Ever dreamt of being the cool high school kid who took a big leap into the unknown - like doing high school study abroad in China? Enter Shanghai, the land otherwise known as the largest city in the world. Boasting a population of 24 million people, the vibrant twinkling lights along the Huangpu river will set your heart racing. The NYC of the Far East, this foreigner-friendly city welcomes students to explore the Chinese culture, language, and the burgeoning retro hip beats of the city. Huānyíng huānyíng (welcome) to high school in Shanghai!
Popular High School Programs in Shanghai
You’ve set your heart on the Far East and are all geared up to go, but not sure which teen travel program in Shanghai to choose?
Popular teen programs in Shanghai include language immersion courses. As the main language spoken in Shanghai is Mandarin (with four tones and thousands of characters, not to scare anyone away...), language classes taught in schools and university campuses vary from complete beginner to advanced levels. Note-passing during class (in Chinese) has never been more exciting.
In love with the Chinese way of life and want to explore more? Adventure culture trips offer an insight into the marvellously rich and colorful history of China, dating back to 1000 B.C. - as ancient as the universal love for Peking Duck! If you’re thinking ahead and want to add a few “Wowza!” lines on your resume, consider interning. Understanding the Chinese business mindset, in a major economic hub of Asia like Shanghai, will give you a leg up the length of Great Wall.
The majority of the programs are during the summer, but there are also those that last an entire academic year, if your high school allows quasi-exchange programs as such. Don’t rule out the short vacations throughout the high school year - there are short and punchy programs that cater those who want to have a little taste of China.
Life in Shanghai for Teens
Imagine waking up to homemade congee by your local nai nai (grandma - in China, you don’t call your elders by their names). It is worlds away from the daily life you know back home, instead being situated in the quiet residential street tucked away from the mega city hub of Shanghai- but will feel like your second home in no time.
The school clubs and sports activities don’t have to lessen one bit though, there are plenty of opportunities to pursue what you did back home or pick up new ones, like kung fu and badminton. Cycle to school to learn Mandarin to practice in daily life — every day will bring exciting memories (and vocab words!) to take back with you.
The majority of programs offer housing as part of the program cost, as well as in-country support and help. The neighborhoods you will call home will be representative of the Shanghainese way of life, with the early morning tai chi classes in the local park and teenagers showing off their skateboard skills after school.
Dependent on what time of year students set foot on Chinese soil, but there are always plenty of cultural events and activities that guarantees they will never be bored. From Chinese New Year celebrations and eating non-stop Shanghainese fried noodles to cheering your fave team during the Dragon Boat Festival, being able to experience first-hand the bubbling atmosphere and Chinese traditions promises to be unforgettable.
Costs of High School in Shanghai
China is considered a very affordable country for high school study abroad, however, Shanghai is one of the pricier cities. Don’t fret though! As long as you budget carefully and plan your time wisely, you’ll be able to afford the trip and have some left over to see another city or two (like the Terracotta Army in Xi’an or the Tiananmen Square in Beijing) before you go back!
It’s always a wise move to total up the entire cost of the trip, including airfare and daily spending allowance, and budget from there. This way, there won’t be any unsavory surprises and you can calculate how long you can go for, as well as how much you will need to save, part-time jobs to juggle before getting on the plane.
Whilst it might seem daunting to save for high school travel programs in Shanghai, think of experience as an investment that will deliciously pay off come college application time (as hot and spot on as mapo tofu!). The skills and insights students learn from a study abroad, no less in a country like China, will present superb opportunities and give you newfound confidence. You’ll have binders and notebooks full of experiences from China to readily pull from come college application time.
A tip, it never hurts to look around your high school, local council and online to see what scholarship and funding opportunities there are to help fund your dream study abroad in Shanghai.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Mandarin has been tipped as the language of the future, so being able to speak and understand a few phrases will make your college application sparkle like a shining star. Showing interest and motivation early in the student’s academic years demonstrates their desire to set and achieve high goals. In short, thinking and planning ahead of their career, especially through study abroad programs in China, puts students in a spotlight and accelerates their success.
Whilst Mandarin is the language of the future, it is also known as one of the hardest languages to learn in the world, from tens of thousands of characters to four different types of pronunciation tones. Before running to the hills screaming, don’t worry: in daily life, only 3,000 characters need to be recognised- and many of them duplicates. Once students get the hang of a few, they’ll be whistling in Chinese in no time. As easy as nibbling on fried pork dumplings!
All over the globe and in the years to come, wherever you travel, you’ll have the one friend who you knew back in the ‘Hai. It’s a pretty sweet way to expand your network. In China, guanxi (network) is crucial and pivotal to anything and everything. In living and exploring Shanghai, students can experience first-hand the Chinese way of success: guanxi.
Join the ultra cool teen predecessors who have dared to take the leap of faith (and swag) and invested in their future by doing teen programs in Shanghai. Who can resist the vibe and the electrifying atmosphere of the mega city that never stops evolving?
Read our comprehensive guide on high school programs in China for even more awesome info.