• China
    • Shanghai
Fall, Spring, Summer

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
Apr 19, 2021
Feb 10, 2020

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


IES Abroad Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

$500 - $5,000

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.

Program Reviews

9.23 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 84.62%
  • 7-8 rating 15.38%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Academics 7.8
  • Support 8.6
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.4
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 13 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.
6 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.
6 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.
6 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).
5 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
More immersion with locals
5 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
7 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

6 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
More involvement/integration into activities on campus with local students, we felt kind of secluded.
5 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers