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CIEE Shanghai Business, Language, and Culture

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

- Fall, Spring, Academic Year, Summer


- Shanghai, China


- Resident


- 2.5 GPA

- Fall, Spring, AY: 3 or more semesters of micro, macro, accounting, finance, marketing, or management

- Summer: no course prereqs

- No language requirement

Application Due:

- Fall/Summer Semester: 3/15

- Spring Semester: 9/20

Program Cost:

- Click the Application tab

This program is not available to UI students for Spring 2023.

students on a job site visit to a construction company

Job Site Visits Included!

Commercial giant, financial and cultural hub, the largest container port on Earth—there may be no better city to examine the rapidly changing nature of global business than Shanghai. Whether you have no background in Chinese, or you’ve studied the language for several semesters, this study abroad program provides you with vital insight into the causes behind—and challenges of—China’s rapid economic development and the country’s emerging role on the world stage.

Academic Program

students at a tech show in Shanghai, getting instruction from a leader.

Students at a tech show in Shanghai

Students receive University of Iowa resident credit for the courses taken on this program.

Fall, Spring, and Academic Year

CIEE’s Business, Language, and Culture Study Abroad Program is designed for students who have taken three semesters of college-level microeconomics or macroeconomics, accounting, finance, management, or marketing. Courses are focused on contemporary business issues affecting China and the role of the world’s second largest economy on international business today.

Classes take place in CIEE’s Global Institute in Shanghai, located on East China Normal University’s downtown Putuo campus. Students must take 4-5 courses for a total of 15 sh. The semester schedule includes: 2 business courses, and 2-3 additional courses (business courses, a Chinese language course, elective courses in English or Chinese, an Organizational Internship, or Directed Independent Research). Current course offerings can be found on CIEE’s website.

Summer Program: Business and Culture

Students participating in the Summer Business and Culture program choose one, two, or three 4-week sessions. The program is designed for students majoring or minoring in economics, international business, business management, or marketing, or for Chinese or Asian Studies majors with an interest in learning more about the business environment in China.

Classes take place in CIEE’s Global Institute in Shanghai, located on East China Normal University’s downtown Putuo campus. Students can take 3 s.h.-4 s.h. per session, which includes: one CIEE content course for 3 s.h. and an optional Communicative Chinese Language course for 1 s.h. Typical courses include: Chinese Language, Economics, International Business, International Relations, Management, Marketing. Course listings can be found on CIEE’s website.

Applying credit toward a UI degree

Unless UI Study Abroad has an approval on file for the courses you take abroad to be applied toward a specific major, minor, certificate, or general education requirement, you will receive general elective credit for your course. The course approval process will be discussed when you meet with your study abroad advisor.

Cultural Activities

unbelievable mountain valley, full of greenery, snow and blue skies with a student standing in front

Incredible Nature Awaits

Fall, Spring, and Academic Year

Students participate in a one-week excursion for an in-depth look at Chinese culture and history. This is included in the program fee. Past excursions have included: Silk Road Trade Route, Tea and Horse Road, Global Business in China, and Convergence of Cultures.

A number of optional, extracurricular classes are available, including Chinese cooking, calligraphy, martial arts, music, mahjong, and Shanghai dialect. Students will learn about Chinese business with company visits in Shanghai. They can also connect with the community by volunteering with local organizations or schools.


Student can go on weekly visits to local markets, museums, temples, and other cultural sites in Shanghai. They can also try traditional Chinese dumpling-making or experience an acrobat show.

Take free extracurricular classes in Chinese cooking, calligraphy, martial arts, music, and mahjong.

Program Dates

This program is not being offered by CIEE for the Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 term.

Fall Semester is from late August to mid-December

Spring Semester is from late February to mid-June

Summer sessions are available from mid-June through early August

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with CIEE, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive  program application instructions.

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

CIEE Global Institute-Shanghai

ECNU's incredible campus in downtown Shanhai - complete with a grassy quad

ECNU's campus with a Western-style quad

The CIEE Global Institute – Shanghai is located on East China Normal University (ECNU)’s downtown Putuo campus, and is known as the “Garden University” for its beautiful grounds by the Liwa River. Chinese language and elective courses are taught by full-time CIEE faculty members, including the CIEE language director, adjunct faculty from ECNU and other prestigious institutions, and professionals from the private business sector.


Shanghai is known for its long history of foreign influence, fashion, and economic prowess, and stands as one of the top financial centers in the world. Following decades of double-digit growth, China’s center of finance and trade aims to become one of the focuses for global economy in the 21st century. Shanghai is home to over 24 million people. The city has seen massive development over the last two decades in particular, and the new financial district of Pudong is home to some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world.


China, officially known as the People's Republic of China, is the second largest country in the world by land area. Its 1.4 billion citizens live mostly near the eastern seaboard. China has grown and evolved for over 5000 years and due to its growing economic power, is set to be one of the world’s superpowers during the 21st century.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

Housing is included in the study abroad program fee. Participants select one of three housing options prior to arrival.

dormitory kitchen.

