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IES Abroad Shanghai - Economy, Business & Society

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Life in Shanghai

Shanghai. What an incredible city. I spent my spring semester there with IES and was just blown away by all that this city has to offer. The city never sleeps – there are always people around and always something to do, making each day exciting and different. New experiences happened almost daily, from exploring the city, karaoke, and trying out new food at different restaurants, to learning some tai chi in a park, going on a river cruise, and playing intense badminton. Shanghai has it all, and I had a blast being a part of this remarkable, international city.

I was able to live in a homestay and really enjoyed it. My host mom took great care of me – providing delicious and traditional food for me, taking me out with her and her friends, and showing me around the city, while also helping me with my Chinese throughout the semester. I was glad to be able to use my Chinese daily in my living situation and pick up new local sayings because of it. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of a homestay; it was extremely beneficial to my experience.

We studied at Shanghai Jiao Tong University – one of the top universities in the country – and were taught under Chinese professors which gave us new perspectives and helped us understand how things work and function in China as compared to what we know about how it is in America, a very useful and enlightening aspect. We didn’t have class on Fridays so students were able to do some traveling or spend more time exploring Shanghai. We also had a week-long break during the semester and students were able to travel to different parts of the county to see how unique the ways of life are in other provinces. Our language skills were utilized daily and we enjoyed using them to meet the locals and in getting around the city – be it for transportation or ordering food.

Though it is a very modern and international city, the ancient customs and traditions from China’s long history are still very evident and important in Shanghai society, so getting to learn about and understand the different views and beliefs and where they come from firsthand was extremely valuable. From the city to the classes to the people – it was an absolutely incredible semester, one I am so thankful for and that I won’t ever forget. I was challenged a lot and I grew a lot and have gained a new outlook on life. So,, thank you IES and thank you Shanghai, I’ll be back.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

To The Best Three Months of My Life

I studied abroad with the IES program in Fall of 2014. First off, Shanghai is one of those cities that everyone has to visit, but not many can say they've spent three months there. As a business major, it was great to be in such an exciting city. I was able to learn something from every experience.

We went to school at Jia Tong University's International School. We took the subway there each day, so that also really helped to get to know the transportation system. There was a great variety of courses to choose from and all the professors were very knowledgeable. For housing, we stayed in apartments that were right in the heart of downtown with other IES students. The location could not have been any better as it was located right by People's Square.

During the weekends, we went on a few IES sponsored trips to nearby cities, such as Tongli and Suzhou. It was a great way to help us with our adjustments to a new environment. There were also several opportunities to travel to various cities. People had the chance to go to Beijing, Xi'an, Taipei, Guangzhou, and Guilin, just to name a few. IES also arranged a week long trip to Hong Kong for us, so that we could compare two major cities in China, both culturally and economically.

So what is there to do in China? Well first off, it's a great way to practice, or even learn Chinese. Besides the language aspect, China is a country with many cultures and cuisines. Personally for me, I love eating, so every meal was an adventure itself. When there was free time, there were so many options to choose from. There was never a dull moment, which is why I enjoyed the program so much. As China becomes more relevant in our daily lives, it's a great time to be there.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Shanghai has become a second home!

I participated in IES's Shanghai program for a full year spanning fall 2015-spring 2016. IES Abroad from the start was incredibly accommodating and excited to have a year-long student! The apartments we lived in couldn't have been in a better location! It gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in the local community. By the end of the year, we all had our favorite street vendors, bubble tea shops, and convenience stores for late night snacks. Shanghai is an incredible city that is fast-paced and always has something to do. I really enjoyed IES because independence is really important to me in a study abroad program. We didn't have classes on fridays, and IES heavily encouraged us to use our weekends to explore not only our host city but also other parts of China. The Chinese classes were excellent. Just the right amount of challenge and fun.

Tip to consider before going to China: try your best to get a multiple entry visa (believe me, it'll save you a lot of trouble). IES could have been more helpful in making sure students received the right visa. Once you're in China, it's very difficult to get multiple entries, and English is not common in the visa and immigration offices.

Excursions: The academic excursions were incredible! First semester we went to Singapore with an optional Cambodia trip and second semester was to Hong Kong with an optional Vietnam trip.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Best Four Months of My Life

Studying abroad in Shanghai, China was the best 4 months of my life. It was a life changing experience in which I grew personally from all of my experiences. I came out of with a broader perspective of culture as a whole, but also about Chinese culture. The four months I spent as a part of this program, I met 20 life long friends, and travelled and learned about different cultures in Southeast Asia. The program directors were organized and I always felt safe. I learned the mandarin language extensively through class, but I saw most improvement through the opportunity to use it daily when communicating with locals. The living accommodations were beyond my expectations in cleanliness, size, location, and accessibility to public transportation.
Shanghai is an amazing city especially for expatriates. It is the perfect blend of Chinese culture with American influences. I was able to have local Chinese food, but also American food when I missed home. I feel a special tie to the city, and I could see myself living in Shanghai in the future. I am grateful for IES for making my experience abroad the most amazing experience of my life.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Spring semester in Shanghai

I studied abroad in Shanghai with IES my spring semester of 2015. It was one of the best decisions I have made to go abroad. We were situated at New Harbor Service Apartments, which is in a prime location. It is a 5 minute walk to subway station with all kinds of different food options all around. You could walk to People's Square or the Bund within 15 or 20 minutes. There were about 20 kids in my program and we went to Jiao Tong University. Socially, there were clubs on campus that we could join to meet more local students.

The one downside of the program is that we do not attend classes with other international or local students. We took intensive Chinese language classes almost everyday, which were very helpful with acclimating to the culture and making me feel more comfortable practicing my Chinese. We had to take three other classes, which were academically fine. I really enjoyed the subject matter, but the teachers could have been better and more enthusiastic.

We had an awesome week trip to Tokyo, which was amazing but also exhausting. They filled the week with lectures, then we had free time in the afternoon to explore the city. Students had the option to travel throughout China on the weekends and people went to Beijing and Hangzhou. During our May holiday, everyone went to different places throughout China including Guilin, Xi'an, Lijiang, Chengdu, and many other places. They were all beautiful and amazing to go to. The only thing I got frustrated about in the program was how disorganized the administration was. Overall, I had an amazing time in Shanghai - the food is awesome, the city is beautiful, and the people are so interesting.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    7

Shanghai is the Place to Be

Before this program began, I had never even been anywhere in Asia before, let alone lived there for three months. I didn't know any Mandarin and my knowledge of Chinese culture and business practices was very limited. Despite this, the IES staff made it very easy for me to adapt to my new life in Shanghai and I had an amazing time.

We stayed at an extended living hotel, New Harbor Service Apartments, which was very centrally located and quite spacious. The nearby subway station is one stop away from People's Square (one of the main tourist areas in Shanghai) and Jiao Tong University is about 30-40 minutes away by subway. Our rooms were even cleaned twice a week, which was definitely more than I was expecting.

While my academic experience wasn't as rigorous as the one at my home college, I learned a lot from my classes. I took three business classes and one Mandarin class (a six credit Mandarin class is mandatory). Having an intensive Mandarin class was very useful, since we went over essential language right when I arrived (such as how to order food and talk to a taxi driver). Business classes only met once a week, but all three of my professors were very knowledgeable in their subjects and easy to understand.

The program administration was very helpful, setting up excursions to different places in China (such as Suzhou, Tongli, and Hong Kong), giving us advice on topics such as travel and safety, and almost always being there to answer all of our questions. Since they have gotten rid of the internship and homestay options for this program, cultural immersion is mostly on your own. IES does set-up some cultural activities (such as Chinese yo-yo and a martial arts lesson) and you are provided a language partner, but if you really want to learn the language, you will have to get out there and do most of the work yourself.

Overall, I had a wonderful experience. There is no class on Friday and a week off in October, which makes it easy to travel around China (the highlight of my trip was going to Beijing and Xi'an with some of the other members of my program). Shanghai is a very modern city with great transportation, delicious food, and affordable shopping. With China's prominence in the world continuing to rise, now would be a great time to go!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

A worthwhile experience

My memorable experience was the time I got to travel around China.

In Shanghai I knew I would be able to improve my speaking abilities and with the Business in China program I was able to participate in an internship as well.

I lived with a host family a little over a mile from campus. It was a nice little apartment and I had my own room and bathroom. The family was so great and every day, I got to eat all 3 meals with my host parents, the two little kids, and the grandparents.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    4

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

worthwhile

Shanghai is a fascinating city where modern meets old. Her you get to experience China while still having access to many of the things you would at home. There is a lot to explore in and around the City plus travel is pretty easy in general. The IES program facilitated some amazing trips and most learning happened outside the classroom. My semester abroad was definitely a rewarding experience as I came away with new friendships and great stories!

Academics:
The language class was great but the other classes were lackluster with pretty terrible teachers

Living Situation:
I was placed with the most incredible host family, and living with them really enhanced my experience