• About this Program
    • Program Overview
    • On Location in Shanghai
  • Academics
    • Summer Curriculum
    • Faculty
    • Credits, Grades, and Transcripts
  • Field Component
    • Summer Internships
  • Calendar and Fees
    • Academic Calendar
    • Program Fees
  • Daily Life
    • Student Housing
    • Chinese Roommates
    • Intensive Student Homestays
    • Food and Meals
  • Activities and Excursions
    • Extra-Curricular Classes
    • Local Field Visits
    • Field Study Trip
  • Already Accepted?
    • Already Accepted?
  • Photos

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Summer in Shanghai

Program Overview

This 9-credit curriculum is designed to provide students with an immersive experience in Chinese language or within the Chinese workplace, contextualized through the study of contemporary Chinese society or economy. Students have the opportunity to tailor their summer in Shanghai to focus on building practical skills and knowledge related to their own interests in Chinese language, culture, and society.


  • 3.0 GPA minimum
  • Enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at an accredited U.S. institution

Although no prior study of Chinese is required, students’ Chinese language proficiency may affect their internship placements. The internship field in China’s large cities is highly competitive and the number of available placements is limited.

Academic Structure

For a total of 9 credits in the summer term, students customize their academic curriculum from the following options:

  • English-taught core courses
  • Internship
  • Chinese language
  • Intensive Chinese language

Classes are offered exclusively for Alliance students. Chinese language course placement is contingent upon the results of a placement exam after arrival in China. Language classes average 6-8 students per class and are taught by full-time language faculty selected and trained by the Alliance. Area studies courses are taught by faculty from various universities in Shanghai.

On Location in Shanghai

Shanghai offers students an unparalleled opportunity to experience China in a city undergoing economic rebirth and revitalization. Shanghai is the place to be to witness the economic and socio-cultural transformations of modern China (as well as to observe the disparities that remain). Shanghai has traditionally been one of the most important financial and business centers of Asia, and is becoming known as "the Wall Street of the East". After the Second World War and the establishment of the People's Republic of China, foreign investment was discouraged. Today, however, Shanghai is again a multinational hub of finance and business and one of the world's major financial centers.

Check out this interactive map of the Alliance's resources across Shanghai:

View Alliance On Location: Shanghai in a larger map.

Shanghai is a remarkable phenomenon in the evolution of global metropolises today. There is no place like this once sleepy fishing town which has become the largest city in China and the country's most important commercial, financial, and industrial center. One must experience Shanghai to begin to comprehend this diverse and constantly changing nation. Pudong (in eastern Shanghai) was the site of the 2010 World Expo. The entire city is still buzzing with excitement about welcoming 73 million domestic and international visitors.


The Shanghai programs are located just outside of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics’ (SUFE) main campus within the center of Shanghai’s university district. The neighborhood is lined with numerous small shops and restaurants to serve the transient student population. Within two blocks of student housing, you can find many small shops and cafes as well as the cuisines of Xinjiang, Hunan, Sichuan, Korea, Japan, Mexico, the U.S.A., and more. Several parks and recreational facilities located on campus just blocks from students’ dorms serve as great places for Chinese and international students alike to study, relax, or play frisbee.

Just a short distance from campus is Wujiaochang (五角场), a long-standing commercial node that has undergone a dramatic makeover in recent years. Today you will find two large shopping malls with scores of shops and restaurants of all kinds, including electronics, books, clothing, a movie theater, KTV, numerous bakeries, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Watson’s, and a Shanghai No. 1 Food Mart. You’ll also find H&M, Haagen Daz, and Sephora all in a row, as well as The Bank of China, ICBC, and ATM machines for China Construction Bank, Merchants Bank, and others. You can explore beyond this area’s student hangouts and cultural activities by easily catching metro line 10 downtown at Wujiaochang to experience the rest of what this exciting metropolis has to offer.

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

The Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (上海财经大学), founded in 1917, is a multi-dimensional university with a core focus on applied economics and management and offering majors in law, philosophy, as well as humanities. SUFE, home to 24,000 students on two campuses, is administered by the Chinese Ministry of Education and has recently been selected as one of the "21st Century's Key Universities in China." It is the number one ranked finance and economics university in China.

