- Fall: May 1
- Spring: November 1
About 21st Century City
Witness history in the making as Shanghai continues to develop at an unprecedented pace. With this cosmopolitan city as your classroom, you can explore issues of sustainable urbanization, economic reforms, or Chinese politics and foreign policy while living with Chinese roommates and studying Chinese language, too.
21st Century City Benefits
- Impress future employers with your ability to communicate with one of the most important economies in the world
- Find your home in a vibrant, student-friendly neighborhood, where our program center sits just around the corner from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE)
- Live on a Chinese university campus with excellent resources at your fingertips to make deeper connections with fellow students
- Explore cosmopolitan Shanghai with easy access to nearby shops, restaurants, entertainment and transportation throughout the city
- Participate in an extended field study trip that introduces you to the diverse social, economic and geographic realities that exist within China's borders
What our students say
Studying Abroad in China as a Second Generation Chinese American
Exotification in China
My Summer in China
The IFSA Difference
Academics at 21st Century City
- Chinese Society in the 21st Century (3 U.S. semester credits) This course examines the transformation in Chinese society since the founding of the People's Republic of China, with emphasis on the changes brought about in the wake of the economic reforms of the 1980s and 1990s. Topics include urban and rural social transformation, the changing relationship between individual and society, and population control and the one child policy. Students explore the social consequences of China's rapid integration into the global economy.
- Chinese Language (6 U.S. semester credits) No prior language study is required. A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student's appropriate language level.
All elective courses are taught in English. Not all electives may be offered in a given semester depending on enrollment and faculty availability.
- China: Economic Giant (3 U.S. semester credits) The course provides an interpretative survey of China's emergence as a global economic power. The phenomenal changes in the Chinese economy over recent decades are highlighted, and aspects of quantitative development are related to the radical reforms adopted since 1978. Students discuss major policy issues encountered by the Chinese government in sustaining high-speed economic growth without instability. Students also explore China's pursuit of full integration into the global free trade system.
- City and Environment (3 U.S. semester credits) With a rapidly growing population, rising lifestyle expectations, and continuing industrial production, urban China's usage of water and energy resources is a key question for those concerned with a sustainable future. This class will localize these issues by investigating Shanghai as a case study of urban environmental issues in China. How does Shanghai face the challenges of resource use and waste that its sprawling urban footprint creates? How sustainable can Shanghai become?
- Sino-U.S. Relations: Superpower and Realignment (3 U.S. semester credits) The U.S.-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. This course examines their intricate relationship, focusing on the period after 1949, when the People's Republic of China was proclaimed. What roles have trade and human rights played in the relationship? How have recent incidents, such as the American bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, influenced the strategic Beijing-Washington relationship? What lies in the future, as China rises?
- Contemporary Chinese Politics: State, Party, People (3 U.S. semester credits) This course examines the current political leadership of China, urban and rural relations, nationalism and foreign policy, mass participation, and the emergence of the rule of law. How has the communist political system evolved? What are the challenges when the society is under massive change as a result of economic reform and globalization? How is political stability maintained? And most importantly, the million-dollar question: when will China democratize?
- Survey of Art in China (3 U.S. semester credits) This course is a systematic seminar that explores the important developments in Chinese art from early history to modern times. Most sessions will take place in selected museums throughout Shanghai. Rather than studying the objects as art, students will examine them as "artifacts." Students also will explore questions such as: When and how did these artifacts come to be placed within the precincts of art museums? What statement does the object narrate regarding its historical and present context?
- Exploring Community & Culture in a Global Context (3 U.S. semester credits) In addition to required and elective courses, Alliance students may participate in an exciting online course with a global cohort from IFSA locations around the world. Enrolling in this course brings your course load to, or above, 18 U.S. semester credit hours and requires approval from your study abroad advisor. Through a creative online format, this course facilitates active engagement with your host community, exploration of cultural identity and examination of diversity in the context of political, economic and sociocultural structures. Students cover topics such as intercultural communication skills, intercultural learning theories, tools for intercultural analysis and the development of personal strategies for engaging with differences of any kind following the study abroad experience. This course is ideal for students who seek transferable skills and specific competencies for successful work in the global marketplace. The asynchronous course format allows you to take part in online discussions, post responses, review peer contributions, submit your assignments, read materials and watch instructor videos at the time of day (or night) that best suits your personal schedule. Check out the course syllabus here.
Housing & Meals
The IFSA Team
IFSA has a dedicated team who are here to help you prepare to achieve your goals. Feel free to reach out. We are happy to answer your questions!