• China
    • Shanghai
Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Asian Studies Business Cultural Studies Economics Finance History International Business Marketing Political Science
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Apr 08, 2024
May 17, 2018
16 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The Shanghai program is ideal for students who are interested in studying the economic and business environment of China and East Asia. Once a sleepy fishing town, Shanghai is now the hallmark of China’s booming economy. It is the perfect place for you to learn about the business environment of East Asia and study Chinese language. Mandarin is the official/standard dialect used in China, and Shanghai is a great place to practice it outside of class. While learning Chinese language and business logistics during the week, you will be able to take in dozens of art exhibitions, sport competitions, movies, museums, musical events, nightclubs, and more.

The Shanghai program offers an intensive language approach that allows you to complete up to one year of university foreign language coursework in only one semester. You may combine courses from the following subject areas: International Business and Intensive Chinese Language. Field trips and optional tours are also available.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ Support

There are LGBTQIA+ friends, colleagues, and allies throughout the world. However, cultural understanding of gender identity and sexuality does vary from country to country. USAC has compiled a lot of resources to help you through that learning process.

Accessibility Support

USAC is dedicated to working closely with students with disabilities to ensure the best study abroad experience possible. You may request reasonable accommodations after your initial application is complete. We routinely receive requests for scheduling, material, and environmental accommodations for the classroom setting, which may include assistive technology, scribes and readers, printed material, and interpretation.



Environmentally-conscious students choose USAC because many of our programs are held in some of the most sustainable countries in the world. There are options to take coursework in sustainability and the environment, as well as field trips and studies where students can leave a lasting impact on their host country.

Program Highlights

  • Choose from multiple levels of Mandarin Chinese—an increasingly important language in today’s global society
  • Explore the city’s sophistication, fine arts, spectacular museums, culinary fusion, and world-class entertainment
  • Gain international business experience—300 of the world’s Fortune 500 companies have a major presence
  • Enjoy overnight trips to the beautiful Yangzi River Delta—picturesque Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Suzhou—and the exotic water village of Xitang
  • Kick-start your career with the Shanghai Summer Professional Development Internship

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates

Program Reviews

4.77 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • 5 rating 84.62%
  • 4 rating 7.69%
  • 3 rating 7.69%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.25
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.4
  • Housing 4.3
  • Safety 4.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 13 reviews
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Fun and safety concern

I was very proud to have studied abroad in Shanghai, China and met very good advisors such back in spring of 2016. However, the fun and safety doesn't really rank the highest. There were a problems during my study abroad there, people didn't get to really meet each other and off for themselves. Also, several of my friends had lost their phones, money, and going everywhere that has ripped my friends off. My roommate is also puking several times after a late night out bar and entering the dorms at 3 am or later.

What would you improve about this program?
Students need to learn and attend class the next day, so they need to be in the rooms by midnight.
118 people found this review helpful.
Response from USAC

Hi Steven,
Thank you for your feedback regarding the Shanghai program. We do our best to prepare our students for studying abroad regarding safety and student conduct. Students are given information in the Study Abroad Toolkit regarding both student conduct (prohibiting drug and alcohol abuse) and also regarding safety abroad, specifically keeping their possessions safe. This information is repeated in the Program Agreement and again in our Health and Safety videos during orientation. The orientation also covers this topic through discussion with the Resident Director and in their orientation manual. However, once students are abroad we are unable to control their daily actions. I have shared your feedback with the appropriate team members.
Thank you,

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best choice for study abroad

I enjoyed Shanghai. I can get a sense of international presence while at China. Also we meet both locals and foreign residents. So we can get a sense of diversity. It’s major city of commerce at Chinese. There are many different dining options, so we can have both Chinese and Western food. Transportation is convenient, so the metro can bring us everywhere we go. There are few downsides. The internet is both restricted and slow. Some people lack manners such as spitting on the streets. Also Shanghai’s environment still has room to improve. Other than that, most of my experience is positive.

123 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

What an Experience!

My experience in China was like no other. I could not have asked for a better group of USAC students and program mentors. Living abroad can be quite difficult and stressful, but having the right program supervisors and friends you met abroad can make all the difference. China itself is a whirl wind that you never really get use to, but you grow to love. After returning home from a six month trip I missed everything about China. I was pretty home sick at times when I was there, but looking back now I wish I would of tried harder to not worry about home and just enjoy the moment. It all goes by so fast. My suggestion to future participants is to take a breathe, enjoy every moment, and take tons of pictures! Also have fun and don't let the little things detour you from having the best time.

