We have outlined here TEAN’s six easy steps to studying abroad. Your TEAN Program Manager guides you through the entire process, reminding you when and what we need from you as you traverse along the journey to studying abroad. These six steps also include all the vital information you need to know as you prepare for your time abroad. If you can’t find the answers to your questions here, then don’t hesitate to call or email us.

Get Started



Congratulations! You have applied to a TEAN China semester program, so you are already one step towards the best semester of your college life! This section walks you through how to complete your application, paying your deposit, how to obtain a passport and check that yours will be valid for the duration you need, the best ways to contact TEAN, and all those important dates to mark down on your calendar now. As usual, if your questions are not answered here, don’t hesitate to contact us. Step 1: Get Started explained in 60 seconds.

TEAN Application


1. If you haven’t already started your application with TEAN, you will need to visit the apply now page to start the process. You will be asked to pay a $95 application deposit that is counted toward your total program fees.

2. Once you’ve submitted your application and paid the application deposit, our team will review your application.

3. After your application has been approved by TEAN you will receive an email from us with information on how to login to your account and access your application.

4. Now you can start to work on the checklist items listed for your application. You will see a list of things that need worked on including the following:

  • TEAN Applicant Profile
  • Personal Statement
  • Copy of Your Passport – see the step by step instructions below (let us know if you’re renewing)  
  • Send the TEAN Statement from University electronically to your advisor at your home institution for completion
  • Emergency Contact Info 
  • Medical Information

As we move through the application process more forms and items will be added to your checklist by your Program Manager. So continue to check back for updates.

5. Submit your most recent transcripts

In order for us to fully accept you into the program, we will need to review your official transcripts. For students studying in the Spring semester, we will need transcripts including grades from the previous Spring semester. For Fall students, we require transcripts including grades from the previous Fall semester.

Please request an official copy of your transcripts, from all universities attended, be sent to our offices at:

2405 N Sheffield Ave #14522
Chicago, IL 60614

Program Deposit

Pay your Program Deposit

  • Upon acceptance into the program you will be issued with a $500 program deposit invoice. TEAN cannot make any accommodations or on-site reservations on behalf of a student until the $500 program deposit is received.
  • The program deposit is applied to the total program cost and is not an additional fee.
  • You may submit online credit card payments for your $500 program deposit via our online credit card link.
Withdrawing from the program

If you withdraw from the program the $95 application deposit is non-refundable. If you withdraw before the withdrawal deadline, the $500 program deposit is refundable. However, after the deadline (typically 3-4 months before departure) this deposit is non-refundable and there is a $2,350 cancellation fee plus any additional costs that can’t be recovered. Please refer to the program deposit invoice for the specific refund date for your program.


Apply/Renew your Passport

Obtaining a passport for international travel may take a considerable period of time as the State Department can often have a backlog of applications to work through. Therefore, it is crucial that you apply for your passport as early as possible to avoid any last minute complications. You can apply for your passport at your local U.S. Post Office.

You can obtain necessary information regarding passports from the U.S. Department of State: Passport Services Department,   download passport applications, find a nationwide list of passport agencies, etc. here.

Verify Validity of your Passport

As a condition of your student visa, your passport must be valid a minimum of six months post your anticipated return home. If your current passport is set to expire before then, you will need to apply for a renewal.

Inform TEAN of your passport details

  1. Scan a copy of your passport page with your photo and information on it.
  2. Upload the scanned image to your TEAN application where it states, “Please upload a copy/photo of your passport (signature and picture page only).” Alternatively, email the scanned copy of your passport to your TEAN Program Manager.
  3. Enter your passport information under the section titled, “TEAN Applicant Profile.”

Please Note: If you are not a holder of a U.S. passport, it is important that you complete this section immediately and notify your TEAN Program Manager. China has strict regulations as to who may apply for a student visa, so it’s pertinent that we get your application in immediately.

Contacting TEAN

Contacting TEAN

Email is the primary form of communication during the application and enrollment period. Please provide us with an email address you use regularly, as important program announcements and instructions will be sent via email. Also, please check your email on a regular basis and make sure to update your online application if you change your email address. Please also periodically check your junk mail to ensure that messages from TEAN are not being filtered into “spam”. If messages are being filtered into spam, please add the TEAN email address to your contacts.

In addition, please be sure to include your full name on all correspondence (including emails). We work with many students so providing your full name will ensure timely responses to questions and inquiries.

Physical Address

The Education Abroad Network
505 N. LaSalle, Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60654-7093

Telephone and Fax

Toll Free: 1-800-585-9658 (from within U.S.)
Local Number: 1-312-239-3710 (from outside of U.S.)
Fax: 1-312-239-3713

Office Hours

TEAN is open Monday – Thursday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, and Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Central Standard Time and observes all major holidays. If these hours are not convenient, you may schedule a time outside of our normal business hours to speak with us. If you are currently abroad, it is possible to set up a time to Skype and get to know your program managers.

Important Dates

Important Dates

We finalize our program calendar several months before each semester abroad. During that time, we work with our overseas partner universities in order to determine our orientation schedule. We will provide updated information pertaining to orientation, key semester dates, flights and excursions once our program calendar has been finalized. We will send you an email notification once the updated calendar information has been posted on the website so you can plan accordingly.

Once the program calendar has been finalized, we will post this information on our website and you’ll be notified by your Program Manager. Once the calendar has been released, all dates are still subject to change. While we do not anticipate any date changes once the calendar has been finalized, we reserve the right to make changes, particularly if one of our partner universities institutes their own date modification. All program participants will be contacted in the event of a date change.


Most airlines do not allow open-ended tickets and now require international passengers to select a return date at the time of booking their flight. Return dates can be changed, subject to availability and ticket rules, but program participants should initially book a return flight home no earlier than one day after their university exams are scheduled to finish. After receiving their final exam schedule, participants can change their return to an earlier date, if their schedule permits. However, participants should not rely on professors allowing exams to be taken prior to the official exam date, as professors are under no obligation to accommodate such requests. For example, if the student’s last exam is December 17th they should not rely on rescheduling it so they can return home early.

Housing Dates

We provide housing until one day after the final day of university exams. Study abroad students generally finish their exams before the last scheduled exam date so students should have plenty of time to prepare for their departure. Please also pay particular attention to the housing move-in dates. We are unable to make exceptions for early move-in requests due to the complexity of housing logistics.

Program Start Dates

The program officially begins at the start of our Orientation program in Shanghai, China. Students arriving in advance of our orientation will be responsible for their own transportation from the airport and any necessary accommodations prior to the orientation start date.

Dates by Program

Semester in Shanghai
Summer in Shanghai 

Diversity & Identity

Diversity and Identity

One of our main goals at TEAN is to make sure all of our students are thoroughly supported from day one of the study abroad process. Embracing diversity in all its forms is very important to us. We’re dedicated to providing the most information and resources possible so students can make an informed decision on what program will best suit them, both academically and personally. We encourage all students to read through our Diversity and Identity page of our website to find resources useful for you directly and learn more about the students you will be studying abroad with.

Get Schooled



Congratulations again! If you’ve gotten this far you are well and truly on your way to an incredible time in China! This section contains information on selecting your courses so you can ensure you get credit for the courses you take at Fudan. We have also included details on some of the academic differences you can expect in China. Step 2: Get Schooled explained in 60 seconds.

