Study Abroad at Shanghai University Past Review

By (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Centre College) for

Shanghai University: Shanghai - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My study abroad experience was absolutely worthwhile. I have learned so much about a culture I knew essentially nothing about, and it's really opened my eyes to a completely different lifestyle. I would feel comfortable working in a place like Shanghai, or Asia in general since I now know so much more about them. I hope to at least return to Asia if not China in the future.

Personal Information

The term and year this program took place: Fall 2009

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I learned so much Chinese and a lot of information about China's government and economy that before I came to China, I knew nothing about. Our Culture class however was a little hokey, and basically a form of propaganda to either A. get us to spend money on our travels in China, or B. have a lot of Chinese national pride where there didn't need to be any.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We really had very few problems to ask about and they were very helpful when we did need help

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We lived in a Suite setting and each had singles with a community bathroom. You have to provide your own toilet paper. It's pretty secluded and there weren't a lot of other students living in our building. It's very close to the classroom though and there's really good food served right outside the dorm. It comes with a TV and internet access via an Ethernet cable (but a LONG one) Building D1 on Guanyan Lu <br /><br /> It's a pretty good place to be. It's in a gated area, but the gates are always open to Students. Sometimes the front desk person will lock the doors early, but usually if you just knock on the door they will open them. Our arrangements were done through a third party.

* Food:

Canteen food is edible, but not very exciting since it's the same every day (and for every meal) I really liked the steamed dumplings though they're really cheap. So is the canteen though. If you're feeling ritzy, eating at the Korean restaurant on Yanchang Lu is always worth a trip.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Traveling was incredibly exciting. I recommend going anywhere and everywhere you can, even if it is only for one or two days. Flights are relatively cheap we booked our domestic flights with They'll even deliver the tickets to your dorm. We thought we were going to have longer weekends which is why we didn't travel everywhere we thought we would, but a regular weekend is plenty of time to go see things if you fly out on Friday night and come back Sunday night before classes. Hotels are cheap too, but don't expect much in terms of quality.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I have felt safer in China than I do in the States. Things are well lit and there are police officers every where. I was bothered by several strange men, but that was more by my own stupidity than anything. Talking to strangers you don't want to keep in contact with is a bad idea because most of them will want to stay in touch with you. It's ok to pretend you don't know what they're saying, and you're much better off with meeting students at the university.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? When I ate at the Canteen it was about 6 RMB Dumplings were 4 RMB Korean is ~25 RMB Fast food or chains are about 20-30 RMB You can definitely choose how much you're willing to spend on a meal.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Wait until the end of your trip to buy anything touristy especially if you're looking at it in Shanghai. You'll have a better feel for what prices should be and won't spend too much. If they ask 200 for something it's ok to ask for 25 instead. Walking away is the best way to get someone to lower their price, and there is absolutely no need for you to raise yours when you're haggling. Just stick to your original price no matter what, if they tell you to go, someone else is bound to have the same product so you'll know to ask for a little more the next time.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
Language acquisition improvement?

I didn't know any Chinese before I came to China, and now I have a pretty basic understanding of it. However I didn't use my Chinese that much which was more my own fault. Most of my Chinese friends wanted to speak in English with me anyway which made it really tempting to just stay with English. We learned a lot of useful things in our class like how to order food or give directions to a cab driver so we were easily able to navigate the city

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It doesn't hurt to know a little bit of Chinese before you go, but if you don't any you're just as capable of getting by.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Good course. A little boring at times. I didn't like that our only grade was a paper at the end. The teacher knew the subject incredibly well, and I learned a lot from the class. It was just straight lectures though. No questioning
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Chinese HIstory and Culture

Course Department:
Instructor: Vicky Jiang
Instruction Language: English
Comments: We learned a lot more culture than History in this class and of course the Midterm was over the History portion. Content in the class was a little fluffy and not particularly useful. There were also a lot of distracting students in the class (not from our school!) She tried to get us to participate in class, but at times we couldn't understand what she was asking in her questions.
Credit Transfer Issues: