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This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
Click a heading below to see section content.
The Chinese University
Admission to Chinese universities, especially those of high standing such as UC’s partner universities, is a rare privilege. Access is highly competitive and limited. Only about 30 percent of Chinese youth complete high school and only 18 percent of these pass the national entrance examination for admission to institutions of higher education. A smaller fraction of this number is accepted into institutions that are as prestigious as Fudan University.
Each Chinese university is a community that operates essentially as a complete social unit. In the past, faculty, staff, and administrators lived on campus, but as housing restrictions decrease and available housing increases, more live in nearby neighborhoods.
Host University vs. UC Courses
You may have to exert effort to adapt to the teaching style and requirements of your classes. Courses will not be the same as they are at UC. The most common difference is that students, even in language courses, have fewer opportunities for class participation. Although certain Fudan courses have been chosen especially for UCEAP students, approaches still vary from teacher to teacher, and there may be less discussion in class than is typical in UC classes. However, at UC’s host universities, where increasing numbers of faculty have spent periods of study or research abroad, instructors generally assume that American students will raise issues; in some cases the instructors even require class participation. Nevertheless, be sensitive to the cultural norms of the Chinese teaching style and do not confuse seemingly authoritarian or didactic characteristics of those norms with the individual attitudes of instructors.
The course materials are likely to be less structured and less clearly outlined than is usual in UC courses. Week-by-week syllabi with specific assignments are rare. You must exercise self discipline and initiative, and organize your time and activities to give priority to your academic work. Your experience in a course will depend on the interest, thought, and diligence you put into your studies.
Even if you have a high level of Chinese language ability, you can expect to have some difficulty understanding Chinese university instructors, some of whom have regional accents, speak rapidly, and use specialized terminology. Approaching this as a challenge rather than a frustration will enhance your success and enjoyment in China.
In some language courses, there is more focus on memorizing conversations and reading drills than there is on freestyle speaking, conversations, and on learning characters.
- Minimum of 24 UC quarter units; usually five or six courses
- Two courses from the UCEAP recommended course list
The curriculum focuses on Chinese economic development and business, China’s rapidly expanding role in the world economy and international relations, and Chinese society and culture in the era of globalization. Shanghai and the Yangtze Delta economy provide an ideal locale for case studies of economic development in a changing cultural, political, and international environment. Limited Chinese language study is available at the elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels.
If you have advanced Chinese language skills, you may be able to take a course from regular Fudan University offerings with approval of the instructor and the UCEAP Study Center Director. At the beginning of each term, lists of Fudan course offerings (taught in Chinese) are available in the individual departments; visit each department to learn which courses are being offered.
Previously Offered Courses Include:
- Dynamics of the Chinese Economy
- Marketing Management
- Financial Development in China
- Chinese Culture, Society, and Globalization
- Consumer Behavior
- Chinese Economic Reform and Development
You preregister for courses prior to the start of the program. You will receive instructions and a course list in late December or early January via email.
You can adjust your schedule during the registration period. Final course registration takes place after arrival in Shanghai at both the host university and through MyEAP. Fudan University has a strict two-week add/drop period that you must follow.
UC quarter units are based on the contact time of each course and typically range from 3.0 to 6.0 UC quarter units depending on the number of sessions a course meets over the term.
Independent study, called a UCEAP Special Study Project, can enrich your experience in China with research or an internship. Independent study may count as one of your elective courses.
Special Study Projects are under the general direction of the UCEAP Study Center Director and the supervision of a local faculty member or other qualified professional on-site. They are a maximum of 6.0 UC quarter units though units may vary depending on the type and amount of work involved.
Prior to departure you should explore possible research topics or internships and consult appropriate UC campus faculty members for advice.
After arrival in Shanghai you will complete a Special Study Project form and a formal research proposal or plan of study in consultation with the UCEAP Study Center Director and the host university faculty member or other designated supervisor.
Course requirements will usually be outlined in a syllabus supplemented by the instructor’s explanation of the requirements. Although practice varies, regular university courses usually have one midterm exam and one final exam or written report. Most instructors do not give frequent short quizzes. Regular attendance is required. Absences exceeding 30 percent in any course result in an automatic Fail (F). If you must be absent for an emergency or personal reason, always seek the professor’s approval. Additional attendance and tardiness policies may be in effect; it is your responsibility to know the policies for each course.
In Chinese language classes, attendance is often taken during each class and absences result in a lower grade. If you miss more than 25 percent of a language class, you will not be permitted to take the final exam and will receive a failing grade for the course.
Exams in the language curriculum may be made up by staff, not necessarily in close consultation with the instructor. Tests are standardized for each level and therefore may not always cover material exactly as it was presented in class.
If you are absent from the final exam without permission, you will not be given a second chance to take the exam. If you are more than 15 minutes late, you will NOT be allowed to take the final exam.
Questioning an instructor about test scores or grades in China is a delicate matter. First ask the advice of the Study Center Director. The final UC grade for a course is assigned by the instructor if he or she is a UC faculty member; grades for other courses are assigned by the Study Center Director based on the instructors’ reports. You may discuss questions about your grades or special circumstances that may affect your academic performance with the Study Center Director.
Grades for this program are usually expected around late August to late September.
Early grades are not possible as the timing is based on host university processes.
For more information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
"Try to leave behind your Western notions of the world and try to think of new behaviors in Chinese terms. It will make you more understanding and tolerant." - UCEAP Student
Improve Your Language Skills
Have a good Chinese-English dictionary available on arrival. The dictionary compiled by the Beijing Language Institute is recommended; the American edition, the Pinyin Chinese-English Dictionary, is available in paperback (Wiley, 1982).
UCEAP students generally prefer the Concise English-Chinese, Chinese-English Dictionary by A. P. Cowie and A. Evison (The Commercial Press, 1986). It is also printed in China and readily available.
Liang Shih-Chiu’s pocket Practical Chinese-English Dictionary, printed in both Hong Kong and Taiwan, is another suggestion.
Students working in pre-modern China Studies should take their favorite Chinese-English reference books as they are virtually unavailable in China.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Official UCEAP Start Date
Travel to Your Host Country
The duration of the “X2” visa can be up to 180 days, at the discretion of the consulate. It does not require a physical health exam at the time of application.
Students with Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan passports must obtain “home visit permits” to enter China and do not need to apply for a visa. Contact your local Chinese consulate for more information.
Insurance for Personal Possessions
You cannot leave the academic program before your exams are officially over. You are not permitted to ask for a change in exam dates to accommodate your holiday travel schedule or because of non-refundable plane tickets. See the program calendar on the UCEAP website
for departure dates.
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Internet access is available in student rooms at Tonghe Apartments and Fudan’s Foreign Student Apartments. You will pay a fee for installation and use. In addition, there are many wireless hot spots on the Fudan campus, and you can also use the on-campus computer center and access points in the library.
There are also a few public Internet cafés in Shanghai. Try the Shanghai Library as an access point (and get a library card while you are there).
You are required to register with local authorities within 24 hours whenever your housing changes, even if you are sleeping on a friend’s sofa for two weeks. If you do not follow proper registration requirements, you may experience difficulties with local police or other authorities and you may be fined. UCEAP will not assist you in this matter.
You will live in either the on-campus Foreign Students Apartments (FSA) or in the Tonghe Apartments, a privately owned off-campus facility located across the street from the FSA. A housing application will be sent to you during the application process and placement will be announced prior to departure. Permission to live outside of assigned options will require a written request to and subsequent approval from the Study Center.
The Foreign Students Apartments Main Building is 23 stories and has over 700 rooms, both singles and doubles. The new Foreign Students Apartments 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. You will be required to present your identification card to enter the building and to receive visitors. There is also a laundry service, mail room, mini market, and small lounge. You can park your bicycle in the basement. Rooms are accessed by one of four elevators in the building.
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. 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.
Each furnished room is equipped with a private bathroom, balcony, air-conditioner, card-operated (201 card) telephone, broadband Internet access, and cable television connection. You are responsible for paying all costs associated with Internet and cable usage. Television sets are not provided in the rooms, but you can rent them from the dorm.
Linens and towels are not provided in the individual dorm rooms. You must buy your own bedding, towels, pillows, etc. You can easily buy what you need at the dorm after arrival or, if you want a wider selection, in nearby stores for reasonable prices.
Chinese citizens cannot live in the Foreign Students Apartments. Many students who do not live in the Foreign Students Apartments choose to live in the Tonghe Apartments across the street, which are also furnished and have a similar layout. Many students prefer Tonghe because the rules and regulations regarding visitors are not as restrictive as at the Foreign Students Apartments. The Study Center will provide additional information prior to departure.
You are responsible for paying a deposit and the total cost of the room in RMB immediately upon arrival at check-in. The amount you need to pay and payment instructions will be provided in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist in the spring.
Financial aid will not make housing payments on your behalf. Financial aid offices report financial aid commitments to UCEAP. These funds are applied to the UCEAP student account. If there is a credit balance, UCEAP will request a disbursement based on the UCEAP financial aid disbursement schedule.
Be sure to register with local authorities, especially if your housing situation changes during the program. Housing for foreigners must be officially registered with the Chinese government at all times. Unfortunately, not all apartments are properly registered. In the past, some students have been evicted for living in illegal housing. If you do not follow the proper registration process, you may experience difficulties with local authorities and may be fined. UCEAP will not be able to assist in such a situation.
Be cautious when using “private” agents to help you find housing. UCEAP recommends that you consult with the Study Center before making a deposit or entering into any agreement to avoid scams.
There are many locations to eat. There is a student cafeteria within a five minute walk of the dorm where one can get a good lunch for around one dollar. The dormitory has a coffee shop that is open until 9 p.m. There are several other student cafeterias on campus. Details about the wide variety of restaurants outside the campus will be provided during orientation.
In addition to the existing local resources (local magazines and websites), the Study Center staff has information on academic, cultural, and social events, and will arrange a few activities and excursions for the UCEAP group.
Tutoring English is also a good way to mingle with Chinese students. In addition, both UCB and UCLA have alumni associations in Shanghai that organize activities on a regular basis. Fudan students have also recently started a Fudan-UC student alumni association. Shanghai has developed an active club and disco scene that is popular on weekends.
"Step out of your comfort zone and hang out with Chinese local students! They’re really nice and want to meet foreign students to practice their English. The local students are shy so take the initiative to meet them!" - UCEAP Student
Students with Disabilities
While in China, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what they find in the United States. Standards adopted for making roads and buildings accessible to persons with disabilities are subject to the Law on the Handicapped, which calls for their "gradual" implementation; however, compliance with the law is lax. Even in newer areas of large cities, sidewalks often do not have curb cuts, making wheelchair or stroller use difficult. Many large streets can be crossed only via overhead pedestrian bridges not accessible except by staircase. Although some sidewalks have special raised “buttons” or strips to help those who are blind or have restricted sight to follow the pavement, they are unreliable. While most public buildings have elevators, they are often locked, and the responsible official with the key must be located before they can be used.
In major cities, public restrooms in places visited by tourists usually have a least one handicap-accessible toilet. International signage is used to identify handicap-accessible facilities. Free or reduced-entry fares on public transportation are sometimes provided for a handicapped person and a companion, although this is usually stated only in Chinese and is often restricted to residents with special identification cards.
Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
The UCEAP Insurance Plan
covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If you are abroad
Carry local emergency contact information at all times:
Ambulance ......... 120
Fire .................... 119
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