Chinese Higher Education

Chinese Higher Education

Students participating in one of our China programs will find that the Chinese education system pays attention to the accumulation of knowledge with less emphasis on daily/weekly assignments. There is quite a great deal of importance placed on self-motivation so it is important to stay on top of readings and keep up with the class progression throughout the semester. The final examinations will typically count for a large percentage of your grade so it is best to not wait and cram for the final exam at the end of the term. Entry into Chinese universities is based on high school exams which are quite grueling and determine which “level” university the student can be admitted to. In the university system, electives are not as common as in the U.S. Also, many schools tend to emphasize science, business and technology courses over liberal arts units.

With a rich history of respect for teachings, such as Confucius, students in China do not often question a professor’s teachings. Unlike in the U.S. where critical thinking and participation is encouraged, Chinese classrooms are very lecture-based. Students have been taught since a young age to respect the knowledge and authority of their teacher.

It is also important to understand that Chinese universities work on a much different timeline than American universities. The Chinese academic calendar is based around national holidays, which in turn is based around the lunar calendar. As such, dates are often subject to change before and throughout the academic term. Students will need to develop a good sense of flexibility when it comes to planning their time abroad in China.

The academic calendar for the school year (Fall – Spring) in China is traditionally released in the summer. So students planning to study in the Fall semester need to be more patient in allowing us to confirm the program dates. These dates are also often subject to adjustment once the semester gets underway. As soon as this information is released by Fudan we will provide it to you. You must be flexible and understanding when making your arrangements to study abroad in China, however, don’t be concerned! Hundreds of students have been through this process with TEAN and had a rewarding, authentic Chinese experience at Fudan.

Given the above note on the Chinese academic calendar, it is also important to know that course catalogs containing offerings and their course descriptions are not released until just before the start of the semester. Students will be sent past course offerings in similar academic terms to give you a good idea of what will be available during the term in which you will be studying at Fudan University.

American-style syllabi are relatively uncommon in Chinese education. A lot of the syllabi that we have on file are specifically created for American institutions and partners like TEAN. You’ll find that some of the dates will be a bit off from the dates of your term, but once in China you will find that the content stays the same.

We have a lot of syllabi already in our files, however, we may have to request one for you and requests for syllabi can take a few weeks. Please keep this in mind if your school has a deadline to approve courses so you can send those requests as early as you can. You may send all your syllabi requests to your Program Manager.

Students attending Fudan for the fall semester should be aware that most courses taught in English do end before the winter holidays but some may not. Please plan accordingly. If you have questions contact your Program Manager.

These cultural and academic differences will allow you to have an experience completely different from what you are used to at your home university. Take these opportunities to remember, “It’s not wrong or weird, it’s just different!” and to immerse yourself into an incredible time abroad.

Semester Courses

The TEAN Model

TEAN has established a model with Fudan University where students are able to choose from a broad range of English-language courses throughout the university’s academic departments. This is a key difference between our programs and those offered through other study abroad programs. TEAN course selections offer students the opportunity to be in the company of Chinese students looking to improve their English-language skills and receive credit for their courses on an official Fudan transcript. Students who have advanced Chinese language skills also have the opportunity to take their courses in Mandarin.

Important Information on Courses
  • Your tuition allows you to take up to 12 credits maximum at Fudan, plus one language course at either Fudan or with UVA. Any additional Fudan courses will be charged at a rate of $250 USD per credit.
  • In China, a standard course meets for 2 or 3 hours of class time per week, for anywhere between 16-18 weeks per semester depending on the lunar calendar. As a result the number of contact hours can vary per semester. At Fudan, 2 credits is equivalent to 32-36 contact hours, and 3 credits is equivalent to 48-54. Because of the difference between the credit hours between standard American universities and Fudan, you should talk about this with your academic advisor.
  • Students should aim to take 3-credit courses as they will transfer back normally as 3-4 U.S. credits. Contact your Program Manager should you need a course conversion chart.
  • Conversion is dependent on your home university and you should meet with your academic advisor about this prior to departure to make sure that you courses are approved and will transfer back to your home institution.
  • Courses with the ICES designation are only for students on direct exchange with Fudan through the International Cooperation and Exchange office and are not available for TEAN students to take, with the exception of the language courses. These courses will not be listed on any information that TEAN sends you, but if you have any questions please be sure to ask your Program Manager.
  • Students must enter 6-8 courses in their Course Selection Form so they have backup options in case something a course is unavailable or full. It is highly recommended that you have your university academic advisor approve your classes before leaving to ensure you will receive credit for the courses you plan to take at Fudan.
  • Contact your study abroad office at your home university to discuss study abroad credit approval and other specific procedures to be completed for your program overseas. This is an important step as it may reveal crucial details about avoiding complications and making your transition abroad seamless.

Chinese Language Courses

In order to ensure you have access to the highest level of language learning available in China, TEAN students have the opportunity to take language courses with the University of Virginia language program. This is a special language program specifically for TEAN students taken in conjunction with their courses at Fudan. This is a prestigious program modeled after the Princeton model for language learning. Courses meet for one hour Monday through Thursday to create an ideal learning model whether you are a beginner or have lots of prior experience. In addition to class time, you will be required to meet with a Chinese language partner for 30 minutes each week to ensure retention and real-life practice. TEAN organizes this language partner for you as a part of your program.

Courses are as follows:

If you decide to not take a language course taught by the University of Virginia, you are able to take language courses at Fudan (even though they have the ICES designation mentioned above, language courses are available for you to take).

Selecting your Courses

Please make sure you’ve read the Chinese Higher Education section prior to starting with your course selections. It is crucial to understand the process.

Below are listed the past two years’ course rosters for the fall and spring semesters. You will need to use these as a frame of reference for courses until we receive the updated rosters. All courses are subject to change, but you can use previous semesters as a guideline.

Spring 2020
Fall 2019
Spring 2019
Fall 2018
Spring 2018

If you need any syllabi, please email your TEAN Program Manager.

Course rosters for the current semester are not normally released until about 1-2 months before the semester starts. Once your Program Manager receives the official roster, you will receive an updated copy of the roster to confirm your academic schedule for the semester.

Your formal course enrollment will be finalized when you arrive in China. Our resident staff and Chinese roommates will assist you in your final selections for courses.  At Fudan University, the first two weeks of the semester are add/drop weeks where you can try out courses and re-arrange your schedule if necessary.

The add/drop period is the first two weeks of classes. After this period there will be a fee for adding or dropping a course, much like at your home university.

Choose Earth

At TEAN, “Choose Earth” encompasses not only environmental sustainability but also social justice and cross-cultural awareness. Fudan offers a range of courses that will expose you to global issues, solutions and understanding. If you would like to participate in our Choose Earth Certificate program, consider one of the subjects below to complete the course requirement.

ENVI110013.01 Climate Change and Energy
ENVI130061.01 Aqueous Environmental Chemistry
ENVI130090.01 Soil Environmental Chemistry
POLI130192.01 Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict
POLI130192.01 China’s Population and Development
TOUR130061.01 Introduction to Heritage Tourism

Summer Courses

Courses and Credits

Courses at Fudan University’s International Summer Session cover a variety of disciplines: History and Culture, Society and Politics, Business and Economy, Law, Physical Education, and Chinese Language.

