Summer in Shanghai

Our Summer in Shanghai program 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.

Program Terms Summer
Credit Hours 9
Subjects Offered Chinese, Economics, Sociology
Language Pre-Requisites None
Field Components Internships
Housing Shared Apartment with Chinese Roommate or Homestay
Excursions Weekend Excursion
Application Deadlines March 1

All students are encouraged to consider studying abroad for an additional semester in China, whether to deepen their knowledge of Shanghai, or at a different Alliance program center to broaden their understanding of China’s regional diversity.

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 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… enroll in the intensive Chinese language course (9 credits).


ECON 360 China: Economic Giant (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, and 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.

SOCI 260 Chinese Society in the 21st Century (3 credits)

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

INTS 380 Internship (6 credits)

All summer internship students are guaranteed a placement, with the understanding that language ability and other professional competencies will determine the type of internship that is possible for them. Interns are placed in Chinese, joint-venture, or foreign-owned companies and not-for-profit organizations. Interns spend approximately 25 hours per week at the internship site and complete a final academic paper with an accompanying oral presentation. Internships are supervised by a faculty advisor who meets with students at least twice individually and at least three times as a group.

Chinese Language (6 credits)

No prior language study is required. A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student's appropriate language level. 

CHIN 100 Beginning Chinese I
CHIN 101 Beginning Chinese II
CHIN 200 Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN 201 Intermediate Chinese II
CHIN 300 Advanced Chinese I
CHIN 301 Advanced Chinese II
CHIN 400 Advanced Chinese III
CHIN 401 Advanced Chinese IV
CHIN 600 Advanced Readings in Chinese

Intensive Chinese Language (9 credits)

Two semesters of prior Chinese language study are required.

A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student's appropriate language level.

CHIN 200 Intensive Intermediate Chinese I
CHIN 201 Intensive Intermediate Chinese II
CHIN 300 Intensive Advanced Chinese I
CHIN 301 Intensive Advanced Chinese II
CHIN 400 Intensive Advanced Chinese III
CHIN 401 Intensive Advanced Chinese IV
CHIN 600 Advanced Readings in Chinese

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. For more information, see the Shanghai Internship Handbook.

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. 

Featured Internship Placement

Flora Chen (University of Minnesota Twin Cities)

"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

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 Shu 
ECON 360 China: Economic Giant

Dr. TONG Chunyang 
INTS 380 Internship

Dr. ZHU Jianfeng 
SOCI 260 Chinese Society in the 21st Century

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 Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 each student’s responsibility to work with the home school study abroad advisor and 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 University’s Undergraduate Academic Programs Committee. 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 in China Program—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 taken while enrolled on an Alliance program. Withdrawals 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 is as follows:

Excellent      A 93-100% Acceptable C+ 77-79%
A- 90-92% C 73-76%
C- 70-72%
Good    B+ 87-89% Unsatisfactory D+ 67-69%
B 83-86% D 63-66%
B- 80-82% D- 60-62%
Failing F < 60%


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. Please use this form if Alliance has accepted you into a program and you have changed your home, school, or billing address. Federal regulations require official documentation and a signature for address changes.

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.

Students in Alliance programs from Summer 2014 and beyond 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. 

For all Alliance programs through Spring 2014, transcripts were issued by Arcadia University. Students enrolled during that time can request additional copies of transcripts online or in writing from the Arcadia University Registrar's Office.

If you have a question about the transcripting process or timeline, please contact your Academic Records Coordinator.

Academic Calendar

  • Summer 2015 term: June 17 - August 17
  • Summer 2016 term: June 15 - August 13

The Alliance orientation is mandatory. You should make your travel plans accordingly. More details can be found in the Pre-Departure Information 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.

2016 Summer Shanghai Program Calendar

  • Suggested flight departure: June 14
  • Arrival in Shanghai: June 15
  • Orientation: June 16-18
  • Classes begin: June 20
  • Field Study Trip*: July 8-10
  • Independent Travel Long-Weekend*: July 22-24
  • Final exams: August 10-12
  • Program ends (students must depart by 12:00pm): August 13

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

Program Fees

Summer 2016 Program   $ 7,200


The program cost includes tuition and fees, housing, pre-departure materials and advising, student visa authorization documents, orientation, organized activities, course materials, the services of a full-time resident staff, medical and evacuation insurance, and a three-day field study trip.

what's not included

The program price does not include airfare to China, the cost of your student visa, meals, transportation, phone and internet, deposits required for local services, independent travel, and other items not mentioned as included.

out of pocket expenses

When making your budget, think about your spending habits – are you a “Just the Essentials” Traveler, happy to eat all meals at the campus canteen and exploring the city on foot? Or are you more of the “Everything Extra” Traveler, who wants to experience everything – nights out at the clubs, shopping at boutiques, and traveling every weekend?

Estimated Out of Pocket Expenses for One Summer

Roundtrip airfare to China $ 1,300-1,800
Visa processing and shipping $ 260
Meals $ 400-600
Local transportation (varies by distance) $ 300-600
Phone usage (varies with data plan) $ 30
Internet usage $ 20
Incidentals and personal care items $ 30
Independent weekend travel $ 100-400
Entertainment $ 100-400
Estimated Total $ 2,540-4,140

*Estimated in-country expenses based on 1.00 US Dollar = 6.49 Yuan Renminbi


Remember to check in with your home university and visit our Finances pages to learn more about financial aid and study abroad scholarships.


The Alliance encourages students to enroll for more than one term and to consider studying abroad with more than one Alliance program. 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.

Our Shanghai program center sits just around the corner from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE), within the center of Shanghai’s university district. Meet our on-site staff!


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. 

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

View Alliance On Location: Shanghai in a larger map.

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.

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