A Study Abroad in Shanghai places you in the most populous city in China, a city with both a unique heritage and a modern vibe. Described as the “showpiece” for the booming economy of China, Shanghai has an interesting history, is the commercial and financial center of mainland China and boasts the world’s busiest container port[i]. But if you think it is just another urban jungle, there are more than several reasons to consider studying abroad in Shanghai.

Why Consider a Study Abroad in Shanghai?

If you are thinking about an international experience to add the words “global perspective” to your resume, boost your skills in the Chinese language, or just study somewhere dynamic and ‘foreign’, a Study Abroad in Shanghai may be just the ticket. Compared to other cities in China, such as Beijing, the air pollution is lower, and the culture has more of an innovative and progressive influence.  So what else makes a Shanghai Study abroad warrant consideration?

FUN FACT: How do you say “happy” in Chinese? Say ‘kai-xin’ (web)[ii]

International Hub

Historically, Shanghai, has been a major business, shipping and trading site due to its location on the Yangtze river and the East China Sea. In fact, sometime around the 19th century, the British, French and Japanese inundated Shanghai to the extent that it became the ‘Wall Street of the East. Communism put an end to European and westernized development, and the city’s global influence declined some up until the economic reforms of 1991 and a wave of massive development began[iii].

Academically Speaking

A strong seller for a Shanghai Study Abroad is that it is a major center for higher education in China with over 30 universities and colleges (including Shanghai Jiaotang University and Fudan University) many of which are some of China’s most prestigious schools. And, in case you want to increase your IQ, Shanghai students scored highest in math, reading and science on the Program for International Student Assessment study in 2009 and 2012[iv]. So there’s that. The quality of the education available as well as the quality of your fellow students will no doubt challenge you as well as allowing you to make friends from very different backgrounds.

Chinese, Mandarin

There is a prevalence of Mandarin fluency in Shanghai, although you also find some English fluency. Take immersive and intensive Chinese language instruction or take some courses in English. You can search for either type of program.

Skyline and Cityscapes

Shanghai is well-known for its skyline and for some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world. When you are there, you can take in the panorama from the waterfront (the Bund) which faces the modern skyscrapers like the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Center of the Pudong District. Of course, the Bund is interesting too – it is one of the top tourist destinations[v].  The Bund was initially a British settlement, and building heights are restricted but it is actually an interesting contrast between the lower, historical somewhat European buildings and the more futuristic Pudong. Check out the Paramount, a historical dancehall built in art deco style!

Cyberpunk and Cinema

Futuristic is a term that lends itself well to Shanghai, which is a source of inspiration for cyber punk culture. East meets technology and science fiction. Cool.  Then there is the fact that Shanghai is the birthplace or Chinese cinema and theatre[vi]. Comparative culture studies is certainly looking more appealing!

Treasures, Culture and Art

In case you are thinking Shanghai is just another city, wait until you get to the Shanghai museum and take in the 120,000 pieces of art[vii]. There are numerous ways to balance out the more innovative contemporary side of Shanghai with its ancient heritage. In fact, if you can, visit the Jade Buddha Temple, the Longhua Temple or the Jing’an Temple.


Shanghai is a city where you can walk through the French-style Fuxing Park and take in statues of Marx and Engels as people play mahjong and do tai chi.[viii] It seems like there are various cultures, both East and West. Take in the heritage sites or glance the Shanghai Disney Resort Project in the horizon.[ix]  

Find a Study Abroad Program in Shanghai

Whether you are drawn to finance, international business, language, architecture, history, scientific research or comparative religions, a Study Abroad in Shanghai could make the perfect backdrop for exploration and education. Start reviewing the sponsored listings below. You can refine your search by when you want to go or what you want to study. Keep in mind that there may be application deadlines and make sure to request more details from the providers so you can make an informed decision!

sources: [i] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai |[ii] standardmandarin.com/chinese-phrase/happy[iii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai |[iv] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai#Education[v] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bund |[vi] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai |[vii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai_Museum|[viii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuxing_Park |[ix] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shanghai |