Contact Hours

Students attending the International Summer Campus are able to select one to three courses over the 4-week program. Each course is typically 2 Fudan credits, which should transfer back to your home university at 3 credits, but is at the discretion of your home university. Each course typically meets three times a week. Language courses meet every day.

Course Listings

Your Program Manager will notify you when the course list for your term is available. Please see a list of previous years’ course listings here.  About 2-4 weeks before you depart for your program, your Program Manager will send you instructions on you can enroll in your courses. This will be done online, so you courses are finalized prior to your arrival in China.

Summer 2019 Course Descriptions
Summer 2019 Course Schedule

Semester Internship

Part-Time Semester Internship

TEAN offers the opportunity to add a part-time internship in addition to your courses through Fudan and UVA. This is a great opportunity to gain real world professional experience and add to your resume while abroad. Past placements have been in the fields of Business, Marketing, Software Development, Travel, Journalism, Nonprofits, Event Management and Advertising, and are usually 2-3 days per week. Students should plan to allocate two full free days within their course schedule for a placement. If you decide you would like to give an internship a shot, please notify your Program Manager as soon as possible to get started on this process.

There is an additional $500 cost for all internships sourced through our team. Internships will be sourced after arrival and finalization of your course schedule to assure your internship does not conflict with your classes.

Please note that we do not currently offer a part-time internship in conjunction with the summer program. For more information on doing a summer internship in Shanghai, please refer to our Shanghai Internship program.

Financial Aid

Financial Aid

A representative from the study abroad office will be able to assist you in determining how much, if any, of your financial aid will transfer to your experience abroad.

While we strive to keep our programs affordable, we recognize that many students need financial help. The good news is that most financial aid you are currently receiving is applicable toward study abroad. Generally, you can transfer federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, that do not need to be repaid until after graduation.

See the Higher Education Act of 1965 (Public Law 102-325, 106 Stat.448): The act was reauthorized in the summer of 1992 to include a number of provisions to facilitate the use of federal financial aid for study abroad. (NAFSA: Association of International Educators Newsletter, Volume 44, No 3/Dec-Jan 1993).

The U.S. Department of Education advised that the Perkins Loans, SSIG Grant Program, Pell Grants, FSEOG Grants, Stafford Loans, SLS loans, PLUS Loans and Consolidation loans can now be used for study abroad. Your study abroad experience does not have to be compulsory for your degree program in order to apply your aid. Please contact your home institution financial aid office to discuss your financial aid options for study abroad.

Consortium Agreements

If you are currently receiving financial aid (federal loans, grants, scholarships, etc.) from your home institution, please follow these steps. The financial aid you currently receive may not be processed in the same manner and the same amounts may not be awarded to you.

Step 1: Visit your home university’s financial aid office and inform them you will be studying abroad through TEAN. Ask them how much of your current aid will transfer for a study abroad experience. You will also need to check if there is additional paperwork specific to your home university.

Step 2: Ask your financial aid office if they have a “consortium agreement” (do not worry if this is a foreign term to you, they will know what it is!), which essentially means they will complete all paperwork regarding your existing financial aid while you are studying abroad. This is the ideal arrangement as it makes the whole process easier for everyone. You will also need to have a TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form filled out that will be provided to you by your Program Manager.

Step 3: If they have a consortium agreement, most likely they will have an existing agreement that is university specific. TEAN will likely have to sign this for you and send it back to them. It will not go to your overseas institution. The TEAN Financial Aid Agreement form should then be faxed or emailed to us.

Unfortunately, not all universities will sign a consortium agreement. If this applies to your school please consult us immediately for further guidance.

Please note: The financial aid process is very complex and adequate planning is necessary. You should contact your home institution’s financial aid office if you will, or think you may need to, apply loans or aid to your study abroad program. TEAN is not a lending institution so unfortunately, all financial aid and loan discussions will need to be made within your home university’s financial aid office.



In addition to the current financial aid you receive, you may want to consider one of our many scholarships. Each year TEAN awards thousands of scholarship dollars to qualified program participants.  Awards range from $1,000 – $5,000, and we have categories including need-based, diversity-based, and merit-based. In addition, there are scholarship opportunities available through several external organizations. Review details of the available study abroad scholarships. If you are a returning TEAN student, review the option to apply for our Sequel Scholarship as well.

Get a Room



TEAN is known for our approach to housing for students in China. From the comfortable Western-style apartments with a Chinese roommate sharing your apartment with you, to on-campus international student housing, previous TEAN China students have been very happy with the housing arrangements. This section provides details on your housing options, and your housing questionnaire. Step 3: Get a Room explained in 60 seconds.

TEAN Off-Campus Apartments

TEAN Off-Campus Apartments

Location: A few blocks off the northeast corner of Fudan’s campus
Management: TEAN
Meal Plan: None available
Commute: 10-minute walk to Fudan Campus, 10-minute walk to local metro station, 2-minute walk to nearby cafes and shops
Option Available for: TEAN Students only
Price: $4,425 for the semester program (housing included for the summer program)
Accessibility: Accessible options vary greatly, please consult your program manager or our diversity and inclusion coordinator, Nick Falzone ( directly for additional information.
Please note: Students share a room within the 4- or 5- bedroom apartment.

Who is this housing option ideal for? Students who:

  • Want to live with a Chinese suitemate and practice your language skills while learning all the local Shanghai tips
  • Love cafes, restaurants and dessert shops, as there are plenty right around the corner
  • Want a high-quality apartment and TEAN roommates
  • Want to be integrated into the community as the apartments are situated amongst local Chinese families and young professionals.

The TEAN off-campus apartments are all high-quality, modern, Western-style shared apartments with 4 or 5 bedrooms. All of our apartments have a Chinese suitemate who is studying at Fudan and will be available to help you practice your language skills or give you insider tips on the best places to check out in Shanghai. The apartments are located in a Chinese-style gated community within a secure building. All students share a room with another TEAN student. The apartment complexes are close to Fudan’s campus as well as many shops, cafes, restaurants and dessert shops. The units also come with heating and air-conditioning, full-sized and fully-equipped kitchen, internal laundry with washer (dryers are not common in Shanghai), internet service, bi-weekly cleaning service, linens, towels, 24-hour front-gate security and balconies.

Fudan International Student Dorm

Fudan University International Student Dorm

Location: Northwest corner of Fudan’s campus
Management: Fudan
Meal Plan: None available
Commute: 15-minute walk to main buildings, 25-minute walk to local Metro station, 15-minute walk to nearby cafes and shops
Option Available for: Open to all Fudan international students
Price: $2,350 for the semester program (not available for the summer program)
Accessibility: Accessible options vary greatly, please consult your program manager or our diversity and inclusion coordinator, Nick Falzone ( directly for additional information.
Please note: We try to reserve single rooms but students may be assigned a double depending on availability.

