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The Alliance in Shanghai: International Business in China

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Shanghai with Alliance is a great idea!

The International Business program in Shanghai was a balanced combination of all the things I personally was looking for before going abroad. I needed academic rigor as well as cultural immersion which I both found with the Alliance program in Shanghai. As an Economics major, I wanted to make sure that I could actually take Econ related classes that I can credit for and that will contribute positively to my academic career. The housing was perfect as it was so close to the University. The apartment was great and spacious with 3 bedrooms, a common area, a bathroom and a Kitchen. We were assigned Chinese roommates which was great because that way, even during the days where I had a lot of work and was constantly surrounded by people from my program, I would still practice my Chinese and chat with my roommate either in the morning or before going to be. That was very helpful as I got to meet some of her friends and learned so much about their lifestyles. The location of the university and the apartment was great too, close to a wide range of food places, not too expensive. It also provided many opportunities for cultural immersion and language practice.
In general, Shanghai is an amazing city with boundless opportunities for learning and discovering new things. I absolutely loved my time there with Alliance!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

A Well-Fueled, Tested, Modernized Machine

My semester abroad with Alliance in Shanghai is best described as an irreplaceable experience! The Alliance professors, staff members, international students and Chinese students whom I saw on a regular basis made my semester abroad successful, endearing, memorable and irreplaceable. The connections I've made with other students, my Chinese roommate and language partners are long-lasting and sincere; relations that were often nurtured by Alliance's orientation, trips and general program organization. I learned a great deal from spending time with so many students who have different backgrounds and come from different parts of the US, if not the world. I particularly liked how the three Shanghai programs (Intensive Language, 21st Century and International Business) had specialized trips depending on their focus but still felt very interconnected with one another.

I will forever remember the Alliance staff, as well. They skillfully added the spices and herbs to make the semester a memorable and smooth-sailing journey; this included things like leading large and small group trips to a variety of places/businesses, organizing cultural workshop nights, arranging educational speakers, taking you to the hospital, helping you deal with internships, giving you directions, taking tons of photos for you and taking time to sit down and help plan independent travel (and find great discounts!). I could always contact any of them at any time to ask any question I needed answered, and they would always be able to help me very quickly. I always felt like they were wholly invested in us and taking care of our needs; an absolute treasure in any study abroad program, especially if you are not very proficient at the host language! Our professors were quick-witted, patient albeit (understandably) demanding and brilliant in their field of studies. We came to know one another well and would joke in class pretty regularly; especially our Chinese language professors. They were an absolute joy to spend time with and get to know; some of my favorite 'snapshot' moments include my Alliance staff members and professors. And I still talk to some of them even now! All in all, Alliance in Shanghai is a well-fueled, tested and modernized machine that leaves the student well-equipped and well-supported to have a healthy, successful and exciting semester. I can find no faults!

I absolutely loved my experience in Shanghai and I always encourage anyone and everyone to study abroad through Alliance-especially in Shanghai-if they are interested in Asia. Because of its intense variety, Shanghai itself is the perfect study abroad location for any student, especially those interested in business or urban studies. China-Shanghai in particular-has a powerful role in the future and is already highly regarded worldwide. Also, it is perfectly located for traveling to other parts of China and throughout Asia when the opportunity arises and is filled to the brim with endless culture and language-practice opportunities (if you know where to look). There are times when I miss it dearly, and I hope to return one day. So embrace the challenge and get ready to catch what all it'll throw at you. Just don't forget to make mental-or physical-notes along the way or else you'll forget the details!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

WO AI ZHONGGUO! 我爱中国 (I love China)

I studied abroad in Shanghai a year ago. I can't believe it has been so long! I think about my experience in China every single day because I miss it so much! It was definitely the best four months of my college life. To be honest, at first I was not sure whether to do this program or not because of how far it was from my family and friends. Also, I didn't know anyone else going on the program with me. I had taken about two years of Mandarin at Rollins College, but was not confident of my speaking/ listening skills at all. However, I (fortunately) decided to take the risk and go and it was the best decision I could have made. The program allowed me to fully immerse in a unique and amazing culture. I had a Chinese roommate from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, whom was my pillar throughout the semester. She helped me get around, learn how to properly communicate with others (what to say/ what not to say), and became a very good friend of mine. My Mandarin skills got so much better! The small class sizes helped everyone participate and learn. The professors' interest in the students' learning was great for our overall improvement. I loved the apartment buildings in which we lived and the area around. The transportation is very easy to understand, very convenient and very cheap! Also, many people were concerned with the food, but this was not an issue at all. There is everything and anything you might need. We also had a kitchen therefore could cook our own food if necessary. I could go on and on about everything I loved about China including the courses, the university campus, the field trips, safety, health care, and the overall support from the program. I would REALLY recommend this program. It's great! If you have any interest in China, this program is for you!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Empower Your Future

Studying in China was the best decision of my life.

