Study Abroad in China




Shanghai, China

Sarah Lawrence students interested in studying abroad in China are invited to consider the following study abroad options. All applicants must be currently enrolled in or have completed a year of college level Chinese to be eligible for these programs. These study abroad opportunities are open to Sarah Lawrence College students only.


Students have the opportunity to pursue an internship-based program through CET Academic Programs in Shanghai. Along with the internship, students enroll in elective courses in Shanghai and intensive Chinese language study at the appropriate level.


Chinese Language (6 credits)

Students are assessed upon arrival and placed in the appropriate Chinese Levels (beginning through advanced). This is a required course.

Elective courses (3 credits each)

You choose two of these courses (or three if you decide to opt out of an internship).

The Chinese Economy
This course is meant to provide an overview of Chinese economy and its impact on the rest of the world. The first part of the course gives a brief historical overview of China's economy, from Mao to Deng's reforms, and on to the 21st century challenges of transitioning from a manufacturing-based economy to a system more incorporated into the global framework. The second part focuses on China’s role in globalization and regional economic integration including the topics of uneven growth and development in China’s western regions and China’s rise from economic isolation. A special emphasis on US-China trade relations helps students evaluate and understand the economic pursuit of these two superpowers in East Asia. The third section of the course considers the unique challenges for multinational corporations to compete in the Chinese market. Students are exposed to the Chinese consumer–their culture and buying behavior.

Politics and Governance
This course begins with a historical survey of imperial China (before 1912) and Republican China (1912- 1949). After providing some historical background, the course then focuses on the politics of the People’s Republic of China, including the Mao era (1949-1978) and the reform era (after 1978). Special attention is paid to “Mao Zedong Thought,” Deng Xiaoping’s contributions and legacies, the organizational structure and operational dynamics of the current political system, modern state building, and the Communist Party’s strategies for survival. When examining these issues, students engage in some of the current debates of the field, mainly those over the features of China’s politico-economic transition and the prospect of democracy in China.

Shanghai: Key to Modern China
The city of Shanghai has had multiple and changing reputations and representations. It has been simultaneously blamed as the source of all that was and is wrong in China and praised as the beacon of an advanced national future. Historically, the city has been China's cotton capital, leading colonial port, the location of its urban modernity, a national center of things from finance to fashion, and the home of radical politics. The objective of this course is to use the social, political, cultural, and economic history of Shanghai to analyze if and how the history of Shanghai provides a key to understanding the making of modern China. After a critical examination of the concepts of tradition and modernity and approaches for studying Shanghai history, we will explore the late imperial, Republican, and People’s Republic periods. The course will end with the Reform and Opening period of the 1980s and the subsequent return of Shanghai to preeminence. Themes will include modernity, commercialism, the role of city's colonial past in shaping its history, and whether Shanghai is somehow unique or representative of what we know as “modern China.” As part of this course, we will take advantage of our location to visit significant historical sites and exhibits

International Economics
This course is intended for students who are interested in economics from a global perspective. It first introduces the emergence of international commerce in history and the establishment of modern capitalism. Theories of international trade and finance are included, and the emphasis is on the analyses of examples, cases, and latest events around the world. The course applies analytical tools including comparative advantage, global competition and technological change, balance of payments, and trade deficits. Finally, a special enquiry into the rise of the Chinese economy and its relations with the rest of the world is also provided.

Internship (3 credits)

If you choose to participate in an internship, you’ll work at your internship placement for at least 10 hours/week and enroll in the following internship course:

Internship: Bridging Theory & Practice
Internships offer the potential to bring together the best of academic and experiential learning abroad. Though immersion in a professional context and hands-on engagement with the work of an organization, students are able to test out the theories they have learned in the classroom, tease out the complexities of those ideas, and gain a more nuanced, sophisticated understanding of the local, regional, and global context in which they are studying and working.

Living in Shanghai

All students live on campus at Donghua University and are paired with Chinese roommates from Donghua University. Your roommate is carefully selected and has some English ability. However, we encourage you to have as much of your conversation in Chinese as possible!


The program is open to Sarah Lawrence College juniors and seniors for the fall, spring, or academic year. Contact the Office of International Programs for more information.

Applications & Deadlines

Completed application and don recommendation are due:

  • February 1 (for fall/academic year applicants)
  • October 15 (for spring applicants)

Tuition & Fees

Students are charged the cost of Sarah Lawrence tuition each semester. Additional semester costs include:


Included in cost of tuition


Approximately $1,350


Approximately $1,750

Personal expenses

Approximately $1,450

Financial Aid

Sarah Lawrence College students who normally receive financial aid may apply their awards to any College-sponsored program abroad.