Who is this housing option ideal for? Students who:

  • Want to live with other international students
  • Want a less expensive option than our off-campus apartments
  • Do not need a lot of space or frills

The Foreign Student Apartments (FSA) are on-campus student dormitories. The Main Building is 23 stories and has over 700 rooms, including both singles and doubles. The new FSA Affiliated Building is seven stories and has 125 suites, each with four single rooms, one sitting area and two bathrooms. There is a reception desk that operates 24 hours per day. A Fudan University identification card is required to enter the premises and to receive visitors. There is also a laundry service, mail room, mini market and small lounge. Each furnished room is equipped with a private bathroom, air-conditioner, broadband Internet access and cable television connection. Cable television is an additional charge as it is based on usage. Television sets are not provided in the rooms but can be rented from the dorm. Each floor has two small communal kitchens (at either end of the floor) and residents share the gas ovens, refrigerators and card-activated washing machines. You will need to purchase your own cooking and eating utensils. There are also water heating systems (samovars) to boil water before drinking. On the tenth floor there are card-activated clothes dryers. The dorm’s mini market sells all the prepaid cards necessary to use services in the dorm.

It’s also worth noting that with this housing option, each dorm room differs in quality. We have very little control over these as Fudan manages this housing and allocations are at their discretion. With that in mind, the International Student Dorm office will take care of any issues that are brought to their attention but want you to be aware of this now. If you have questions, please reach out to your Program Manager.

Chinese citizens cannot live at FSA so this housing option is for international students only. The dorm rooms are very basic and typically of lesser quality than the dorms you may be used to on your U.S. campus. Because the complex is run by Fudan, TEAN has little control over roommate requests. While we try our best to secure single rooms for our students, we cannot guarantee this and you may be given a double room with a TEAN or non-TEAN student.

Students selecting this option will be responsible for an additional 200 RMB deposit upon arrival and registration at the dorm. This is fully refundable after the program, less any damage charges. This is a Fudan policy and this deposit is managed by Fudan exclusively.



Housing Preference Form

Complete the Housing Preference Form

The Housing Questionnaire Form is used to allocate and assign roommates for housing purposes. It is important to fill out these forms with as much detail as possible, as it will allow us to place you in the best housing option possible. This is a great location to disclose any dietary information or other personal information you find is important to let your program managers about.

Get Booked



It’s time to book your flights! It’s really happening – get excited! This section details information regarding flights for China,  excursions and cultural events, and any travel-related frequently asked questions. Step 4: Get Booked explained in 60 seconds.



The best route (and airfare) for flights to Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) will depend on your departure point in the U.S. Please read the below Steps for Booking Flights, Important Flight Booking Notes and FAQs in full before booking your flights.

Important: Do NOT book your flights until you have received instructions to do so by email from TEAN.

Steps for Booking

Step 1: Read the instructions carefully and be sure to contact us with any questions, so as to ensure you understand the airfare booking procedures.

Step 2: Review the arrival dates and end of program dates. Students should book flights departing on or after the program end date. Note that if you depart after the program end date, you may not be able to stay in the TEAN housing. For both the Semester in Shanghai program and the Summer in Shanghai program, you will be instructed to arrive by a designated time in order to be transferred to the accommodations.

Step 3: Determine if you are intending to travel independently prior to or after the program dates as this will impact your travel dates to/from the U.S.

Step 4: Research travel itineraries and costs. To assist with your search, ensure you read the below Important Booking Notes.

Step 5:  Book your international travel and complete the TEAN Arrival form in your application checklist.

You can contact Flight Centre directly. When you’ve reviewed the itinerary below for your program, contact Flight Centre via email at or Please be sure to indicate that you are a TEAN student and let them know you are a student on the Semester or Summer in Shanghai program. They have all the relevant dates and will then provide you with your booking options.

Important Flight Booking Notes

  • TEAN recommends shopping around to find the best routing and airfare from your departing location.
  • Check out our partner travel agency, Flight Centre. The key benefit to using a travel agent like Flight Centre is the personalized service, which is particularly useful if flights are delayed or connections are missed, and you need further assistance with your bookings. You can email or at Flight Centre.
  • Students must arrive in Shanghai on or prior to the recommended arrival date.  Please ensure that you have the correct arrival date when researching airfare options. Most flights arriving on the arrival date will have departed on the day before, however this is not always the case, as sometimes a departure of two days prior will be required!
  • Be careful when looking at arrival dates/times. For example, a flight may arrive at 12:05 am on the arrival date, however, technically, this is the evening of the previous night. If you book a flight like this, you are going to need an extra night of accommodation.
  • If you have a domestic stopover, ensure your flights are all on the same itinerary so you have your international luggage allowance for all of your flights. Adding extra bags is very expensive!
  • Provided you arrive on the official arrival date, during the designated time, TEAN will coordinate your airport pick-up and transfer to the TEAN Orientation accommodation. Please make sure you read through all the arrival time restrictions if you want to ensure airport pick up.
  • Accommodation will be provided for students arriving on the arrival date, but accommodation will not be available prior to this date.
  • Airfare costs can vary greatly from one departure city to another. In the event that you live relatively close to more than one potential departure city, we encourage you to research flight options through each applicable departure location. Students may find that by driving to a slightly farther departure city/airport, they may save several hundred dollars in airfare costs.
  • We recommend booking flights that fly to Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) as it is where the group pick up is, and much easier to get into the city than from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA).
  • Please strongly consider purchasing trip insurance on all your flights, as you will be protecting your large purchase from possible interruptions to your trip. It is not a requirement by any means, but it’s nice to have the peace of mind.

Flight FAQs

How much should I expect the airfare to be?

The estimated cost for all international flights varies from approximately $900 – $2,000. This is due in large part to the departure locations from within the U.S. (for example: New York, NY versus Omaha, NE), as well as the return travel dates.

I have found a cheap flight to an airport other than Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) . Can I fly there instead?

Yes. However, you will not be eligible for group pick-up and will need to take your own taxi or public transport to the accommodation.

Why doesn’t TEAN offer a group flight for China programs?

Airfares for individual flights to this region are cheaper than group flights, and for this reason we advise you to  book your flights individually.

What if I want to arrive prior to the recommended arrival date?

That’s fine. You will need to book your own accommodation until the official program arrival date. Your TEAN Program Manager will be able to provide you with details of the orientation accommodation, and a time to meet up with the group on the arrival day. Note that airport pick-up is only available if you arrive on the official program arrival date. Please note that no accommodation is available prior to the initial program start date and any accommodation prior must be sourced on your own.

Offset Your Carbon Footprint

How to Offset your Carbon Footprint

Team up with TEAN to reduce your carbon footprint by offsetting your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from air travel!

What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is the action or process of compensating for carbon dioxide emissions produced from industrial or other human activity by participating in activities or programs designed to reduce the equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

How do I calculate my carbon emissions?
Visit the free Carbon Footprint calculator page to access a user-friendly calculator that will guide you through the quick process of calculating your carbon.  We encourage you to utilize the emissions calculator to estimate how much carbon is entering the atmosphere from your flight overseas. Through TEAN activities or utilizing companies that Carbon Footprint Ltd is associated with, you will have plenty of ample opportunities to offset your carbon throughout your semester abroad and better understand the many ways in which you can make a positive environmental impact.  The Choose Earth Team at TEAN is always happy to assist you with your calculations, so please don’t hesitate to ask Kate McSurley at for help!

What can I do to offset my carbon emissions?
TEAN will suggest plenty of opportunities to Choose Earth while you are abroad that will help offset your carbon emissions from your international flight. Following their helpful tips and offsetting your flight is the best way to start reducing your overall carbon footprint while abroad.

If you would like to do more – and we hope that you do! We encourage you to donate the monetary amount estimated by the calculator through Carbon Footprint Ltd.'s partnerships with multiple certified eco-friendly companies. That way, you can directly contribute to programs that help offset the carbon emitted from your flights, helping to make a global impact. Contributions from climate conscious consumers assist in developing projects that promote clean technology. The beauty of this particular program is that you can choose from a variety of charitable causes that are personal to you, as opposed to a single monetary donation to an airline where you may not beg sure if your money is going exactly where you intend it to. Through Carbon Footprint Ltd, you have the power to choose when and how your carbon emissions are offset.

Events & Excursions

Beijing Excursion

Take the high-speed train to China’s capital city for an extended weekend exploring Beijing’s historical sights, cultural highlights and contemporary lifestyle. Visit the home of former emperors in the ancient Forbidden City and the iconic Tiananmen Square before heading to TEAN’s exclusive overnight stay at the Great Wall of China. Make sure to remember your hiking shoes for the ultimate experience – a sunrise hike along an off-the-beaten-path section of this amazing man made wonder. Once you visit the Great Wall, you’ll truly understand the greatness of China’s past, present and future. Back in Beijing, explore the city’s historic hutongs (alleyways) and indulge a delicious Peking duck dinner before returning to Shanghai. This excursion is only available to students attending the semester program and is included in your program fee.

Read More 

Chengdu Weekend Excursion

Rich with cultural history, archaic infrastructure and cute, cuddly pandas, Chengdu makes for the perfect long weekend trip while studying abroad in China. Explore the region’s iconic “Wide and Narrow Alleys”, known as Kuai Shai Xiangzi, which are a tribute to the ancient architecture of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, marvel at one of Taoism’s central birthplaces, Mount Qingcheng, and take in the scenery surrounding the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, a UNESCO World Heritage site noted for being the oldest grand irrigation system in the world and home to a number of cultural relics. Of course, a visit to Chengdu wouldn’t be complete without time spent at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Enjoy a guided tour and plenty of time to explore on your own in the presence of these incredible creatures. This excursion is only available to students attending the semester long program and is included in your program fee.

Read More 

TEAN Cultural Events

Throughout your program duration, TEAN immerses you in the local culture by arranging regular excursions. Join the locals at a nearby park for a tai chi class or learn the ancient art of calligraphy. Take in Shanghai’s history and development during a cruise of the Huangpu River. Our Resident Director in Shanghai arranges regular dinners and cultural outings during which students can chat about their experience and address any issues that may arise. Easily reached via email or phone, our in-country support staff are able to meet up with students whenever needed and are even the perfect sightseeing partners. Activities may vary each semester and summer, but you can be certain TEAN’s local staff are keen for you to experience the best of Shanghai and its culture.

Get Documents



This section is very important. It also tends to be a little boring, so please stick with us. Before you jet off for the time of your life, there are contracts you need to sign, forms you need to complete, a Chinese student visa you need to apply for and be granted, and a final payment you need to make. Please read this section carefully, and when the time comes, your Program Manager will guide you through it all – step by step. Step 5: Get Documents explained in 60 seconds.


Sign Contracts with TEAN

You will receive contracts from TEAN that will cover important information and policies for you to keep in mind during your time abroad. By signing the program contract this will also allow us to introduce you to other TEAN program participants prior to departure. Both you and a parent/guardian will need to electronically sign the document to confirm your understanding of the terms and conditions of your program. 

Student Visa

Student Visa

All students attending Fudan University will need to apply for a Chinese Student Visa. The timeline to applying for your visa will depend on when your Program Manager receives the admission documents from Fudan University. Once the admission documents have arrived, you should apply for your visa as soon as possible. The visa process can take approximately 2-4 weeks. Your passport needs to be valid for at least seven months after the conclusion of your semester to satisfy China’s entry requirements.

Very Important: Once in country, all students holding a student visa are required to register with the local police station. Within 30 days of your arrival, make sure you register your residential information with the nearest law enforcement authority. In most cases, your Resident Director will escort the entire group to complete this task together and under their direct guidance.

Application instructions

You need to apply for and obtain a student visa. Student visa types can vary depending on the duration of the program. Students are granted either an X1-visa or an X2-visa. Students granted an X-2 visas are given permission to study in China usually for a 6-month period of time. In order to apply for an X-1 or X-2 visa, students must submit a copy of their passport, JW202 form, and Admission Notice. The JW202 form and Admissions Notice is provided by the University and will be sent to you directly upon receipt by TEAN.

Your Program Manager will notify you when you are eligible to apply for your student visa, which is typically 6 – 8 weeks prior to your departure. You will also receive step-by-step instructions on the process.

If you plan to travel outside of China while abroad, our recommendation is that you apply for a multiple entry visa. You may not necessarily receive one, as this is up to each consulates discretion, but receiving one will allow students to skip the residency process in order to exit and enter China during the program duration.

Please note: If the Chinese Consulate does not issue you a visa that covers the duration of your program, or if you receive a single entry visa but plan to travel outside of China, our resident staff will assist you in applying for residency upon entry so that you are allowed to stay for the full program. Any fees associated with this are the student’s responsibility and historically have cost about 900 RMB.

How to Apply

Given the complexity of the Chinese visa, students are encouraged to go through a visa agent to complete the visa application process, as they are usually able to quickly move your documents along for processing. The recommended visa agent is Swift Passport Services.

Swift is located just a short walk away from the TEAN Chicago headquarters and their offices are across the hall from the Chinese Consulate. This close proximity allows TEAN to deal quickly and directly with the visa issuer and results in a very smooth process.

For students who live close to a Chinese Embassy/Consulate, you may visit the appropriate office in person and complete the process as instructed. The Chinese government has six consulate locations in the U.S. in the following cities: Washington D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and Houston. Please be advised that each state is assigned to a particular office and students wishing to obtain a visa may only do so at their designated consulate. It is suggested for students who choose to apply on their own to make an appointment with their assigned Chinese Consulate. You may find your assigned consulate here.

If you are applying for a visa internationally, you will need to locate your closest Chinese embassy and complete the application process that they have for that particular region.

IMPORTANT: If you have ever held Chinese, Taiwanese or Hong Kong citizenship, please let your Program Manager know as soon as possible. There may be additional steps and documentations needed when applying for your visa.


Final Payment

Final invoices will be sent out approximately 60 days prior to your departure. Financial Aid Agreements must be submitted by this time as well to account for any delay in payment. If you need more information about Financial Aid Agreements or payment information, contact your Program Manager.

Program deposit

A $500 program deposit is due upon acceptance into your program. It will be credited to the student’s overall program cost. The deposit is refundable, should the student withdraw 3 – 4 months prior to the start of the program. After this date, the deposit is non-refundable. The $95 application deposit is not refundable. Please refer to the welcome letter and deposit invoice for the specific refund date.

Pay by Check

You can make checks payable to The Education Abroad Network and mail to us at:

2405 N Sheffield Ave #14522
Chicago, IL 60614

Credit Cards

For your convenience we accept online credit card payments for the $500 program deposit and other payments. Please keep in mind that any payment over $1,000 on the online credit card form gets a 3% fee added on. It is encouraged that you use check or wire transfer for larger payments.

