough to try it for yourself the consequences aren't worth it
-Stay positive and keep and open mind, this experience will be gone in a flash and you'll regret not putting yourself out there and doing more

What would you improve about this program?
-Split up the administrative and daily work more evenly among the staff. RA's should not be shouldered with the majority of the burden. Its unfair and stressful on them, especially if they are dealing with their own school schedules and personal lives.
-Go over emergency procedures more in detail and often to really drive home the step that should be taken if something does go wrong.
-Explain additional costs ahead of time like excess baggage costs if we are required to travel outside our host country as a part of our program
100 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Very different from my home country, was a great experience!

My time in China was, as a whole, a wonderful experience and I would certainly do it again.
I think that Shanghai is probably the best choice for anyone looking to study in China(although I suppose I'm rather biased in that regard); I’ve never loved a city like I love Shanghai. It is extremely vast and full of life, you could spend a lifetime exploring there.

China is not for the faint of heart. The food, the people, the architecture, the political system, even the air is all different from that of the West. I would thus definitely recommend going if you’re someone who is looking to be a little bit uncomfortable in their time abroad, and wants to experience a culture that differs in a significant number of ways. I personally went in with this mindset, and it helped me adjust rather quickly with minimal culture shock.

The staff at the IES center were all very good, they could always help if we ever had any issues. I was assigned an resident assistant who was a Chinese student at the University I attended, and he was very helpful relaying information or even just helping us get where we needed to be. I also found my IES language courses to be very well taught, my language skills improve and my desire to use those skills at every opportunity increased.

I think the largest challenge I encountered was with regards to my engineering courses. The courses are taught in a way that was very different from my home university. The focus was much more theoretical, and the pace was very accelerated. This proved to be challenging and time-consuming. I would do a lot of planning prior to going to compare the syllabi on their website with your home university’s syllabi to see how much they might differ. Even with that preparation, I would recommend taking block courses and/or easier engineering courses.
The language barrier in China is substantial. Most people on the street don’t speak English, and taxi drivers will not. This is a bonus for anyone looking to really improve their Chinese language skills, but if you haven’t studied Chinese before, it can be a challenge getting to know locals and travelling outside the city. However, most infrastructure, at least in Shanghai, has English labeling, which makes travel within the city much easier.

Technology, among other things, is censored rather heavily in China. You’ll likely get a new set of apps that have exclusively Chinese uses, so it may be helpful to get familiar with some of the online landscape of China. I would definitely recommend getting a VPN(Virtual Private Network) for your phone and computer. It will allow you to use websites and apps that are normally inaccessible in China, such as Google(and all its services), Facebook, Wikipedia, among other things.

Overall, my time in China was the experience of a lifetime, and I would totally recommend it!

What would you improve about this program?
I think that getting course information to prospective students earlier would be helpful. It seemed like a bit of a guessing game prior to arrival.
102 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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).
99 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers