Shanghai, China

IFSA Summer Internships in Shanghai

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Program Overview


As China’s largest city and financial center, Shanghai presents a massive landscape of business opportunities to explore—even if you’ve never studied Chinese language. In eight weeks, you’ll develop intercultural and professional skills and gain work experience that makes a resume shine, in fields like information technology, finance, business development, marketing, and more.  

Beginners get acclimated with Essential Chinese, and students with some skills have the advantage of practicing without the stress of communicating only in Chinese. Add an elective class during one of our two sessions to earn additional credits. 

Details at a Glance

Application deadline

Summer: March 15

Minimum GPA


Credit load

3 - 7


Apartment/Flat, Single Room Option

Instruction language

Chinese, English

Language prerequisites

Some placements may require previous Chinese language experience

Visa required?

Yes. Learn More.

Apply Now


Enhance your learning and develop marketable skills with an eight-week Summer Internship in Shanghai.

Essential Chinese
If you’ve never studied Chinese before, you’ll take this introductory seminar taught intensively at the beginning of your summer session to complement the IFSA internship experience. By introducing key words and phrases in the classroom—and venturing out into the city to practice them—this class also provides insights into local customs and daily life in Shanghai. (1 U.S. semester credit hour)

International Internship Seminar
All internships include participation in the International Internship Seminar, which uses a blended learning framework with online and in-person components. Online modules provide structured opportunities to reflect on the practical experience of the internship, learn more about your host country’s business culture, and further develop the professional skills needed for a successful transition from undergraduate coursework into a career or graduate school. Plus, you will engage with an online global cohort of IFSA internship participants, gaining exposure to business cultures around the world. At your IFSA location, you will meet in-person with fellow interns to participate in exclusive field visits, learn from guest speakers about working across cultures, and attend workshops on leveraging your strengths for your future job search at home or abroad. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

You may enroll in one additional class in either Session 1 or Session 2. Not all classes may be offered in a given term. Click on each link below for a detailed class syllabus.

Session 1 Classes

City and Environment
With a rapidly growing population, rising lifestyle expectations, and continuing industrial production, urban China’s usage of water and energy resources is a key question for those concerned with a sustainable future. This class will localize these issues by investigating Shanghai as a case study of urban environmental issues in China. How does Shanghai face the challenges of resource use and waste that its sprawling urban footprint creates? How sustainable can Shanghai become? (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Chinese Language
No prior language study is required. A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student’s appropriate language level. (4 U.S. semester credit hours)

Session 2 Classes

China: Economic Giant
This class explores China’s emergence as a global economic power. The phenomenal changes seen in the Chinese economy since radical reforms began in 1978 serve as a backdrop for understanding more recent policy shifts and global trade strategies. Students will examine challenges encountered by the Chinese government in sustaining high-speed economic growth, with case studies such as infrastructure investments and supply chain disruptions. In addition, students will apply economic theories and situate them in geographical and historical contexts when analyzing today’s sociopolitical consequences. (3 U.S. semester credit hours)

Chinese Language
No prior language study is required. A placement exam during on-site orientation determines each student’s appropriate language level. (4 U.S. semester credit hours)

IFSA internships include real-world work experience, along with developing intercultural skills and experiences that are key to personal, academic, and professional success. Expect to devote a total of 120 hours working with your host organization, with supervision from your seminar instructor, coordinated by on-site IFSA team members. In addition, interns complete the International Internship Seminar for 3 U.S. semester credit hours. Internships are not remunerated.

Students have interned at Chinese and international non-profits, corporations, and think-tanks that promote public or environmental health in Shanghai.

Your goals are carefully considered, tailoring the placement process to ensure the best possible fit. Keep in mind that final placements depend on your skills, prior experience, and availability. Although every effort is made to match your placement with your preferred field or area of business, it can’t be guaranteed. Most internships are conducted in English. If you have had at least four semesters of Chinese language instruction, you can ask your IFSA Enrollment Counselor about opportunities to conduct your placement in Chinese.

Application. After you submit your application, resume, and IFSA Internship Intent Form, an IFSA Enrollment Counselor and an on-site IFSA Team member will work with you to identify your professional strengths, review your goals, and refine your internship interests to establish a match. From there, you’ll have an interview with your potential internship host. You will be provided with tips and resources to prepare for your interview.

Sample Placements. The following are examples of internships IFSA students have recently completed. Placement options vary from term to term.

Organization: This is a large venture capital startup incubator with a focus on tech companies. Start-ups apply to the incubator, which matches them with resources to help them grow their business through a successful venture capital funding.
Subject Areas: Finance, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Information Technology, Marketing
Potential Projects: Depending on qualifications and skills, the intern may work directly for the incubator company itself on projects related to venture capital financial analysis or marketing. Alternately, an intern could be placed with a larger startup to work on projects related to project management.