Refund Policy

Refunds Prior to Semester Commencement
If a student withdraws from the program prior to arrival overseas, we can only reimburse the portion of the program fee that has not already been allocated to some aspect of the students program (ex: housing, deposits, etc.). Generally this will be less the $500 deposit (see above), but is subject to our program contract – though students are usually eligible to receive close to full refund amount. See your program contract for the withdrawal date for your program. Any withdrawals after this date will incur a $2,350 cancellation fee plus any additional costs that can’t be recovered.
Refunds During the Semester
In these situations, refunds are only available for the amount of the program fee that is recoverable at the time the student returns home. The amount recoverable relates to tuition and housing fees only and is dictated by the refund policy of each host university. Our official refund policy is outlined in the program contract provided to each participant.

Past Due accounts

All past-due amounts will accrue simple interest at 12% per annum.

Get Going



It’s almost time! Now you just need to review some last minute information on insurance while abroad, follow our packing tips, start planning how you will manage your money while abroad, figure out cell phone arrangements, and read up on details regarding your arrival and Orientation in Shanghai. Our China-based staff are looking forward to meeting you when you get off your plane in Shanghai! Step 6: Get Going explained in 60 seconds.

Insurance & Healthcare


TEAN enrolls students in a health insurance policy through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) for the duration of their studies in China. The cost of this insurance will be included in your program fee and enrollment is automatic.

Your medical insurance policy includes the following:

  • Prescription medications
  • Medical Evaluation
  • Hospitalization
  • X-rays
  • Emergency Medical Assistance
  • Medical transportation and evacuation
  • Return of mortal remains

There are some limitations to this medical insurance, including dental and optical services. If you have any existing health concerns, contact your current insurance provider before you leave for China. Medical insurance for higher levels of need is your own responsibility. You should have already received an email outlining your insurance information with your insurance card and embassy letter attached. If you have not received these documents, contact your Program Manager immediately.

Your health insurance will be comprehensive in nature, covering everything from a basic hospital visit for a checkup to the more serious medical situations that can happen while overseas. You will have access to both local Chinese hospitals as well as fully “Westernised” medical facilities, which we will always recommend. Our Resident Director is available to you 24/7 in the event that you need guidance in seeking medical advice or treatment.

A couple of specific and very important points on using your insurance. First, most hospitals in China operate on a “pay as you go” basis. If you visit a hospital or doctor for an unplanned visit then you may need to remit payment for services out of pocket. Should this be the case, reimbursement documentation will be forwarded to you to have a claim processed. 


We recommend students put anything of value i.e., digital camera, smartphones , jewelry, musical instruments, laptops, etc. on a Personal Articles Policy (many homeowners already have this policy so students most likely can add their items onto a parent/guardian’s Personal Article Policy). This insurance often covers the full value of the items worldwide with no deductible. We encourage students to take pictures of their item(s) and note their model, make, and serial number, as well as saving receipts when possible. Purchase of any additional insurance is left to the discretion of the student and their parent/guardian.

Travel Insurance

Trip insurance is optional and is not included in TEAN program fees. We recommend considering supplemental trip insurance to protect against unexpected mishaps (i.e. lost luggage) that can occur while traveling. Plans commonly range from $100 to $350 and can be purchased through various insurance carriers. If you would like to discuss plans with TEAN’s recommended travel liaison please contact Flight Centre at 602-253-4743. We believe that the combination of the included Cultural Insurance Services International, Travel Insurance, and a Personal Article Policy offers the broadest, most comprehensive coverage while students study and travel abroad.

Packing List

Packing Advice

  • Follow the “less is more” theory or, as previous students have advised, “Pack everything you might need, then take half of it out”.
  • Put labels on your belongings (especially on luggage)
  • Please refer to your airline carrier’s website for current baggage restrictions on international flights.
  • Most past students suggest also bringing a backpack, which useful for weekend trips

Baggage Allowance

For exact baggage restrictions (including dimensions and weight) check your airline’s website. You’ll want to be sure you check the luggage allowances for all the airlines you’ll be flying. If you will exceed one checked item it is generally more economical, safer and easier to pay the airlines for additional checked baggage versus shipping items to China. However you would need to pay excess baggage charges for each separate flight, and for your round trip flights the costs for an extra bag are expected to be over $200 USD.

Suggested Packing List

The packing list provided below is a suggested list. Triple-check to ensure you have everything necessary!  TEAN is not responsible for forgotten items.

In addition to your daily staples, you may want to consider bringing the following:

  • A raincoat and/or umbrella
  • Camera/smartphone and an extra memory card (if applicable)
  • Glasses/contact lenses (extended wear if possible) and solution, as this can be difficult to procure in China
  • Backpack that you can use for class as well as weekend travel
  • Prescription medicine in their original packaging with note from doctor. Be sure to bring exactly the amount you will need for the semester.
  • Plug adapter for electronics (please note: most modern electronics don’t require a voltage converter. Please consult manufacturer’s instructions for more information on your personal belongings)
  • If you have sensitive skin you may wish to bring your own lotion – some lotions sold in China contain additives that can be irritants.
  • Deodorant – this can be difficult to find in China and pretty expensive. 
  • Feminine products – these can be expensive and sometimes different from what you are used to in the U.S.
  • A travel size roll prior to departure for your first few weeks in China (Most public restrooms in China do not provide toilet paper, so you will want to always carry some with you)

Things to leave at home:

  • Extra toiletries (with the exception of deodorant, as mentioned above), you can buy these in China
  • Electrical appliances
  • Hair dryers – you can purchase one in China (otherwise you will need a voltage converter  and electrical adaptor)
  • All kitchen supplies: utensils, pots/pans, crockery/glasses
  • Bedroom/linens – (TEAN has arranged for a bedding pack to be provided in all accommodation)

Carry On Bag

While there is little chance of this happening, if you plan on the airline losing your baggage for at least 24 – 48 hours you will be prepared and avoid extra inconvenience. Pack travel sized toiletries, medication and change of clothes in your carry-on. This will more than likely not happen, but if it does you will be ready.

Final Tips

  • Obtain some Chinese currency before you leave the United States
  • Make copies of important documents (student visa, passport, driver’s license, credit/bank cards, flight itinerary, travel insurance info, etc.) – bring one set with you, store the others in various places in case your luggage or wallet is lost or stolen and leave one copy at home.

Health & Safety Abroad

Emergency Response Plan

We have created an Emergency Response Plan for our study abroad locations that will be implemented by both our Resident Director staff in China and our U.S.-based staff in Chicago in case of an emergency.  Our staff will work with students, parents and study abroad staff at both the student’s home and host university to provide the most up-to-date information regarding any situations that may arise while studying abroad. Our participants will be given Emergency Contact Information before they depart the U.S. and also briefed at orientation on specific instructions to follow in case of an emergency.

