CIEE China

CIEE Shanghai

Immerse yourself in Chinese language and culture in the large, bustling city of Shanghai, China. Students live with host family or in student housing and take classes in Mandarin Chinese language as well as courses in Chinese politics, economics, history and society.   Students also will participate in and educational excursion to such places as Beijing or Nanjing.

Check out the Cost section below to learn about CIEE scholarship options!

More information available at CIEE.

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All Messiah approved semester-long, off-campus programs are approved and designed to meet the requirements for the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI). To learn more about the process, please explore the ELI Off-Campus Study Information Page.

It is important for Messiah University students to grow in their faith while studying abroad. Since the CIEE Shanghai program does not have a faith component, students will do the following as part of the Experiential Learning Initiative (ELI) requirements in partnership with their ELI Advisor:

  • Prior to their experience, students will submit a 1-2-page plan outlining the prominent faith traditions of the country they will be studying in and outlining their plan for integrating and exploring their faith during their semester abroad.
  • While abroad, students will electronically submit (in Terra Dotta) at least six journal entries (minimum two paragraphs each) on their personal faith journey in their cross-cultural context, which could include a comparative reflection on cultural practices of Christianity in the new culture (or absence of religious practices) versus their home culture. (ex. syncretism through cultural lenses; cultural views of Christ in wealth versus poverty; insights of faith drawn from another cultural point of view, etc.)
  • Students who do not complete the above components will be placed on chapel probation the semester after they return.

Note: This is effective starting fall 2017.

  • Sophomores, juniors, seniors

  • 2.75 GPA or higher

  • Chinese majors or minors should complete four semesters of university-level Chinese before participating in the program.
  • Since studying off-campus for a semester is a privilege, please note the following implications of being place on probation at Messiah University:

    Chapel Probation: A student currently on chapel probation for the first time (or with an impending chapel probation for the upcoming semester) will be required to communicate or meet with the Director of the Agape Center for Local and Global Engagement to determine the potential impact on the student’s upcoming semester off-campus.  If a student has been placed on chapel probation more than once during their time at Messiah, they will not be eligible to study off-campus for a semester.

    Academic Probation or Low GPA: A student on academic probation or whose GPA drops below 2.75 will be not be eligible to study off-campus.


    Disciplinary Probation: A student who has been placed on disciplinary probation at any time during the off-campus study application / acceptance process will be required to meet with the Director of the Agape Center for Local and Global Engagement to determine the potential impact on the student’s upcoming semester off-campus.


Off-Campus study is a time of challenge and change. The following are some things you should understand about this program before you participate

  • Being a minority-- students may experience alienation or a sense of invasion when living in China because China is predominantly Han Chinese with little to no immigration from neighboring countries and thus foreigners are oftentimes stared at or taken pictures of because they look different.
  • Large urban environment – relying on public transport/commuting
  • Personal space-- students are not used to the cramped public areas and sometimes misread when someone inches past them as a personal attack-- personal space is different in China
  • Difficulties accessing familiar internet sites (facebook, google, etc)
  • Unfamiliar food options, even when cooking for self
  • Not drinking local tap water
  • Poorer air quality (particularly, implications if you have asthma or respiratory problems)
  • Difficulty finding clothing/shoes for larger/taller sizes
  • Support system abroad -- (i.e. friends with whom you can digest experiences or challenges you may be facing when you cannot contact their family/friends from home)
  • Cross-cultural differences in instruction-- students may not have their expectations met because instruction is different and thus may struggle to adjust their learning style
  • Foreign environments can exacerbate issues such as mental illness if untreated
  • Work load -- Chinese is a difficult language that demands investment, but students are easily overwhelmed if they are hesitant to learn another language or haven't studied Chinese before
  • Communicating their needs clearly and across culture


Courses may meet major or general education requirements.

Courses will appear on Messiah transcripts with letter grades.

Students will meet their third language/cross-cultural requirement by participating in this program.  Students will not earn 3 credits, rather the requirement will be waived.

Pass/Fail Option

During their university careers, students may take a maximum of four courses on a pass/fail (P/F) basis with these conditions: 

  • Such a course must be from a discipline other than those required for the student's major or minor.
  • Courses fulfilling requirements for a major, minor, or general education may not be used.
  • Students may declare their intention to take a course under the Pass/Fail option when they register or through the first calendar week of classes at the beginning of the new term. Students may also select to return to the letter grade system during this same time period. The selection cannot be changed after the first calendar week of classes.
  • The cut-off point to obtain a P is C–.
  • The instructor will submit only conventional letter grades to the Registrar's Office. This office will then convert the grade to P or F. (An instructor does not know which students are taking a course on a pass/fail basis.

The first FIVE DAYS of your classes are critical:

Recognizing that courses change while abroad, a student is required to communicate to the Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes if their Off-Campus Course Approval Form in Terra Dotta has changed since the original submission/approval. Specifically, if a student desires to change a course to a pass/fail instead of a letter grade, this must be approved by Messiah University Registrar’s Office within the first FIVE DAYS of classes at the host partner program.


Students are required to take no fewer than 12 credits towards their overall degree requirements and no more than 18 credits. These 12-18 credits include courses taken as pass/fail and letter grades. However, in addition to those 12-18 degree credits, students who would like to audit an academic course for no credit are permitted to do so for up to one 4 credit hour course for the sake of learning, cultural immersion or personal interest at no additional charge. This audited course will not appear on the Messiah University student’s transcript.

What do you pay?

TOTAL COSTS = Fall Semester Messiah tuition + Messiah room + Student services fee + $1,910 off-campus study fee

TOTAL COSTS = Spring Semester Messiah tuition + Messiah room + Student services fee + $1,910 off-campus study fee

Explore possible scholarships for this program.

These Costs Include:

  • tuition and housing (some meals may be provided for students in homestays)
  • educational excursions
  • pre-departure, and re-entry orientation
  • international travel insurance
  • student services fee
    • Student Services fee includes access to various services available to all students through, including internet access to, the Learning & Writing Centers, Career Services, Academic Accessibility Office, Library, Department of Safety, Agapé Center for Local and Global Engagement, and other campus offices that provide services to students both on and off campus.

Note: additional costs students may encounter include (but are not limited to) local transportation, visas, passports, immunizations, and course fees. 

CIEE Scholarships

  • GAIN Travel Grant – all students who are Pell Grant eligible are guaranteed this award that will help pay for your transportation to China
  • Gilman Go Global – all students who are qualified applicants for Benjamin Gilman International Scholarship are guaranteed a $2,500 scholarship, plus a travel grant. You do not have to be chosen to receive the Gilman scholarship, but you must provide proof of application and having met eligibility criteria.
  • Alumni Siblings Discount – Students whose older sibling have participated in CIEE programs are eligible for a discounted price on their program.

Apply for these scholarships at

Credit Limit Policy for Semester-Long, Off-Campus Program

Typically when students study off-campus in Messiah-approved, semester-long programs, students earn between 13 and 18 credits. All students must be enrolled in at least 12 credits.

The tuition/fees charged for Messiah’s approved study abroad programs permits a student to complete 12-18 credits.  Messiah University will process up to 18 credits.  If a student completes more than 18 credits and would like the additional credits applied to their transcript, additional tuition will be charged for credits over 18 and would be assessed after the official transcript is received/processed by Messiah.

Updated 03 March 2023


Messiah Pre-Approval Deadlines

  • Fall - December 1
  • Spring – April 1


-Brittany Brendsel

"Every time you experience another culture firsthand, you get a glimpse of what it is like to see the world through the eyes of another. Once again, my worldview was shaped and stretched."