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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.
This program concentrates on developing reading and speaking skills in standard Chinese (Putonghua, also called Mandarin). Chinese language courses are offered at upper-elementary, intermediate, and advanced levels by ECNU’s School of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language. You will take a language proficiency test at the beginning of the program to assess your abilities in listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and to determine your placement. You may be placed in different levels for reading-writing and listening-speaking.
Chinese in mainland China is taught using pinyin Romanization and standard simplified Chinese characters. Placement exams, texts, newspapers, and signage are in simplified characters. If your background is in traditional script (complex characters), you are urged to prepare for this adjustment.
- You will attend classes with UC students only.
- Class size averages between 8 and 12 students.
- Classes meet in the morning for 20 hours per week over six weeks for a total of 120 hours.
- One class focuses on conversation and listening; the other on reading and writing.
- Tutors provide individual or group tutoring in the afternoons or evenings.
- Language placement test
- 12 UC quarter units (two courses worth 6 UC quarter units each)
- Courses must be taken for the full approved units; the variable unit option is not available
- Letter grades for both courses; the pass/no pass grade option is not permitted
Cultural activities and excursions supplement the classes and non-credit electives may be available in such areas as calligraphy, Chinese paper cutting, and Kun Opera. Weekend excursions scheduled by the Study Center may include trips to areas around Shanghai.
Graduate students who attend the summer program focus on language acquisition; individual research goals are difficult to pursue during summer language study.
The Study Center arranges for Chinese student tutors. The tutor can answer questions, correct your writing, and serve as a general resource. The tutor usually is an advanced undergraduate or a graduate student. You must be proactive when working with a tutor; tutors are prepared to help explain what you do not understand, but they do not re-teach course material. Past UCEAP students have found tutors to be helpful both with academic work and as a connection to Chinese society.
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.
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.
Do not expect to have enough free time to pursue an internship during the summer program.
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.
Grades for this program are usually available in late September.
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 “F” visa is recommended for summer students. It does not require a physical health exam. The duration of the “F” visa can be up to 180 days, at the discretion of the consulate. You can request a single-, double-, or multiple-entry visa. However, the consulate determines the type of visa issued. If you only have a single-entry visa and wish to travel outside of the Chinese mainland (including trips to Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan ) during the term, you will need to pay for a reentry permit each time you return. Contact your local Chinese consulate for details.
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.
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
International student dorm rooms at ECNU have Internet access. You will need a network cable to connect your computer to the Ethernet socket.
There are three university computer centers, one in the Student Activity Center, one in the International Student Dorm Building No. 2, and one in the library. By putting money on a student ID card, you can use the computer centers, access library materials, pay for food on campus, and even get discounts for traveling. Lines at the computer lab are usually long, but you will learn which times are the least crowded.
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.
The Shanghai Study Center will reserve a double room for you at the International Student Dorm Building No. 2, an on-campus university dormitory for foreign students.You will share a room and the cost with another UC student.
The International Student Dorm Building No. 2 is equipped with beds, desks, wardrobes, TV, air-conditioning, private bathroom with Western-style toilets and shower facilities, public kitchen, and communal laundry room (shared with other residents on the same floor). Bathrooms are cleaned daily and sanitary conditions are bearable, but not pristine. Shower shoes (flip-flops) are highly recommended.
You cannot cook in your room, but there is a communal kitchen on each floor. The kitchens at both dorms are voluntarily cleaned by students using them, as are the dorm rooms. The communal kitchens consist of a small room with a small gas burner. Keep all your kitchen utensils and belongings in your own room, as theft can occur in the common rooms.
You are responsible for paying a deposit and the total cost of the room to ECNU in cash (RMB) immediately upon arrival at check-in. Travelers checks and credit cards are not accepted. The amount you need to pay will be given 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.
At ECNU, there are shared washing machines in the dormitories on each floor. There are no dryers so clothes must be line dried.
On campus there are two Western-style restaurants and three Chinese-style student cafeterias that accept either cash or a prepaid meal card. Off campus there are countless restaurants of all varieties and qualities. During orientation, you’ll be informed about good places to eat and popular menu choices (both in Chinese and English), so you can order on your own. There’s also a huge grocery store just outside the main gate which makes it easy to purchase whatever you want to cook and eat. There are plenty of American-type snacks available at this store.
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.
"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
There is also an ECNU clinic
that can handle normal maladies and routine emergencies.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If you are abroad
Carry local emergency contact information at all times:
Ambulance ......... 120
Fire .................... 119
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.