TEAN Protocols
  • In the event of a health emergency, serious accident, natural disaster, crime or death, each program location has a contingency plan that can be activated. TEAN will contact participants, their emergency contacts, and home universities in the event of such a situation.
  • Disclaimer– Nothing in this plan is a guarantee that any specific action will be taken in any given situation, nor is anything in this document a contract or part of a contract between TEAN and any other party, nor is any statement in this document intended to sell a service to a prospective customer, nor to attempt to persuade any party to avail themselves of any program or service provided by TEAN. Health, safety and recovery from emergency situations are the sole responsibilities of each individual participant.
After Hours Urgent line
  • TEAN personnel are available to assist you with an emergency 24/7. In addition to having access to a Resident Director as well as instructions on contacting Police/Fire/Ambulance in your host country, you and your family will be able to reach us after hours in the event of an emergency. Although we will not always be your best resource to resolve an issue directly, we work in conjunction with our partners on the ground to make sure students get a quick resolution in crisis situations.
  • Please call 1-800-585-9658 or 312-239-3710 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 am – 5 pm CST. For emergency assistance after business hours, please call 574-239-6545.
Safety While Abroad

We are committed to the health and safety of every participant. It is very important that students make informed decisions about their study and travel destinations. We continually monitor the safety and security of our study abroad program locations as well as popular student travel destinations.  We continue to advise students of the safety and health risks associated with studying and traveling abroad based on the information from the U.S. Department of State travel warnings, local law enforcement, the Australian and New Zealand government, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the World Health Organization.

Tips for Personal Safety
  • Emergency Contacts: Be sure to designate a parent or guardian as your Emergency Contact. This way, information regarding an emergency situation will automatically be passed on to your parents. Also make sure to provide us with your Emergency Contact’s most up-to-date contact information.
  • Communication Information:  Provide TEAN with accurate and up-to-date contact information regarding your telephone, cell phone, address and email address. Be sure to notify your parents and Resident Director in case of an emergency.
  • Keep Others Informed: Tell others (your roommates, your parents, your Resident Director) your travel plans.  Keeping others informed will make it easier to locate you in case of an emergency.
  • Stay Informed: Research the political, cultural and social climate of your study and travel abroad destination before heading overseas. While abroad, read local newspapers and watch local news broadcasts for developments that may affect your health and safety. If you have questions, please contact us either in the U.S. or abroad.
  • What about anti-American sentiment? Although individual Americans are generally well liked abroad, there can be at times negative feelings toward U.S. Government policy. Participants are urged to always use common sense and assimilate into the local culture as much as possible. Studying abroad allows you to be much more than a typical tourist and one way to do this is by following the behavior of the locals.
Travel and Safety resources

Helpful travel and safety links are listed below.

Arrival Info

Arrival Information

Please complete the Arrival Forms sent to you by your Program Manager. We use this information to help coordinate airport pick up when you first arrive in China in the allocated arrival window

Specific arrival details will be provided to you prior to departure but in general, you will need to arrive within the allocated arrival window provided to you during the flight booking process. You will then be met at the airport by TEAN staff and provided an airport transfer to your accommodation.

It is your responsibility to notify TEAN in a timely manner if you experience flight delays and/or itinerary changes.

Contact Information

Prior to your departure your Program Manager will provide you with contact details for all key TEAN personnel, including your Resident Director, as well as information on your local embassy and emergency contacts.

Communicating While Abroad

Contacting Home

Below are some suggested ways that you can easily stay in touch with your family and friends while studying abroad.

We recommend setting up a contact plan before you depart, deciding how and when you’ll be available while abroad. Whether that looks like daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly check-ins, it’s good to have a consistent way to get in touch, as well as back up alternatives in case of an emergency. While studying abroad can be a time to spread your wings and become more independent, it’s important to regularly touch base with your loved ones so they don’t worry while you’re away.

No matter which method you choose, we recommend downloading your preferred applications before leaving home and testing them out to make sure any accounts and contacts are set up properly.

Local SIM Card

TEAN provides all students a local SIM card for calls, texting and data. Phone plans vary depending on location and more details will be provided by your Program Manager. It is recommended to only use your local phone number to call home in cases of emergency since long distance calls can be expensive but there are plenty of ways to call internationally for free or very cheap (keep reading!)..

Unlocking your Phone

In order to use the local SIM card, you need to make sure your phone is unlocked and able to accept SIM cards from other mobile carriers. “Unlocking” your phone means that your phone is not locked to one specific carrier. If your phone is unlocked you will be able to use a foreign SIM card while you are abroad. If you’re unsure if your phone is unlocked, it’s important to call your current service provider to check. If you cannot get your current phone unlocked, you will need to bring a different unlocked phone from home or plan to purchase a phone while in your host country.

International Phone Plan

While all students are given local SIM cards, some may decide to keep their US number and opt for an international phone plan. In most cases, this allows students to utilize their phone domestically in their host country and internationally. The cost of this can vary based on service provider. If you are interested in this option, you should get in touch with your phone service provider to get the relevant fees and service options. Be sure to consider costs for dialing local numbers as it can sometimes make an international plan undesirable for calls within your host country.

Purchasing a Phone in Country

This would only be a viable option if you do not want to or cannot use your current U.S. phone, and can speak and read the local language. Phones can be purchased in all locations for costs comparable to U.S. phones. This may be a good option for a student who is looking to use a phone for just texting and calling while in country, as non-smart phones can be purchased cheaply in most countries. If you are worried about losing your U.S. smartphone, you may want to consider purchasing an inexpensive phone in your host country.

Free International Contact Options

While all students will have access to a local number, there are free ways to get in touch with people across the world while connected to the internet or data.


Allows free chat, audio calling and video calling between users while using WiFi or data. This allows for calls between two parties both using the Skype app downloaded. The Skype app can be downloaded onto you phone, tablet and computer. You can also purchase Skype credit which allows you to call international landline and mobile phone numbers directly (so both parties don't have to have a Skype account). These calls typically cost around $.05 for the connection and $.03 per minute, making it an affordable option.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook’s Messenger app allows free chat, audio calling and video calling between users while on WiFi or data.


While we don’t suggest going out of your way to purchase an iPhone for this option, it is a great feature for any students who have these phones already. iPhones use iMessage and FaceTime while on WiFi or data at zero charge to the provider plan.

Other free messaging apps

There are several apps that allows free chat, audio calling and video calling between users while on WiFi or data. WhatsApp is popular outside of the U.S. but some countries also have their own messaging app of choice that you’ll likely want to download to chat with your new local friends. These include:


It may seem obvious but email is a great way to continue to stay in touch with people back home regardless of the time differences. If your host institution gives you a new school email, but sure to update friends and family with the email address you will be checking most frequently throughout your program.

A VPN for mobile

Some VPNs also offer apps for smart phones that you can use while traveling. If you choose to bring your phone along, make sure you download the app as well so that you are able to use your standard websites. Be sure you read the fine print to make sure you are using a trustworthy VPN that will not share your information with third parties (usually a bigger risk for free VPNs).

Internet Access

Wireless internet is provided in your accommodations and will also be found on your university campus. Please understand that Internet in China is much different from Internet in the United States due to government filters, censoring, and a web infrastructure that is underdeveloped. Accessing Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc. is either slow or impossible unless you have a VPN. With that in mind, remember to develop a patience and understanding that this is a part of the cultural experience.

If you want to remain connected to your typical sites (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google, etc.) you may wish to consider downloading a VPN, or Virtual Private Network. This application for your computer allows you to access a public network while masking your identity and maintaining your privacy. By masking your IP address, you’re able to get around the censors and filters that slow things down. For more information you can perform a simple Google search and a ton of resources will be at your fingertips. Many of our past participants and staff members have used the following VPN’s: Astrill, Vyper, ExpressVPN, and VPN Shield. We suggest you download the VPN PRIOR to departure as download times in China can be slow.

