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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Shanghai, China
  • Program Terms: Fall, Spring, Year
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: CIEE 
  • Restrictions: WFU applicants only
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2023 10/15/2022 10/15/2022 TBA TBA
Fall 2023 03/15/2023 03/15/2023 TBA TBA
Program Description:
Program Overview
Come apply and advance your Mandarin language skills in one of the most dynamic, rapidly developing cities on earth. Whether you’re a first- or fifth-year student of the language, you’ll have access to intensive, daily Chinese coursework and one-on-one classes that address your individual needs.

Coupling that classwork with structured peer tutorials and language clinics, cultural activities and volunteer opportunities, CIEE study abroad in Shanghai provides you with an exciting and truly immersive international experience.

Study abroad in Shanghai and you will:
  • Enroll in area studies courses related to business, international relations, political science, history, and other aspects of Chinese culture and society taught in English or Chinese
  • Learn outside the classroom through weekend and weeklong excursions “off the tourist track,” and practice Chinese in authentic situations
  • Live with a Chinese host family or on campus with a Chinese roommate

The CIEE Difference


From beginner to superior, you’ll have access to a host of language learning and cultural studies courses that suit your particular interests and skill level. What’s more, you’ll choose from a variety of elective courses, taught in both English and Mandarin, ranging from business and finance to globalization, Chinese history, political science, and film studies. Qualified students may also be eligible for independent research opportunities or internships with local organizations

Cultural Activities

A variety of field trips complement classroom work, including visits to local Chinese companies and factories, government agencies, museums, art exhibitions, and plays. Other group cultural activities include an acrobatics show, river cruise along the Bund, a Chinese and CIEE student talent show, international student sporting events, and group meals with Chinese roommates and families.


Weekend and weeklong trips provide you an opportunity to learn about local culture and traditions in other regions of China. Visit the Forbidden City in Beijing or the Ming Mausoleum in Nanjing. Travel ancient trade routes, tour Hong Kong or Taipei, or spend a week working with a not-for-profit organization helping to improve conditions in an impoverished rural community.

  • Overall GPA 2.75
  • There is no language prerequisite for this program
  • This study abroad program is not designed for native Chinese speakers. Students who are citizens of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan ROC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau should consider the CIEE Business, Language and Culture or China in a Global Context programs in Shanghai instead.

Recommended Credit

Total recommended credit for the semester is 15 semester/22.5 quarter hours, and for the academic year is 30 semester/45 quarter hours. Students with written approval from their home school advisor and the Center Director may take up to an 18 semester/27 quarter hours.

Required Chinese language courses meet for a total of 90 contact hours per course, with a recommended credit of 6 semester/9 quarter hours.

Elective courses in English and Chinese meet for 45 contact hours, with a recommended credit of 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.

The Organizational Internship meets 45 contact hours, with a recommended credit of 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.

Directed Independent Research requires 135 hours of research, with a recommended credit of 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours.

About the City

Shanghai is known for its long history of foreign influence, fashion, and economic prowess, and aims to become a global financial and shipping hub by the year 2020. With a population of 23 million people, Shanghai has seen massive development over the last two decades and the new financial district of Pudong is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. Shanghai’s urban centers are conveniently connected by elevated light rails, the world’s first commercial high-speed Maglev train, and the fastest-growing rapid transit systems in the world.

Where You'll Study

Established in 1951, East China Normal University (ECNU) is one of China’s key institutions of higher learning and the first to specialize in teacher education. ECNU is nationally known for its Chinese language and literature program, and the university enrolls more than 26,000 fulltime students, including 3,700 international students, at its two campuses. The CIEE Study Center is located along the bank of the Liwa River on its downtown Putuo campus, known as the “Garden University” for its beautiful grounds.

Housing & Meals

This study abroad program fosters a Chinese language-only environment. In order to support students to maximize Chinese language proficiency gains, all participants on this program live with Chinese host families or Chinese roommates. Participants select one of two housing options prior to arrival.

Campus Residence Hall with Chinese Roommate—
  • The Campus Residence Hall is a five-story facility located on the ECNU campus that has a common lobby with 24-hour security and laundry facilities. There is a student computer room and study lounge on every other floor, as well as a kitchen and bathrooms on each floor. The residence hall is a 10-minute walk from the CIEE Study Center, and is within walking distance to a light rail and other public transportation. Students are paired with a Chinese student from ECNU. The Chinese roommates are required to speak only Chinese, so this option is recommended for students who wish to live in a more intensive Chinese language environment while remaining nearby other program participants. Meals are not included in this housing option and are the responsibility of the student. Meals are available in the campus cafeterias at a moderate price.

Chinese Host Families—
  • Chinese host families are located 15 - 45 minutes of campus by foot or public transportation. Students have their own room in the host family apartment and share the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Students are invited to most family meals, but should budget for their own lunches, some weekend meals, and most meals during group field trips and individual travel. Chinese family members speak Chinese only. This option is highly recommended for students who want to live in an entirely Chinese language environment and make rapid progress in Chinese language.

The CIEE Shanghai staff strive to match each student based on his or her first preference, not only in terms of their personal lifestyle preferences but also academic, cultural and personal goals.

Housing between fall and spring semesters is included in the academic-year fee. Academic-year participants living with host families may be required to live in a dormitory on campus between semesters.


CIEE has been operating study abroad programs in Shanghai since 1981. Established in 1998, the CIEE Study Center in Shanghai has been hosted by East China Normal University since 2001. The Accelerated Chinese Language program began in spring, 2012, and is designed to provide participants with a strong foundation in Chinese language and help them gain a deeper understanding of China today through intensive Chinese language coursework and cultural immersion, complimented by a wide selection of area studies courses in various disciplines from which to choose.

There is no language prerequisite for this program. The program is open to all levels of language students, from novice students with no previous experience in the language to those with superior level Chinese language proficiency. All students take two accelerated language courses that focus on rapid language acquisition and are designed to move students ahead at least two Chinese language levels in all four Chinese language skills. All students may take up to one elective in English, and students with four or more semesters of previous college level Mandarin Chinese may choose to take a Chinese language elective or area studies course taught in Chinese instead.

Study abroad internships for credit, and opportunities for service learning and community volunteer activities integrate academic learning with practical experience. Extracurricular activities are coordinated by CIEE staff and may include Chinese students and host families to advance understanding of local society and culture.

Academic Culture

Accelerated language courses are very intensive and highly demanding. Students attend required accelerated Chinese language classes Monday through Thursday, from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Language classes are small, with an average of five students, so active participation is very important. Language classes are typically co-taught by head language instructors who introduce new content, and assistant language instructors who focus on accuracy and consistency of pronunciation through daily drills and other activities. In addition students meet weekly with their instructor in one-on-one classes, and with their peer tutors in structured tutorials for a minimum of four hours per week total—more tutorial hours can be arranged upon request.

English language elective courses take place once per week for three hours in the afternoon. Class size ranges from five to 20 students. Chinese language electives meet twice a week for two hours. The average class size is four students. Course related field trips are scheduled on Fridays, and occasionally weekends.

The semester is 15 weeks long including a one week orientation, 12 weeks of instruction, a one week group field trip, a one week program break for independent travel, and, typically, one national holiday.

Nature of Classes

All Chinese language courses and area studies electives are managed by CIEE and specially designed for CIEE study abroad students only. Some area studies courses may include a limited number of ECNU students in order to build more opportunities for cross-cultural and academic exchange between CIEE and host university students.

Grading System

In electives courses, students are generally graded on the basis of exams, homework, participation, and attendance, much like they are in the U.S. Depending on the course, exams, quizzes, research papers, and individual and group oral presentations or projects may be assigned. In the language courses, assessment is based on daily homework and quizzes, written and oral unit tests, and written and oral mid-term and final exams. The following letter grades are assigned: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, D, and F.


Study abroad students participating in the Organizational Internship course will be assigned to an internship project with a company in Shanghai. The internship sponsors, which vary each term depending on participating organizations and available positions, may include local Chinese companies and multinational companies, as well as international small and medium sized enterprises and nonprofit organizations. Course curriculum includes class introduction, placement interview, coached work, and final presentation to earn three academic credits. See the courses section for more detail.