Summer Curriculum

Customize your academic experience to make the most of your time in China: select 9 credits of classes focused on your unique interests. Immerse yourself in Chinese language study, spend the summer interning, or focus on language and culture studies.

  • If Chinese language and culture ignite your interest… enroll in an Alliance core course (3 credits) and non-intensive Chinese language (6 credits).
  • If you want to gain work experience and boost your resume… enroll in an Alliance core course (3 credits) and an internship (6 credits).
  • If you want to rapidly improve your language skills or fulfill degree requirements in foreign language… enroll in the intensive Chinese language course (9 credits).


Click hyperlinked course titles to view syllabi

ECON360 China: Economic Giant (6 hours/week, 3 credits)

The course provides an interpretative survey of China's emergence as a global economic power. The phenomenal changes in the Chinese economy over recent decades are highlighted against the background of the pre-reform era. Aspects of quantitative development are related to the radical reforms adopted since 1978. Students discuss major policy issues encountered by the Chinese government in sustaining high-speed economic growth without instability. Students also explore China’s pursuit of full integration into the global free trade system. Particular emphasis is placed on the contributions of Shanghai and the Yangtze River delta, the single most important economic and financial hub of China.

SOCI260 Chinese Society in the 21st Century (6 hours/week, 3 credits)

This course examines the transformation in Chinese society since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 with emphasis on the changes brought about in the wake of the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. Topics include the developments in urban and rural social transformation introduced by the reforms, the changing relationship between the individual and society, the urban/rural divide, and population control and the one child policy. Students explore the social consequences of China's rapid integration into the global economy.

INTS380 Internship (25 hours/week, 6 credits)

Students participate in a 6-credit internship throughout the summer. Interns are placed in Chinese, joint-venture, or foreign-owned companies, research and government organizations, NGOs, or media and art studios. Interns work roughly 25 hours per week at the internship site and complete a research project that includes a 3-5,000 word paper and oral presentation. Internships are supervised by faculty advisor who meets regularly with each student both in groups and individually. Although no prior study of Chinese is required, students’ Chinese language proficiency may affect their internship placements. This field component involves a minimum of 200 contact hours.

Chinese Language (15 hours/week, 6 credits)

No prior language study is required for admission. Upon taking a placement exam after arrival, students will be placed into the appropriate language level. All courses emphasize listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Alliance programs teach Simplified Chinese Characters, which are standardized Chinese characters officially used in mainland China. Click here to view a full listing of textbooks and lessons by Alliance program and course.

Intensive Chinese Language (21 hours/week, 9 credits)

Two semesters of prior Chinese language study are required for admission. Upon taking a placement exam after arrival, students will be placed into the appropriate language level. All courses teach listening, speaking, reading, and writing and include opportunities for practical language application outside the classroom. Alliance programs teach Simplified Chinese Characters, which are standardized Chinese characters officially used in mainland China. Click here to view a full listing of textbooks and lessons by Alliance program and course.


Language classes taught by full-time language faculty selected and trained by the Alliance. Area studies courses are taught by faculty from various universities in Shanghai. 

Dr. Keng ShuECON 360: China: Economic Giant

Dr. Tong ChunyangECON 360: China: Economic Giant INTS 380: Internship

Dr. Zhu Jianfeng, SOCI 260: Chinese Society in the 21st Century

Credits, Grades, and Transcripts

Credits, Grades, and Transcripts

A study abroad experience is first and foremost an academic experience. All Alliance for Global Education courses have undergone a faculty review and approval process, and are transcripted by an accredited U.S. university. For all Alliance programs through Spring 2014, transcripts are issued by Arcadia University. For Summer 2014 programs and beyond, transcripts are issued by Butler University.   

While in most cases students who have received approval from their home institution to study on an Alliance program can be assured of credits transferring, it is a student’s responsibility to work with their study abroad or academic advisor and home school faculty or academic departments to ensure credit transfer for specific courses.  

Credits and Accreditation

Credits granted for Alliance courses are identified in course listings on the Curriculum page for each program, and appear on the official transcript issued at the completion of a student's term. Credit is issued in U.S. semester hours, ensuring that students continue to make progress toward their degrees and verifying the full-time course load they completed while abroad.