Finances While Abroad

Bringing Currency to China

We generally do not recommend bringing large amounts of cash with you for security and safety reasons. However, as cash is the most commonly accepted medium of exchange in China, we do recommend that you have a sufficient amount of foreign currency available prior to your departure, about ¥200 to ¥300. Should your flight be delayed, this should be enough for you to take a taxi to your accommodation. You can exchange currency at most banks, AAA, or a standard currency exchange. In our experience, exchanging currency is most expensive in airports, so try to plan ahead.

Money Access in China

The use of an American ATM card is a convenient and fast method to withdraw money in China. Most of these transactions are assessed the wholesale exchange rate. However, we encourage you to check with your bank regarding fees for withdrawing money in a foreign currency overseas, as most banks charge fees for the currency conversation, as well as charging for use of an ATM that is out-of-network. Please also check with your bank to ensure that your PIN number and ATM card have been cleared for international use in China by letting your bank know before you leave. ATMs are readily available in the large cities and developed tourist areas of China, however, outside of these urban centers ATMs are not common and can be difficult to find.

Before departing the U.S., check if your U.S. bank has an affiliation with a bank in China, by contacting your current U.S. bank.

Banks in China

Some students also choose to open a Chinese bank account upon arrival in China. This is most prevalent for those who plan to transfer one large lump sum to use during their time abroad. There are some additional steps required to open a local bank account, so please just let our in-country staff know upon your arrival that you are interested and we will make sure to help you through the process.

As explained before, China is an extremely cash-based economy, so easy access with minimal fees to your money is ideal. Although a handful of locations take credit and debit cards, it is likely that a Chinese card will work much better than an American card. If this is a viable option for you, it is definitely something to consider and explore upon your arrival in China.

Credit Cards

If you plan to bring a credit card with you to China, please also make sure you inform your credit card company so that they do not shut down your card. Also make sure to check for any potential fees for using your card internationally.

Using a U.S. Bank Account

If you think you will want to stay with a U.S. bank account, then you will want to check in with your bank to ensure you are aware of all the the possible fees you could accrue. You can avoid paying ATM fees by either joining a bank in the global ATM alliance or students have had success in using a back called, Charles Schwab. Charles Schwab is a great bank to use because they refund all domestic and foreign transaction fees worldwide and it is free to open an account. They never charge a fee but if the foreign bank does then Charles Schwab refunds the cost at the end of each month. Accounts can be opened online (details below). It is always good to check your local bank’s policy as well.

It usually takes 7-10 days for Charles Schwab to mail the actual ATM card (so don’t wait until the last minute to open an account). All transactions can be done online, including funding the account from other bank accounts you have in the U.S.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in China is considerably lower than that of the United States and thus day-to-day expenses will be less for most students. Local restaurants and on-campus cafeterias offer meals for as low as $1.50 USD, and local markets are typically much cheaper than U.S. supermarkets. American fast food restaurants exist and prices will be comparable to the U.S. Shanghai offers everything from low cost markets to high end designer stores making it easy to stick to whatever budget you have established.

Cultural Expectations

Cultural Expectations

When we talk about Chinese cultural experiences most students think of things like watching the Chinese acrobats, experiencing a tea ceremony or the moon festival. However, cultural experiences permeate every way of life when you study abroad. We have a motto here at TEAN: “It’s not wrong, it’s just different”. It’s a great reminder that just because it isn’t done as efficiently or logically as you do it, doesn’t mean it’s weird or wrong – just different. It’s always good to remember that varying normalities can be subjective, and there are reasons people do things differently. It keeps us unique, and it also keeps cultural differences alive. It doesn’t mean you always have to like the cultural differences, but we do encourage you to embrace them head on. After all, that is one of the greatest benefits of studying abroad.


This may seem silly to you now, but it is something students are always surprised by. Mattresses in China are much more firm than the standard American mattress. It is commonly thought in China that it is better for one’s back to sleep on a firm mattress as it prevents curvature or issue with the spine. Many Westerners who are accustomed to a plush, soft mattress may have trouble converting to the Chinese standard mattress. If you find yourself having this trouble, it is easy to purchase an inexpensive mattress topper for cheap at local stores.


Hopefully it will be no surprise to any of you that the food is very different in China. If you expected Chinese cuisine to be the same as American Chinese food, you’ll be in for a surprise. Here are a few things to keep in mind for your upcoming semester. Some students are surprised that dairy is uncommon, so you will not see it in a lot of dishes or on it’s own. While Western food is available, it is less common and will always be more expensive. The further away from major cities that you travel, the less common it will be. Farmers markets are quite prevalent in Shanghai and are very affordable. We recommend that you shop here to buy fresh vegetables and fruit to help keep you on budget for your semester. This is a great opportunity to try new things and expand your palate!

Air quality

Contrary to popular belief the air is not bad in Shanghai. Due to Shanghai being right on the ocean, it helps keep the air quality better. The smog can be much worse in Beijing. The U.S. Consulate in Shanghai also monitors the air quality and updates the information on a hourly basis. You can follow them on Twitter and even turn on alerts if you want to get notifications right to your phone. Students with asthma or allergies should definitely plan to keep an eye on the air quality index. Some students will choose to utilize the ever popular face masks on particularly bad days. If you choose this route, just be sure you are purchasing a good quality mask.


Even if you have a strong proficiency in Mandarin, you are bound to encounter a language barrier during your time in China. Whether it’s encountering Cantonese, a Shanghainese accent, or a slang term, some things just cannot be taught in class but are learned through your experiences! It is important to remember to always be patient and polite and know that it is always ok to ask questions – that’s the best way to learn and get the most out of your experience! It’s a good idea to have a language app downloaded to your phone, or a mini dictionary to carry around to help you when you need it. TEAN will provide taxi cards for the Fudan campus, the local hospital that takes your TEAN provided CISI insurance, and for your accommodation. It’s a good idea to also make taxi cards for any other location you frequent.

We also encourage you to take advantage of the UVA language course. You will have 4 days of classes per week where you can practice, plus the added support of a UVA trained language professor. Students frequently ask questions, and it’s a great way to clear up something new you encountered and learn from your classmates’ experiences as well.


Laundry is included in both housing options. You will find though that dryers of the same strength are a lot less common, if available at all. Most people in China air dry their clothes, you can see this evident by the lines strung between buildings all throughout the city and country. For some, the adjustment of not having a dryer can be a huge cultural change. Drying racks are very common, and are provided in the TEAN off campus apartments, and should you need your own, you can be purchase a cheap drying rack at the local Walmart. Air drying your clothes is also better for them and better for the environment. It may take a little more patience and planning, but it is a cultural experience.

Level of cleanliness

The general level of cleanliness in China is different from the U.S. so it is best to manage your expectations before you arrive. Also anticipate spitting and smoking as a very common thing. Non smoking areas are quite rare but do exist. If you live in the TEAN off-campus apartments, cleaning staff will come into the TEAN apartments but they will do a basic cleaning. You are expected to keep your apartment tidy and clean. Regardless of which housing you select, your apartment will stay as clean as you keep it!

Just always keep in mind our mantra here at TEAN: It’s not wrong, it’s just different!