Here's what you get when you study abroad with CEA in Shanghai:
While CEA highly recommends that you choose one of our Shanghai housing options provided, you also have the option to arrange independent housing. If your ideal housing scenario includes living in a particular neighborhood, having specific amenities or living with a specific person as your roommate, then independent housing could be just the ticket for you.
Use the online housing application form to request permission for this option no later than the application closure date. If your request is approved, you will receive a rebate for your housing payment, however CEA will not provide you with any assistance setting up independent housing. Keep in mind, rebates are not granted to students who move out of their CEA housing or choose to pursue independent living arrangements after the application closure date.
One of the many benefits of studying abroad? The opportunity to venture outside of your host city and explore the surrounding area! Excursions are offered for all semester, year, and summer programs; typically, semester students are offered between two to three excursions and summer students are offered between one to two excursions. You’ll receive a calendar of the specific CEA excursions offered for your program during orientation. To give you an idea of the possibilities, we’ve collected typical experiences offered to students in the past.
China’s capital stands as one of the world’s most populous cities and China’s cultural and political center. Beijing is surrounded by three sides on mountains and guarded by the Great Wall to the north. It’s also home to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Beijing Opera, the Temple of Heaven, Olympic Park, and the Pagoda of Tanning Temple. While in Beijing, take the chance to absorb the sights, smells, and sounds as you stroll through the Forbidden City; practice Tai Chi in a quaint park; savor a meal of Peking Duck in a bustling downtown restaurant; and lose yourself in the energy that radiates throughout this bustling metropolis. You’ll grow enamored by the city’s rich history and unique culture.
For centuries, Xi’an was the capital city of 11 dynasties and one of the world’s largest cities. In the 1990s, Xi’an re-emerged as a relevant cultural, industrial, and educational center in northwest China. During this three-day excursion, you’ll stay near Muslin Street, where you’ll find famous local foods such as lamb kebabs, Rou Jia Mo, rice cakes and spicy tofu. You’ll visit the Qin Dynasty terracotta warriors, a Tang Dynasty pagoda, China’s best history museum, and various Emperors’ mausoleums, and ride a bike along a Ming Dynasty city wall. Take a hike on Mt. Huashan — known for steep paths and majestic, breathtaking crags — and conquer all of the five peaks of the mountain; the amazing views of the sunrise and the sea of clouds below make it worthwhile!
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, is a center of politics, economy, culture, and transportation. Known as “traveler’s heaven,” Chengdu boasts a pleasant climate, scenic views, historical sites, and tons of delicious street food – and it’s also a hometown for pandas! On this three-day trip, you’ll visit the National Panda Breeding Base, which provides an unparalleled opportunity to see pandas and their newborn cubs up close. You’ll also visit the San-xing-dui Museum, explore the site of the 4,000-year-old Shu Kingdom, admire Leshan Giant Buddha (the world’s largest stone Buddha), marvel at the 2,000-year-old Dujiangyan Irrigation System, hike in beautiful Taoism Mountain, and treat your stomach to delicious hot pots and countless Sichuan snacks.
Marco Polo described Hangzhou as one of the world’s finest cities, so it’s no surprise that its nickname is “Paradise on Earth.” About 100 miles south of Shanghai, Hangzou is one of China’s ancient capital cities and a popular tourist destination, thanks to its scenic resorts: West Lake, Fuchun River, and Thousand-Islet Lake. Ride a bike around the shore and take in the weeping willows, stone bridges, leach trees, rockeries, and ancient tombs and temples. While in Hangzou, you’ll visit a tea plantation where Chinese
Dragon Well tea is produced, visit the Chinese Academy of Art on the shores of West Lake, and stroll along Qinghefang Old Street, where you can browse the souvenir stalls, tea houses, and traditional puppet theaters.
About 60 miles west of Shanghai lies Suzhou, a.k.a. “Venice of the East.” Crisscrossed with canals and rivers, this ancient city is known for its waterways, mild climate, and stunning gardens. Suzhou has long drawn artists and scholars, and is home to the Wumen Fine Arts School, known for its poets, calligraphers, and painters. Explore Suzhou’s historic embroidery, brocade, and silk production industries, and climb the nine-story North Temple, the tallest pagoda south of the Yangtse. Catch a glimpse of ancient China at the Kunqu Opera, Pingtan, and Suzhou Museums during your time in this scenic city.
Take advantage of the unique flavor of Shanghai. CEA offers cultural activities to match your interests. Whether you enjoy concerts, clubs, sports, cooking classes, language exchanges, or something entirely different, our staff helps you get involved in the local culture.
Downtown Shanghai Experience: Dinner & a Show
Shanghai’s busy night life offers restaurants, bars, and clubs at every price range. Along with local CEA staff, you’ll take in a performance of the wildly popular Shanghai Acrobatics Troupe at Shanghai Centre Theatre, followed by a traditional Chinese dinner in one of Shanghai’s many restaurants. Finish the evening with a visit to a club to celebrate a long local tradition of jazz music.
Introduction to Tai Chi
Practice one of China's original martial arts, Tai Chi. Study your first moves in an organized setting and then venture out into Renmin Park in the early morning to follow alongside practitioners. It’s considered polite to ask permission first, but don't be scared — locals happily share their art with you.
Chinese Tea Culture 101
Tea drinking has long been popular in China; ancient Chinese regarded tea as one of the seven daily necessities, along with firewood, rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, and vinegar. Tea culture in China differs from that of Europe or Japan in preparation and tasting methods. We’ll introduce you to Chinese tea culture so you can learn the ins and outs of making a good cup of tea and the occasions in which tea is consumed in China.
Old Town Walking Tour
Shanghai may be a relatively young city in Chinese terms, but it has a rich historical and cultural heritage dating to the 16th century, when now torn-down city walls were erected as protection against Japanese pirates. Shanghai's Old Town still retains its old-world feel and is considered the Shanghai of the Chinese, not the foreigners. CEA staff will take you on a walking tour along its ancient streets with busy markets and old temples, passing by locals playing cards or putting their freshly washed laundry up to dry.
Traditional Chinese Music Appreciation
Guzheng, Flute, Erhu, Lute – these traditional Chinese instruments have a history that dates back over 1,000 years and plays an important role in Chinese culture. Attend a concert at the Shanghai Academy of Music and experience the beautiful melodies these instruments create. After the concert, you’ll have the opportunity to ask musicians about the history and playing techniques of each instrument, and even learn how to play a Chinese song.
Learn the basics of the traditional practice of Chinese calligraphy. You’ll create your own calligraphic work and receive a personalized Chinese name stamp.
Take a kung fu lesson from a master who studied at Shaolin Temple and trained several national champions. Learning about the spirit of this martial art form will help you a deeper understanding of Chinese culture.
CEA offers interesting and meaningful volunteering opportunities in Shanghai, such as working on a charity fundraiser for libraries in the Guizhou mountain area, online English tutoring for orphans who live in the Yunnan AIDS Village, and serving as reading buddies for children with autism.
Chinese Student Language Exchange
Practice your language skills with Chinese students who are eager to help you learn Chinese as they improve their own English skills. CEA hosts a variety of activities designed to help you meet Chinese people of your own age who are interested in sharing their language and culture.
I really enjoyed my campus, the city, and classes. …There’s so much to do and I felt very free to just go out and do it.