Dormitory Kitchen

Fall, Spring, and Academic Year

Students participating in a semester-length program have the following options:

  • Homestays: Ideal for students who want to make rapid progress with their language skills – Chinese families speak only Chinese. Students have their own bedrooms in the host family apartment, and share the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Host apartments are a 15- to 45-minute walk or commute by public transportation from campus. Students are invited to most meals, but should budget for lunches and some weekend meals.
  • Residence Halls: Students choose to live with a Chinese ECNU student – and speak only Chinese – or with another CIEE student in a five-story hall on the ECNU campus. There are shared kitchens and bathrooms on each floor, plus study areas and laundry facilities. The hall is a 10-minute walk to CIEE and close to public transportation. Students are responsible for meals. There are moderately priced cafeterias on campus.
  • Summer

  • Session 1, hotel-style dorm: students will stay at the International Exchange Service Center (IESC) with a CIEE roommate. Located next door to the CIEE Study Center, students stay in rooms with twin beds, one desk, one wardrobe, an ensuite bathroom, and laundry facilities. The dorm is also equipped with Wi-Fi and 24-hour security. Meals are not included.
  • Session 2 and 3, residence hall: students will stay in a residence hall located on the East China Normal University (ECNU) campus. Students have access to a common lobby, laundry facilities, a student computer room and study lounge on every other floor, and a kitchen and bathrooms on each floor. The residence hall is a 10-minute walk from the CIEE Study Center, and is within walking distance to a light rail and other public transportation. Meals are not included.
  • Passport

    If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

    Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

    US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

    Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

    Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

    Non-US Citizens

    Students who are not US citizens should contact their consulate for more information if they need to get a new passport or renew their passport.

    Travel Arrangements

    Airfare is not included in the program fee but students will work with CIEE to determine the best time for arrival. Students will also receive support from CIEE when applying for a Chinese visa. More information on travel arrangements will be provided by CIEE after the application cycle has concluded.


    This program is open to University of Iowa students who fulfill the following requirements:

    • Clear interest and commitment- Students must demonstrate a clear academic or personal interest in the program’s subject matter, and a commitment to engage responsibly in coursework abroad.
    • Demonstrated preparedness and maturity- Students must demonstrate preparedness to take on the heightened responsibilities associated with international study and travel. Students must demonstrate a commitment to behave responsibly abroad while respecting cultural differences. Students are expected to obey both local laws and program directives conveyed to participants before and during the program. The University of Iowa Code of Student Life applies to all program participants while abroad.
    • Minimum 2.5 GPA- Students must have a minimum cumulative 2.5 GPA to participate in this program. Applications from students who have a GPA below 2.5 will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
    • Sophomore, junior, or senior standing- Applicants must have sophomore, junior, or senior standing by the time the program begins to participate in this program.
    • Coursework requirement:Students must have 3 or more semesters of microeconomics or macroeconomics, accounting, finance, management, or marketing. There is no language requirement for this program.
    • Good academic and disciplinary standing- Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Students placed on either academic or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad on a University of Iowa program. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who are not in good standing at any point overlapping with the program dates will have their acceptance revoked and will be responsible for the associated late withdrawal fees.
    • Approval by CIEE and UI Study Abroad- Applications will be reviewed by UI Study Abroad and by CIEE. Students will be accepted based on their review of their application materials.
    • Attendance at mandatory orientation programming- Students must attend all in-person and online pre-departure orientation programming presented by UI Study Abroad and CIEE.


    Students will be responsible for paying many of their program costs through their University of Iowa U-Bill, while other costs will be out-of-pocket costs paid by the student directly to vendors before and after going abroad. Refer to the cost sheets below for details on the costs associated with this program.

    The cost sheets outline the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. They include fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

    Costs for future sessions are usually similar to the current session, however students can expect a modest increase in overall costs each session. Final cost sheets for future sessions are typically available early in the semester before the session begins.

    Cost Sheets

    The following cost sheet applies to the Fall 2019 session.

    PDF CIEE Shanghai BLC Fall 2019

    The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

    Scholarships & Financial Aid

    For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information

    You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

    In addition, take a look at CIEE’s Scholarship website for information about scholarships offered directly through CIEE.

    How to Apply

    Interested students should make an appointment with the designated UI Study Abroad advisor to discuss the program and the application process. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 319-335-0353. During the appointment, the advisor will provide full application instructions. Note: Application materials will not be reviewed unless a student has already met with the advisor to discuss the program.

    The application process consists of the following steps:

    • Complete the UI Online Application for Study Abroad. Applicants will be charged a $50 non-refundable application fee. As part of the UI Online Application for Study Abroad, applicants will need to upload a copy of their passport picture page and a list of courses to take while abroad.

    • Please note that for study abroad programs through Fall 2022, students will not be charged the $50 application fee until travel is assured. If a student chooses to withdraw prior to the application fee being billed, it will not be charged.

    • Complete the CIEE Online Application.

    Application Deadline

    This program is not being offered by CIEE for the Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 term.

    Applications for the Fall and Academic Year are due on March 15.

    Applications for the Summer are due on March 15.

    Applications for the Spring session are due on September 20.

    Any supplemental materials are due to the study abroad office one week later.

    Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

    Coming soon.

    Health & Safety Planning

    In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

    Study Abroad Resources

    Passports and Visas

    Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

    Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.


    Any students who will need to apply for a Chinese visa will need to wait until receiving their official admission letter from CIEE before they can begin applying for a visa. CIEE and the UI Study Abroad staff can provide some assistance and advising on the Chinese visa application process, but ultimately the individual traveler (the student) is the person who is responsible for providing correct information on the visa application and securing the visa and all other required documentation prior to travel.


    In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

    Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

    You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email

    Program-Specific Orientation

    This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

    There are no photos available for this program yet. Do you have any photos to share with us? If you do, please contact us at:

    1111 University Capitol Centre
    The University of Iowa
    Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1802

    Phone: (319) 335-0353
    Fax: (319) 335-0343