Study Abroad in Shanghai

If Beijing has the gravitas of an elder statesman, Shanghai is the brash nouveau riche elbowing onto the social scene. The city is unapologetically focused on making money and shamelessly status-conscious. The pace--of business, of traffic, of hot spots and stock tips--is fast. Take a deep breath, hold onto your hat and step into the rush.

"I was able to get outside of my comfort zone and experience a new life of independence," says Andrew Stuckey, a student from the College of Wooster who spent Fall 2008 at Fudan University in Shanghai. "I wanted to get away to a big city. Shanghai was that city, although it was a little bigger than I had imagined!"

Study Abroad in Shanghai - Street Scene at Night

photo by Jose Maria Cuellar


Shanghai Normal University provides high-quality Chinese language courses for international students. The university also offers business electives in English, such as "China's Economic Development," a look at how the economy has evolved and the benefits and challenges of such rapid growth. Fudan University, the most prestigious school in Shanghai, also offers Chinese language courses and electives for international students in Chinese literature, history, economy, philosophy and law.

Night On The Town

You'll never lack for night life in Shanghai. Get an overview of the scene from the rooftop terrace at New Heights, one of the Bund's best bars. Drink up and drink in the views of the Pudong skyline glimmering across the way. Or try Face, a country house in the middle of Shanghai. Kick back gin and tonics beside an English lawn or lounge on an opium bed--provided you can choke back any anti-colonial rhetoric and relax into the fantasy.

Study Abroad in Shanghai - Building by the Water

photo by Wolfgang Staudt

Eat This

Cap off a visit to the beautiful Yuyuan Gardens & Bazaar with a taste of the "xiaolongbao" from Nanxiang Restaurant. These pork "soup dumplings"--so called because the thin dough contains boiling hot broth--are a Shanghai treasure. Take a small bite of dough, sip out the broth, then dip the dumpling in vinegar before polishing it off. Repeat.

Sites to See

Shanghai has a wealth of architectural treasures--from the modern skyline of Pudong on the east side of the Huangpu River to the colonial grandeur of the Bund on the west. Get a closer look on a walking tour with UK-trained architect Anne Warr, author of "The Shanghai Architecture Guide" .

It's not easy to get a handle on thousands of years of Chinese history, but the Shanghai Museum is here to help. With 120,000+ exhibits and helpful English explanatory panels, the museum deserves an extended visit. In particular, its collection of bronzeware is top-notch--the building's design is based on a bronze "ding," or cooking pot.

Perhaps the best souvenir you can take home is not a teapot or carved wooden dragon but a bespoke suit cut to your dimensions from the Dongjiadu Cloth Market. Bring pictures of the style you like, pick out fabric at the market and be prepared to wait two to six weeks.

Study Abroad in Shanghai - View of the Bund at Night

photo by Jose Maria Cuellar

Weekend Trip

Head to Mogan Shan, a bamboo forest made famous in a scene from "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." Mogan Shan has no night life, no crowds and no tourist attractions you'll need to cross off your list. It's the perfect escape from Shanghai.