Study Abroad in Shanghai, China


When you study abroad in Shanghai, you'll experience a city where ancient traditions meet cutting-edge modernity. A city that’s one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing. A city that allows you to immerse into East Asian culture, learn Mandarin, and eat amazing food, all while experiencing student life in China’s economic center. Just 150 years ago, Shanghai was a small fishing village; today, it’s China’s most influential commercial center and home to 24+ million people. One look at the waterfront skyline’s blend of ancient and modern, and you’ll understand why studying abroad in Shanghai will allow you to witness globalization in action. Shanghai’s rapid growth highlights issues like global trade, communication, cultural change, and access to resources.

About the Country


Study abroad in China, where the past and the future coexist here with incredible harmony, demonstrating the Chinese people’s simultaneous honoring of their roots and innovative thinking. China is a country of staggering wilderness and sleek, cutting edge cities, traditional pavilions standing next to some of the tallest skyscrapers on earth. Where else can you ride the world’s fastest high-speed electric train and relax in a tranquil Chinese garden in the same day? Only in China. If you’re a foodie, you’ll feel right at home here, where the locals prioritize eating as a social and cultural activity. Stop for shengjian bao, pan-fried buns, at a street cart or share a hotpot with your new friends on a cold winter’s day. Feast on freshly caught local crab in Shanghai and try some sesame balls for dessert. Drink some of the world’s finest tea in a traditional Chinese tea house and learn about the country’s long-standing cultivation and use of the leaves. Art, music, theater, and literature lovers will find the same blending of tradition and modernism in China’s creative works as they do in the country’s architecture. With one of humankind’s longest artistic legacies, Chinese culture overflows with a wide-ranging variety of styles, artists, and material. View thousands of years of Chinese visual art, from the ancient to the contemporary, in museums and galleries. Attend your choice of traditional Chinese dance, opera, or theater to see performers appear in ornate costumes and make-up that date back hundreds of years. Make the most of your cultural immersion in China through connecting to the country’s artistic roots. 

Yan Liang, Program Director, Shanghai

As Program Director for Shanghai, Yan oversees all student services including orientation, excursions, and cultural activities. She advises students on issues related to cross-cultural information, health, and safety, and is responsible for responding to student inquiries and concerns. Yan serves as a resource to students as they transition into Chinese culture, and functions as their primary point of contact. More

Featured Leadership


Stunning Shanghai


Local Highlights

Yang’s Shengjian

While Xiaolongbao may technically be Shanghai’s most famous food, Yang’s Shengjian has unsurpassable status in locals’ hearts. One serving of these sesame-seed-and-scallion-coated fried dumplings plus one bowl of beef and crystal noodle soup makes a perfect Shanghai meal. And, it only cost $2.

Foot Massage

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) plays an important role in Shanghai residents’ life and foot massage is a popular local TCM therapy, so don’t be surprised if your new friends invite you to a foot massage club. Sitting in a beautiful private room with fine tea, snacks, and fruit, while enjoying the comfort (and sometimes the pain) from your feet is both a relaxing and healthy entertainment. Don’t miss it, as you may have to pay 10 times the price to have a similar experience in U.S.

Chongming Island

Just a 40-minute drive from downtown, escape from Shanghai’s 24+ million people to a quiet eco-island. You’ll be surprised to find that, even though Chongming Island is a part of Shanghai, it’s covered by forests, farms, and bird habitats. Here you can relax, visit a farmer’s house, feed the wild birds, bike through the flowers, or work in the field.


While tourists huddle in Shanghai’s giant, expensive malls or bargain (poorly) with vendors in the Fake Market, locals head to Tianzifang to discover unique and inexpensive pieces in a nostalgic setting. The Tianzifang entertainment complex is housed within a layout of traditional Longtang alleys lined with design studios, boutiques, and elegant cafés.

Jade Buddha Temple

Visitors to Shanghai often miss this temple as it’s not very old: its “only” been around for about 200 years, compared with other temples that boast thousands of years of history. Despite the temple’s tween status, it’s worth a visit, as this is the only place you’ll find a pure jade Buddha — two, in fact. The temple’s precious Sitting Buddha and recumbent Buddha are carved from whole crystal-clear white jade, offering the beauty of sanctity.

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Summer14 MOJO, Shanghai.

Easy and Amazing Experience  
CEA made my study abroad visit to China an easy and amazing experience. Their staff is so friendly and helpful that they felt like family.

Breann Grell
Cornell College,
Fall 2015, Shanghai, China
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