The Campus

The newly constructed NYU Shanghai campus is located in the Pudong district of downtown Shanghai. Fifteen stories tall, with two additional levels underground, the academic building contains 55,000 square meters (550,000 square feet) which houses an expansive library, with an extensive physical and electronic collection with access to NYU’s global library resources; a 300-seat auditorium; a 150-person colloquium space; a theater, music, and arts hall; and kitchen and dining facilities.

Generously equipped with classrooms capable of accommodating varying class sizes, dedicated floors for teaching and practical laboratories for various sciences, intimate study spaces, and faculty and administrative offices, the building will function as a campus unto itself and as the center of a thriving academic community.

Wireless IT services and a robust IT infrastructure ensure that the building, and by extension, the students and faculty, remain fully connected to the NYU global network.

The City

Shanghai is a place where soaring sky-scrapers cast shadows on old lane houses, where one-man rickshaws wait for passengers outside the station for one of the world’s fastest trains, and where fine cuisine from around the world and 50 cent fried rice are available on the same street. With the constant interplay of change and development in a historical setting, Shanghai is truly an exciting place to be and lends itself to a vibrant student life in and outside of the classroom.

Shanghai is the largest city in China, with best estimates placing the population at 16 to 24 million inhabitants. The city has a truly unique history, even though it could be considered relatively young when compared with Beijing and other cities. This characteristic, however, is central to the framework that makes Shanghai what it is today. Besides being China’s economic center, it is also an increasingly popular tourist destination with more than three million tourists annually, a number that is on the rise.

Unlike other Chinese cities, Shanghai is a great city for day walking, and is easily accessible by public transportation and taxi. Though it can be an expensive city, your cost of living depends on where you shop; for the most part, however, students from the US will find that Shanghai is very affordable. While the city gives you the wonderful opportunity to fully immerse yourself in local Chinese culture and history, it is also the most cosmopolitan city in China and offers a truly unique perspective on Chinese life.

On the downside, Shanghai, like many other Chinese cities, is still growing. Lack of pollution regulations for cars and factories has had harmful effects on the city’s air quality. Traffic can also be a mess and it is not just because of cars. The city’s streets are loaded with all kinds of vehicles, including buses, bicycles, and motorcycles. Visitors should always be on their toes.

NYU Shanghai also makes the transition easier by taking students around for the first few days. During orientation, you’ll get to see all the famous sites like Xintiandi and the Oriental Pearl Tower as well as eat at some great local restaurants. Throughout the semester, NYU Shanghai hosts lots of other excursions and events, so students will never feel bored.


street corn

Cultural Comparison

It is always difficult to describe people in just a few words. While we attempt to look at the lives of the Chinese here, it is important to remember that these perspectives are from people studying abroad. It is essential to keep an open mind when looking at cultures other than one’s own. We may not agree with everything they do, but as guests in their countries, we should respect their customs and beliefs.


Lines are usually formed haphazardly and many students become frustrated when the locals “cut the line.” Our advice is to be patient.

The Chinese are also very strict about other table manners when they are eating with others. When pouring tea, you must always pour tea for your guests before pouring for yourself. 


Like other provinces of China, the Shanghainese speak their own dialect. Many people do speak Mandarin, but you will hear differences in their accents. Travel throughout Shanghai and explore as many aspects of the city as you possibly can.


One of the most popular hobbies in China is Tai Chi Quan ( 太極拳 ). Tai Chi is an internal martial art which promotes health and longevity. Early in the morning, people of all ages gather outside in large groups to exercise. They usually meet at parks and listen to the radio, which leads them through slow, synchronized moves. Chinese students often comment that foreigners think all Chinese people practice martial arts. This is a common misconception study abroad students should recognize. In the case of Tai Chi, for example, many people do practice it, but most of the people at parks in the morning are older Chinese men and women.