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Off-Campus Study

ISEP Shanghai University

In line with Shanghai’s status as a modern, international metropolis, Shanghai University is known for its robust international cooperation and development. The university has prestigious partner universities all around the world and highly values its faculty and student exchange programs. So far students and faculty from over 100 countries around the world have come to teach and study at Shanghai University. The internationalization agenda is also showcased across the university campuses that aim at constructing green and safe learning environments where the needs of a globalized student body are met and embraced.

Shanghai University’s library carries around four million print volumes and in addition to minds, the university also strives for feeding both the spirits and the bodies of its students. School spirit roars at the Shanghai University’s home sporting events and the numerous indoor and outdoor facilities satisfy most athletes’ appetites. There are, for example, 22 tennis courts, two beach volley courts and several gyms and pools the students are free to use.

The program at Shanghai University is run by Asia Exchange.

This program is best for a student that is independent.  A student must be comfortable with advocating for themselves on campus and comfortable with the local language to thrive in this location. Please be aware that there may not be the same access to internet or amenities to which you may be accustomed.  Student services and especially class registration may not be at all similar to what is done at the College and may be difficult for some students to adjust.

Learn more about Shanghai University! Read the ISEP Country Handbook to learn more about visa requirements, educational system, and culture.

Program Type

Direct-Enroll ONLY


Shanghai, China / Yanchang Campus

Languages of Instruction

Chinese, Mandarin, English

Program Dates

Full Year 2018-2019: September to June

Full Year 2018-2019: September to December

Fall 2018: September to December

Spring 2019: February to June


All dates are tentative and may change.  ISEP will alert all accepted students of final dates.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have second-semester sophomore status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75. Accepts lower GPA with explanation.  


Students applying to ISEP must apply for an Exchange option (in any country) as a first choice but may apply to a Direct option as a back-up.  Direct options may have an additional cost.

THIS PROGRAM DOES NOT ANTICIPATE OFFERING EXCHANGE FOR 2018-2019, ONLY DIRECT. The chance of placement for Direct is Excellent.  Good Exchange options may be the programs at JUFE or Hong Kong.  You may also want to consider the Asian Studies Institute at Beijing.



Shanghai, on China’s central coast, is the country’s biggest city and a global financial hub. Its heart is the Bund, a famed waterfront promenade lined with colonial-era buildings. Across the Huangpu River rises the Pudong district’s futuristic skyline, including 632m Shanghai Tower and the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, with distinctive pink spheres. Sprawling Yu Garden has traditional pavilions, towers, and ponds.

Most of Shanghai University’s facilities are on the Baoshan campuses, but a shuttle runs to other campuses every hour. In addition to academic facilities, Shanghai University’s facilities include a library that carries around four million print volumes, and sporting facilities including twenty-two tennis courts, two beach volleyball courts, several gyms, and pools. The campus’ grand theater can seat more than 1500 people and hosts international professional symphony concerts, operas, musicals, and dramas.


The China Studies Program aims to familiarize students with language, culture, policy and international trade from a Chinese perspective, and to depen knowledge of China and Asia as a whole. The program also leaves students with time outside of their studies to explore, travel and arrange activities outside of the classroom.

While on campus, students will have opportunities to interact with both local and international students.

Course Description

Students can choose 4-6 classes from the selection below: All classes are 5 ETCS credits, and require a minimum of 10 students. All courses are Bachelor level courses. 

Fields of Study

  • Area Studies 

    Chinese Studies

  • Business

     Foreign Languages and Literatures 

    Chinese Language and Literature

  • International/Global Studies

    International Relations and Affairs

  • Language and Culture 

Competition to get into the university is extreme. Students begin preparing for the gaokao (national university entrance exam) during their secondary education. Only a minority of Chinese students have the opportunity to pursue higher education.

Chinese student dormitories are usually kept separate from international student dorms. The typical dorm room for Chinese students holds four students and there are no coed dorms. These accommodations are very basic and cramped. As a foreign student, you will most likely be housed with only one roommate. While your room may not be up to Western standards, please be aware of this discrepancy when speaking with Chinese friends.


Typical Chinese classes are mostly lecture style. There are usually no presentations, essays or group projects required. Students are expected to do the homework and pass the exams. The grading scale is typically 0-100 with a minimum passing score of 60.

Academic Environment and Teaching Style

Typical Chinese classes are mostly lecture style. There are usually no presentations, essays, or group projects required. Students are expected to do the homework and pass the exams. The grading scale is typically 0-100 with a minimum passing score of 60.

Please understand that the academic system is quite different. Classes are usually lecture-based, instead of discussion or group work. Classes are often much larger than those found at Lake Forest College. Grades are based heavily, at times almost entirely, on one end-of-term exam, though some courses will also offer a midterm.  Professors are often more formal than those in the United States.

All courses/modules may have prerequisites.  Some departments may have limitations on numbers of courses that can be taken within or outside it.  Be aware of these limitations.

Can review the country handbooks for ISEP here as well:



Please review country handbook for more information on the education system, grades, class hours, and classroom etiquette.

Course Approvals

Check to see if your department has pre-approved courses here. If not, don’t worry. You can work with your advisor.

Experiential Opportunities

Optional Excursions are available at an extra cost:

Excursion 1:

Students have the option of a two-day field trip to Suzhou and Hangzhou City. Widely considered one of the most beautiful locales in southern China, Suzhou’s canals, lakes and gardens draw over 30 million tourists a year. Along with Zhejiang’s provincial capital of Hangzhou, one of China’s largest silk and tea production centers, both cities have an important place in both the ancient and modern economy and culture of China.


Excursion 2:

Students can take a one-day tour of Shanghai to acquaint themselves with the city they will live and study in over the next three months.

Student Life

Student Organizations and Student Government

In Shanghai University, varied thoughts and interests, diverse personalities and cultures meet and mingle here, creating a vibrant campus culture. You can freely absorb the prevailing atmosphere of humanism and science, as well as an energetic campus culture, helping to understand the brilliance of knowledge and significance of life.

Housing and Meals

Housing is provided for students in a dorm (2 people per room). Meals are not included but you will receive a stipend to cover equivalent of 19 meals per week.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee. The program fee for a semester with the ISEP Direct program includes orientation, on-site director, college fees, and housing. Meals are not included.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 semester:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


College Deposit (credit)


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


ISEP Fee due on Stage 2 Application



College Deposit due on Acceptance (non-refundable, but shows as credit on bill for off-campus term)


ISEP-required health and repatriation insurance ($90/mo estimated)

Note: Some countries require national insurance. Check ISEP


Additional Meals


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance, if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page, if the program fee or other estimates change.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

Do check your student account on My.Lakeforest for your aid awards, as much of this will go with you. If you want to compare your program to the cost of being on campus, those numbers can be found here: https://www.lakeforest.edu/admissions/tuition/fees.php

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package, and your expected family contribution.