What would you improve about this program?
The only recommendation I have for the program is there should be more group trips. The group trips were some of my greatest memories.
123 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best of both Worlds

Shanghai is a really unique place to study abroad. Half is very immersive into Chinese culture while the other half of the city is very international, with a lot of expats. Living in Shanghai is pretty cheap and there's tons of fun things to do. It's also a really good place to work on your future careers, a lot of international business connections there, and I was even able to tutor Chinese to earn extra cash while there. China is great because even with such a large city it's super safe overall. You definitely have to get used to some pollution and heavy crowds while there, and it's really cold in the winter. It's not quite picturesque get away, more for people who want to experience a big city, and/or get into international business.

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

Shanghai, China - USAC

I studied abroad with USAC in Shanghai, China, during the summer of 2015. It was the best experience of my life. The USAC resident director and assistant director at Shanghai University were excellent at educating us about Shanghai and helping us navigate the city. They made us feel prepared and safe to go venture out on our own. The academics were also top quality. They made learning Mandarin fun and stimulating. My business course and Tai Chi course were also challenging and satisfying. Shanghai is a very exciting place to be. Out of the other countries I have visited, China is my favorite, and Shanghai is the main reason. There are numerous places to go, things to do and see, people to meet, etc. It is a very global city. I met people from all over the world. It was an experience I'll never forget. Thanks to USAC, the study abroad experience went smoothly. The living arrangements, instructions and resources for the area, the education, and the weekend trips were more than I could ask for. I am very impressed with this program, and so happy I chose Shanghai!

What would you improve about this program?
I think the program is excellent the way it is.
122 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Greatest Experience of My Life

Prior to studying abroad in Shanghai, China, with the program called USAC, I have never been out of the country. However, the staff of the program were extremely helpful and super friendly. They have given me all of the materials needed for me to arrive safely such as the following: the address to my hostel (at the time, my dormitory was being renovated), the address to their office in the other dormitory, the number to contact in case of emergency, and etc. The day after my arrival, one of the USAC assistant/Chinese professor had assisted me in getting familiar with the campus and Shanghai overall. Due to this, not only did I gain a professor, but also someone that I looked up to. Before arriving in China, I had this imagination that the staff and professors were going to be with me throughout my duration, but I am grateful that they allowed us to venture off alone with friends or by ourselves especially during the holidays. If we were to go outside of Shanghai, they would tell us the importance of letting them know when we would arrive to our destination and when we would come back. This prove to me how caring they are and that they wanted to make sure that nothing dangerous had happened to us. Also during the excursions, we had the opportunity to go with or not go with them. This allowed us to essentially dictate our own life abroad. Since I've came back from my time studying abroad, I was given the privilege to share my experience with students whom are also thinking of studying abroad as well as making new friends and memories with people.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish the program gave us more opportunities to learn about the instruments. We've only done this once, but it would have been amazing to have another session. Also if they had a class specifically for it, that would be even better.
130 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Through the Lens of Life & Death: Post-Traumatic Growth through USAC

Time abroad speaks through me in soft ways, like I’ve awakened a secret power within, which I can never lay to rest.

I light up when people ask about my time abroad. I’m humbled and astonished that so many remember my social media stories from the summer.

My Chinese friends call and we talk. I see my content resurface some days. Peers from my USAC groups and I recount memories like they were yesterday. When I talk to other friends who studied abroad, we’ve all new insights after our lives across the world.

Back in America, I’ll sometimes absentmindedly read Chinese off menus and signs that I never before I realized had Chinese characters. Even while seeing things as simple as sidewalks, I flashback to the way paths were wider in China.

The trauma of losing my mother left me still trying to piece together who I was, who people admired me for before the accident. Shanghai was my cradle, I realize when I look back at my life abroad. The ‘me’ I was in that city seeded the ‘me’ I am today. Who I was before, I still search for.