Organization: This tech company represents a wide array of ticket sales across China and Asia for events such music and art, movies, theatre, sport, comedy, tours, and classes.
Subject Areas: Information Technology, Marketing
Potential Projects: This company relies heavily on data analysis of customer engagement and ticket promotions to maximize discounts and sales. You would engage in ongoing data analytics strategy, and analyze different approaches to various forms of customer engagement and sales across multiple social media platforms.

Organization: This incubator provides innovation and community services to innovators and professionals who aim to accelerate their personal growth and build networks around start-ups, scale-ups, and corporates.
Subject Areas: Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Marketing, Media/Multimedia Studies
Potential Projects: You may engage in market research, website management, or business development.

Organization: This digital health solution provider aims to build the largest digital healthcare ecosystem of its kind in the region.
Subject Areas: Business, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Health Administration/Management, Information Technology
Potential Projects: You may work in market/product research or database development.

Organization: A not-for-profit charitable organization registered in Shanghai with a mission to improve the education and general welfare of disadvantaged children in China.
Subject Areas: Elementary Education, Human and Child Development
Potential Projects: You will assist in teaching material development and class coordination.



  • You must be at least 18 years of age. Students under 18 may be accepted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must be currently attending or recently graduated from a U.S. or Canadian community college, technical college, two-year college, four-year college, or four-year university.
  • You must have completed at least one (1) full-time semester of study at your home institution before the beginning of the term.

Recommendation Letter
Not required.


Upon completion of your program, IFSA will send an official Butler University transcript to your home university with your coursework converted to the U.S. semester credit hour system. You will also have access to an unofficial transcript in your IFSA Student Portal. The transcript reflects classes taken, credits attempted, and grades earned during your term abroad. This service is included in your study abroad program at no additional cost. See our Transcripts page for more information.


Activities and excursions are designed to pull you into the communities you visit and encourage cultural connections of every kind. There’s no extra fee to participate in these optional outings—everything is included in your program fee.
Below are examples from previous terms; outings may be different for your program. We’ll make every effort to run them all, but sometimes things we can’t control, such as local regulations and health protocols, get in the way. As result, we cannot guarantee activities and excursions.


  • West Bank Gallery Walk: Learn how art fosters international exchange during a guided walk along the Cultural Corridor riverfront in West Bund, visiting art galleries featuring foreign and Chinese artists. The guided walk concludes at the lobby of the newly established West Bund x Pompidou Museum.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine Museum: Traditional Chinese medicine has more than 3,000 years of history. Through this guided tour, you will be introduced to the basic traditional Chinese medicine theories, useful daily diagnostics, and treatment methods including acupuncture and moxibustion, Chinese herbs, dietary adjustment, acupressure, and cupping.
  • Chinese Culture Workshop: Participate in the Chinese Culture Workshop and learn how to write Chinese calligraphy, play Mahong, and make Chinese dumplings.
  • Urban Planning Museum: Wonder what Shanghai will look like in 10 or 20 years? Learn about the history of urban development in Shanghai and see models of future planning at the Urban Planning Museum. You will also use the metro to visit important city landmarks, see traditional Shanghai architecture, and get a little taste of its diverse food and culture.
  • Suzhou Day Trip: Located at the lower end of the Yangtze River, Suzhou is famous for its resplendent gardens and beautiful scenery in addition to the city being one of the country’s four major embroidery centers in the silk industry. You will the explore this ancient water town and the garden style Suzhou Museum, designed by world renowned architect IM Pei.
  • Huangpu River Cruise: Feast your eyes on magnificent views of building skylines and landmarks as you travel along both banks of the Huangpu River, allowing you to see the architectural diversity. In the evening, secure your spot on the deck to watch as the city lights up in dazzling lights and to get the best view of four of the most prominent high rises in Shanghai: Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, and Jin Mao Tower.

Housing and Meals


Apartment/Flat, Single Room Option




Shanghai students are housed in international student apartments at the local university.  

Sample housing 

Take a look at an example of where IFSA students have stayed in past years to get an idea of what your Shanghai home might be like.  

  • Living space: Furnished four-bedroom apartments. Each student has a private bedroom with bed, desk, and storage. Apartment mates share two bathrooms, a living room, and kitchen. Bedding provided. Students provide towels and kitchenware basics.  
  • Location: A 15-minute walk from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE) classrooms and campus.  
  • Meals: No meal plan. Students prepare or provide their own meals, and there are many options in the university neighborhoods. Plan on spending $11 to $13 USD/day.  
  • Details: Emergency call system. Internet not included (about $9/month per student). Easy walk to public laundromat.  
  • Nearby: Supermarket and shops. Metro. Five Corner Square. University Street. Nanjing Road. Yew Garden. People’s Square. 

Dates and Fees

Term begins
Term ends
Program costs
Application deadline
Summer 2024 - Suspended
Late May 2024
Late July 2024
March 15, 2024 - Suspended

Get Started

Brittany Brooks

Brittany Brooks

Enrollment Counselor