All Alliance courses have been reviewed and approved by Butler or Arcadia University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. Arcadia University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Butler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Programs approved by the Butler University College of Business—which include the Alliance’s International Business Program in Shanghai—are accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Students receive a letter grade on a scale from A to F for every course they take while enrolled on an Alliance program. Withdrawals (W) may be granted due to exceptional circumstances. Although policies at students' home institutions may differ, the Alliance does not permit students to take courses on a credit/no credit or pass/fail basis. Student grades are determined by criteria set forth in course syllabi.  

The grading scale used in determining letter grades for Alliance courses is as follows:


At the conclusion of a program, an official transcript is sent to the participant's home school, with an unofficial copy forwarded to the participant. 

Because timelines for final evaluation may vary due to respective program calendars or administrative structures of partner universities abroad, transcripts may take longer to issue than they do at U.S. institutions. While the timeline varies by program, a general timeline for issuing transcripts is:

·        Fall programs - transcript issued in late February

·        Spring and Summer programs - transcript issued in late September

Transcripts are not released for students with an outstanding balance of program fees or other charge incurred while on the program. Students enrolling in consecutive terms with the Alliance do not receive their first term transcript until their second term fees are paid in full.

Participants in Alliance programs through Spring 2014 can request additional copies of transcripts online or in writing at any time from the Arcadia University Registrar's Office.

Participants in Alliance programs beginning Summer 2014 can request additional transcripts of their transcripts online at any time from Butler University's online transcript ordering service provided by the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit organization serving the higher education community. 

If you have a question about the transcripting process or timeline, please feel free to contact your Student Services Manager.

Summer Internships

In Shanghai, students have the opportunity to participate in a 6-credit internship at sites that may include Chinese and foreign businesses, NGOs, and government organizations. Students are not required to have experience in Chinese language, but will find that proficiency may limit placement opportunities. Students will be expected to complete the academic requirements of their internship to receive credit.

GETTING AN INTERNSHIP: The Alliance makes every effort to place student interns at companies or organizations that match the organization’s needs with what each student brings to the table - including but not limited to the student’s Chinese language level and communication skills, prior experience, and work competencies. Students should not contact organizations themselves. The placement process begins with the submission of the Field Component Form during the program application process, and placements are typically finalized after an in-person interview in China. 

For more information, see the Shanghai Internship Handbook.

Featured Internship Placement

Flora Chen (University of Minnesota)

"I interned with Avenues Shanghai while studying abroad in Shanghai. Avenues Shanghai specializes in manufacturing and selling backpacks, suitcases, and laptop cases. I worked in sales and helped my supervisor devise and edit advertisements for some of their products. Since I was born and raised in America, he believed that I possessed a different way of viewing a product or advertisement, and often asked my opinion. I also was tasked with researching the current state of Chinese  e-commerce. Chinese online marketplaces such as Taobao, Yixun, and are some of Avenues' most important ways to sell. I also researched competitors' products, sales numbers, reviews, and advertisements.  

During my internship, I looked more deeply at the Chinese online marketplace. It's such a booming factor in China's economy so being able to work with it firsthand was cool – for example, I learned that Taobao is actually a C2C marketplace. I had always thought of it as a B2C, similar to"    

Sample of Past Shanghai Internships

  • Shanghai Tonghe Industrial & Trade Development Co., Ltd, the not-for-profiteconomic development bureau of Baoshan District Government
  • Chi Heng Foundation, a Hong Kong based NGO that focuses its work on supporting education and training for children and families impacted by HIV/AIDS
  • Pactera (formerly VanceInfo Technologies Inc.), an IT and software development firm consulting for finance, technology, telecommunications, transportation, manufacturing and retail
  • Image Tunnel, a studio located in Shanghai’s Contemporary Arts District that is devoted to recording the changes in the city and promoting the culture in Shanghai
  • Merck Chemicals China, global chemical company offering specialty products for electronics, printing, coatings, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and biotech industries
  • Forte, Inc., a residential real estate subsidiary of Fosun, Inc., Shanghai’s largest privately owned company
  • CITS, New Shanghai International Travel Service Co., Ltd, China’s largest travel services agency
  • City Weekend Magazine, a print and online magazine under Ringier, a Swiss-based multinational media company
  • Pramex International, a subsidiary of BPCE International et Outre-mer, the leading French consulting firm for international development and transactions
  • Austen Morris Associates, an international financial planning and wealth management firm headquartered in Shanghai

Academic Calendar

Summer 2015 term: June 17 - August 17

The Alliance orientation is mandatory. You should make your travel plans accordingly. More details can be found in the Accepted Students: Travel Arrangements section.

Given the program’s busy academic schedule, weekly local activities, and excursions, the Alliance strongly discourages students from hosting visitors until the end of the term. Please encourage family and/or friends to visit after the program has ended.

2015 Summer Shanghai Program Calendar

  • Suggested flight departure: June 16
  • Arrival in Shanghai: June 17
  • Orientation: June 18-21
  • Classes begin: June 22
  • Field Study Trip*: TBD
  • Students may depart: August 15
  • Students must move out of housing (by 12 noon): August 17

* Organized trip dates are subject to change at any time.

Program Fees

Summer 2015 Program   $ 7,200


The program cost includes tuition and fees, pre-departure materials, guidance with applying for a visa, orientation, housing, weekly activities, all textbooks, the services of a full-time Resident Director, medical and evacuation insurance, and a three-day field study trip. 

The program price does not include airfare to China, meals, passport and visa fees, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included. 

Our breakdown of summer 2015 program fees includes an itemized list of additional expenses students may encounter abroad.


The Alliance encourages students to enroll for more than one term and to consider studying with more than one Alliance program. Some students choose to spend fall term in one location and spring term in another. Others continue in our summer term after completing spring. Students who continue into a second term with the Alliance receive a $500 discount on the program fee for the second term. All combinations (two semesters, semester plus summer, two semesters plus summer) are possible.

Student Housing

Students who are not enrolled in the Intensive Chinese Language option live in Tonghe International Apartments, down the street from the Wudong Road gate of the university and a 10-15 minute walk from area studies course classrooms.

The two bedroom apartments are shared by one Alliance student and one local university student, while three bedroom apartments are shared by two Alliance students and one local university student. Students who enroll in non-intensive Chinese language will automatically be matched with a Chinese roommate, while students who choose the internship will have the option to request a Chinese roommate.

The apartments include a bathroom, kitchen, and a furnished bedroom with desk, desk lamp, closet space, and a remote control heating/air-conditioning unit. The bedrooms also include sheets, pillows, and a comforter. Towels are not provided. The furnished common areas include a TV, filtered water dispenser, refrigerator, and stove-top gas burners or a hotplate in the kitchen. Some apartments also have a small washing machine. Filtered water is replenished at student expense (12 RMB/$1.80 per tank) with the help of the Tonghe front desk staff. No kitchen utensils or other supplies are provided. During orientation all students are required to pay a 500 RMB (approximately $74 US dollars) housing deposit. If there is no damage to the room at the end of the program, this deposit will be refunded in full. Internet is available in each apartment for purchase (89 RMB/$14 per month) via the Tonghe front desk.

Chinese Roommates

A distinct feature of the Summer in Shanghai program is the chance to share a double room with a local Chinese university student. This offers the opportunity for non-Intensive Language Alliance students to get to know Chinese students on campus quickly and to engage in language and cultural exchange with their new friends. Chinese roommates are invited to attend many of the organized activities. Former Alliance students consistently rate this experience as one of their favorite program features.

Students who enroll in non-intensive Chinese language will automatically be matched with a Chinese roommate, while students who choose the internship will have the option to request a Chinese roommate.

Intensive Student Homestays

All students studying Intensive Chinese Language are required to live with a host family. Other students who have completed at least two semesters of Chinese may also be eligible for the homestay option.

In homestays students gain an in-depth understanding of Chinese family dynamics and traditions through sharing meals and participating in other family activities.

Homestays provide students with an excellent opportunity to develop a more intimate understanding of Chinese culture and language through discussing and witnessing topics on Chinese culture, tradition and social life raised in the classroom with locals working and living in Beijing up close. Moreover, students who choose this option find countless opportunities to improve their Chinese language skills.

Certain meals are provided by students’ host families. See the Food and Meals section for more information on which meals are included in the program fee.

Food and Meals

Students not pursuing the Intensive Chinese Language option are responsible for providing their own meals. Many students eat in the new cafeteria on campus. Meals are inexpensive (about $1-3 per meal). Many students also eat in local restaurants, especially those on the street adjacent to the campus. Students should budget $10 per day for meals, which will allow them to eat some meals off campus at local restaurants if desired.

Students enrolled in the Intensive Chinese Language option are provided breakfast and dinner by their Chinese host families, while students are responsible for their own lunches throughout the week. Host families provide all three meals on the weekends unless students attend organized excursions or choose not to dine with the family due to other plans.

Vegetarians will find that good food is available in China. Most restaurants serve lots of vegetables, tofu dishes, and staples such as rice, noodles, or dumplings. Note that some restaurants may use animal fat in preparing dishes.

Extra-Curricular Classes

The Alliance arranges extra-curricular classes which may include Chinese painting, calligraphy, cooking, taiji or other martial arts, pottery, seal carving, or paper cutting. These classes offer a wonderful opportunity to learn more about traditional Chinese culture.

Internship students will have the option to take Survival Chinese classes as an extra-curricular. These classes will equip students with the basics for navigating the city and a Chinese workplace. 

Local Field Visits

Throughout the term, students are invited to take part in a full schedule of excursions, events and lectures designed to enhance their understanding of China and the historical and modern influences that impact its culture and people. Students explore the famous sites of Shanghai including Yuyuan Park, the historic Bund along the Huangpu River, and the former French concession. Field visits may also include cultural performances, museum visits, special lectures, and opportunities to meet locals, including students from other campuses. To complement the international business curriculum, the Alliance arranges a series of visits to Chinese, joint-venture, and foreign-owned enterprises, allowing students to better understand the local business environment. Below is a sampling of activities from previous semesters. Specific activities for future terms are subject to change.

Company Visit to Sigma Group in Baoshan District

Sigma's aluminum alloy exports represent 50% of China's total aluminum alloy exports, and 40% of China's aluminum alloy exports to Japan. With the rapid development of China's automobile market, Sigma's domestic sales have also increased at a rapid pace. Sigma has the highest domestic sales volume out of China's secondary aluminum smelters. Students visited the company and each were given a copy of the New Yorker magazine article in which Sigma Group and its CEO Tony Huang were prominently featured. Tony personally hosted the excursion, led students on a tour of the processing facility and shared his insights in a Q&A session.

Weekend Trip to Shaoxing City

Students on the Shaoxing City trip have the opportunity to visit two textile factories and Asia's largest textile market. Students also paddle down one of Shaoxing's historical canals, visited Lu Xun's boyhood home and school, and picked tea at a tea farm.

Propaganda Poster Art Centre

Founder and owner Mr. Yang Peiming hosted the tour of the facilities and provided an introduction to his poster collection. Participants of this activity included SUFE students and their Chinese roommates. For more information on the Propaganda Poster Art Centre, please visit

Visit to Baosteel in Baoshan District

Students participated in a site visit to the largest iron and steel conglomerate in China. Baosteel is the sixth-largest steel producer in the world with revenues of $21.5 billion.

Lecture/Discussion: "Adapting to China's Business and Financial Practices"

The engaging lecture and Q&A session was led by Daniel Drescher, Alliance alum and 2008 graduate of University of Florida; Li Qi, Managing Director, Prosperity Assets Management Company and former Assistant Vice President, Golden Brilliant Investment Holding Company; and Wang Xumin, former Investment Director, Prosperity Assets Management, Ltd.

Documentary/Discussion: "Art, Economics, and Shanghai's Urban Redevelopment Politics"

The artist, and voice behind the M50 (Moganshan Lu) Studio and Contemporary Art Gallery District, presented her documentary on the making of the M50 district; an exploration of contemporary art, urban redevelopment, and social transformation.

Field Study Trip

A three-day field study trip exposes students to China’s social, economic, geographic, and linguistic diversity outside of the international megacity of Shanghai. This exposure coupled with the opportunity to practice their Mandarin in areas with regional and ethnic inflections to the Chinese language endows students with a richly textured sense of the many realities that exist within China.

The location of the three-day summer field study trip varies each year. Destinations may include Nanjing, Suzhou, Qufu, or Beijing.

Already Accepted?

Visit the Accepted Students section