The Alliance for Global Education offered everything I wanted and more. Sure, I did my background research on the program, but I had no idea that I was in for the best semester of my college career. From independent travel and group travel, extracurricular activities, a fantastic network of teachers, program directors and students, the Alliance for Global Education did their part to make my four months in China awesome.

Living situation. I had my own bedroom and bathroom in an apartment for international students. One of my roommates was from New Orleans and the other was from Yunnan, China and studied at the same school.

The school. Shanghai University of Finance and Economics is a well respected business school throughout China and a nice ring to it when you tell people outside of China. The campus is nice and close to the apartments, cafeterias are cheap and delicious. The classes themselves varied, but overall 2 out of my 3 business professors (taught in English) were great and 1 was subpar. Chinese class was held every weekday morning by a very talented Chinese teacher. I made huge strides in my Mandarin proficiency.

Shanghai. A great stepping stone into the east. I got off the plane and thought I was in NYC. You can speak English everyday, eat western food, and watch Netflix using a VPN if you're not feeling the whole China thing. But don't do that. Live it up. Shanghai is a vast city with a rich culture and 24 million people waiting for you to make friends with.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Shanghai: China Knows All

My semester abroad in Shanghai was one that I will never forget. In those four months, I learned more about myself than I ever imagined. I learned how to overcome challenges, step out of my shell, and appreciate every minute of life. The four months began with a 4 day orientation. It was a great way to get well acquainted with he other 35 students in the program. We lived in the old SUFE campus, so although the conditions were not amazing, the experience was extremely humbling, and brought me closer to my classmates. The best thing about this program is the intensive Chinese classes. You will learn something in class in the morning, and then use that knowledge just hours after learning it. My Chinese improved a lot more than I was expecting, and I even found a passion for it that I never thought I would have. The week long field study trip is very well planned and a ton of fun. I appreciated the independent study aspect a lot as well because traveling alone, or at least with friends, but without a "director" to new cities where you barely speak the language is an amazing experience. My four months in China introduced me to some of the best people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing, and allowed me to foster relationships that I know will last a lifetime, along with the memories. The Alliance for Global Education is extremely established, and they do all that they can to make sure that the transition to this new culture is painless.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Rundown of my Shanghai Experience

I am happy to have chosen The Alliance in Shanghai: International Business in China as my study abroad program. I learned to travel independently in China, so being there was definitely worthwhile. The experience is encouraging to know because it will help me on my future travels in and out of China.

Academics: My Chinese language class was very intensive. I found Chinese 400 and China: An Economic Giant to be my two most enjoyable courses out of all of the ones I took that semester.

Administration: They were very informative and provided assistance when we had questions. The orientation session helped prepare of what was expected from us throughout the semester.

Housing: We were all assigned to a furnished apartment that had a living room, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom. I was provided with my own bedroom. Heater/AC, hot water, and water machine were available to use when needed. We were each assigned two roommates, one from the program and another who is a native Chinese. We were encouraged to practice speaking Chinese with our Chinese roommate.

Food: The program doesn't provide you a meal plan but the food that can be bought around there are always super affordable and delicious!

Cultural Experience: I felt fully immersed into the local culture. I communicated with locals on a day-to-day basis in Mandarin. I was able to get around in Shanghai by myself.

Health Care: I, personally, did not have any serious health issues, but my friends who had them were able to gain access to the local health care system easily.

Safety: I felt very safe. There were no problems when I was in China.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Shanghai Semester I'll Never Forget

I am approaching the one year anniversary of my departure to Shanghai and I can say with all sincerity there isn't a day that goes by that I am not somehow reminded of my time abroad. It was a life changing experience, I found a second home, a second family and a second language. Without Alliance, none of this would have been possible so thank you.

I was enrolled in a program with 35 other students from all around the US. I took four courses. I was enrolled in the highest level of Chinese, business Chinese and two economic courses (one that everyone was required to take called China: Economic Giant and another specific to my university called China in the World). One thing that I really appreciated was that the workload was not overwhelming and the teachers understood we were not studying abroad to sit in our rooms and do homework. You study abroad to see things, meet people, have experiences.

One of my favorite parts of our program was that travel was built in to the layout. We had our "spring break" where our whole program took a week trip together to Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai. Not only did we get to see and do so many activities together but we all felt so much closer as a group after that. We also had a whole week of independent travel where you could go wherever you wanted. There were some students in my program who would take weekend trips to Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, etc, so the sky is really the limit.

In terms of practicing Chinese, you have a Chinese roommate that you could practice with whenever you like. I spoke almost only Chinese with mine so it was a great way to practice. You have your Chinese teachers. You can go out and use it while you are shopping, in taxis, on the street. There are a lot of opportunities, you just have to be willing to try.

I wish I could do it over again. Thank you Alliance. You changed my life!