At the University, I frequent the Newman Center to rest. Catholicism and traditional Chinese conveniently share beliefs about death. Some nights, waking on the floor where my bed lies, I feel saddened I’ll never be able to tell Mother in-person about all I learned in China, not just about our family but about her. I often consider Mom’s values in my decisions and find myself still coming to terms with her. By the end of 2017, I’m ready for life’s next step. But placing my final photos into this book on my last day compiling, I realized — it's all real.

Everything I saw, everyone I met, every word I said was real, and all of those experiences are part of me now.

Who I was abroad and who I am now are the same: changed. I aspire during December 2018 to conduct my Honors thesis research in China, focused on Catholic media. Between juggling projects this semester, I’ve begun contacting people about options to consider. I may return to the subject in graduate school, possibly abroad again. I sincerely hope all who have the opportunity to go abroad to see a country of ancestry will.

Ultimately, I want to help people through this story. I want people to share the things that move them, that help them reimagine their lives for the better. I hope this especially for the memoir I write of discovering my mother through family.

One of the most special changes in my life has been my ability to relate more deeply with Chinese people, new friends and old.

Exactly one month after I reached America from the Pacific, I saw the Atlantic. On a surprise trip to Yale University for a conference the fall after China, I saw two of my favorite classmates I hadn’t been with since high school graduation. Coincidentally, both women were Chinese. My mom would have felt elated, I’m sure. They showed me their campus and took me to eat and introduced me to people as their high school friend the way that students I met in China had called me their foreign friend. I felt moved in ways I could scarcely describe. Even trips across the United States prod in me the twinge of magic I felt across the world.

I no longer look at myself as simply “Asian-American” — I’m Chinese.

What would you improve about this program?
A little more description up front that if we want to learn more, we just have to be a little assertive :)
107 people found this review helpful.
Beijing Boi
Yes, I recommend this program

From the Great South Land to Shanghai

Coming from Australia, the first thing I noticed about Shanghai (or China, in general) was the sheer amount of people. To give people a sense of scale, there are 23 million people in Australia. There are 24 million in Shanghai alone.

I live out in state park, surrounded by green trees and the constant threat of wildfires or kangaroos blocking the road. I go out into Melbourne city on the weekends but not even that prepared me for the sheer enormity of buildings and the scale of population. I did spend my first couple of weeks adjusting by making frequent trips to parks and finding as much as a green as I could. Eventually I adjusted to the concrete jungle that was Shanghai and fell in love with the city.

In terms of the university, Shanghai University Yanchang campus is located on the most popular train line, right outside of an international plaza and just next to one of the best dumpling shops I've ever been to (more on that later). The classes run by USAC were fun, exciting and always a great time to practice Chinese. I was involved in the Intermediate Language, Tai Chi, and Chinese Politics class, all of which were led by great teachers. The dorms were American style (well according to the Americans) and really well furnished.

Bringing it back to food, nothing amazed me more than how cheap food was and how great it was. In the mornings, I would get up, take a short walk down the street to a food vendor and by a Jianbing (Chinese Pancake), which would cost me a dollar and fill me up for the morning. I did this every morning after I discovered this place. For lunch, I had the opportunity to get cheap food from the local cafeteria, or just down the straight at various food places around the university. For dinner, I would often journey into the CBD (downtown) with some of the other USAC students, and we would journey to hot pot, xiao long bao, yum cha, all types of restaurants. If we were feeling a little homesick, there were western style restaurants (including an amazing New York-style pizza joint) as well as starbucks and mcdonalds everywhere.

But food wasn't the only reason I travelled around. On some weekends I made trips around Shanghai or even to another province (Hangzhou was amazing!). USAC also provided many other travel opportunities, allowing me to go to Xi'an, Xitang and Yangzhou with USAC. China has two main holiday weeks, Spring Festival and Autumn Festival. Me and one other USACer spent our Autumn festival in the province of Chengdu, famous for pandas and spicy food. Travelling around China is a worthwhile experience and there is so much more when you are outside of Shangai!

All in all, the experience was amazing. Even those who didn't speak any Chinese when they first go to China were really good when they left and as someone who knew a bit the trip really helped me improve my language and my cultural understanding. I would recommend this journey to anyone and everyone, especially anyone interested in learning Chinese.

What would you improve about this program?
Classes could start an hour later but everything else is well done.
111 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers