About Shanghai


History of the Jia

The Shanghai Jia (上海家,pronounced "jah"), is the nickname used for the Shanghai house. Constructed in 1926, the original facility was built toward the end of the foreign concession period of Shanghai's history when the city was still divided in control by foreign colonial powers. The facility was built to house the Chinese owners of a German-affiliated paint company and reflects a European "garden-villa" style residence. During the rise of the Communist party, the house, along with many other residences of its size, was controlled by the government and made a home for multiple families in order to "redistribute wealth" amongst the working classes. In the 1970's and 80's, when China began opening up to more economic development, the property served as offices for several businesses. The facilities and property were renovated and expanded in the late 1990's, adding two additional buildings. The Jia is in one of the most historic and convenient locations in the city.


The Shanghai Jia is located in the beautiful and historical Jìng'an district – exactly a 10- minute walk west from Jing'an Temple. Although accessible to the heart of the bustling Jing'an district, the house sits off of the historic and quaint Yuyuan Road, Lane 532, which is full of preserved, historical residences. Within a 10-minute walk of the Shanghai Jia, students can reach the Jing'an Park, West Nanjing Road, a fantastic mix of local and western restaurants, side-alley markets, two subway stations (Jing'an Temple and Jiangsu Road), and a major business district that features some of
Shanghai's largest commercial high-rises. It is the best blend of familiar, western places, sprinkled with "real China" markets, noodle-shops, dumpling stands, and quaint alleys. It is also located 1.5 km north of the American consulate and the Héngshān International Community Church. Besides the student rooms and a faculty apartment, the property also features a private garden and accommodates the program offices, three classrooms, a library, computer lab, a large student lounge room, and a study room.

Shanghai Municipality

The Shanghai municipality consists of 15 districts, four counties, and the Pudong New Area, and covers an area of 6,341 sq. km (2,448 sq. miles), with its urban area measuring 2,643 sq. km (1,020 sq. miles). The eight main urban districts, running from east to west, are identified here.

Located across the Huangpu River from the Bund, Pudong (literally "east of the Huangpu") was formerly backwater farmland before 1990 when it was targeted by then- Chinese President Deng Xiaoping to lead Shanghai and the rest of China into a new age of economic growth. Today it is home to the Lujiazui Financial District with its many modern economic monuments (Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai World Financial Center, Shanghai Tower), the Shanghai stock exchange, Asia's largest department store, a riverside promenade, and the Pudong International Airport.

Huangpu (Downtown Shanghai)
The city center of old Shanghai lies in a compact sector west of the Huangpu River and south of Suzhou Creek. It extends west to Chengdu Bei Lu (the North-South Elevated Hwy.), and encompasses the Bund, People's Square (Renmin Guangchang), and the Shanghai Museum.

Nanshi (Old Chinese City)
Though officially part of Huangpu District, this area immediately south of downtown and the Bund, between the Huangpu River and Xizang Nan Lu, is often considered its own neighborhood because as the old Chinese city, it was different in every way from the western concessions. Today's old Chinese city (or Old Town) includes the Old Town Bazaar with its traditional shopping, Yu Yuan (Yu Garden), Shanghai's old city wall, and the Confucian Temple.

(Northeast Shanghai) Immediately north of downtown Shanghai, across Suzhou Creek, this residential sector along the upper Huangpu River was originally the American concession before it became part of the International Settlement in colonial days. Today it's a developing neighborhood with a few sights: the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, the Lu Xun Museum, and the Duolun Lu Commercial Street.

Luwan (French Concession)
Beginning at People's Square (Xizang Lu) and continuing west to Shanxi Nan Lu, this historic district was the domain of the French colonial community up until 1949. The French left their mark on the residential architecture, which boasts such tourist sights as Fuxing Park, the historic Jin Jiang Hotel, the shops along Huaihai Zhong Lu, the new Xin Tiandi development, and the former residences of Sun Yat-sen and Zhou Enlai.

Jing An (Northwest Shanghai)
This is where the Jia is located. North of the French Concession and part of the former International Settlement, this district has its share of colonial architecture, as well as the modern Shanghai Centre. Two of the city's top Buddhist shrines, Jing An Si and Yu Fo Si (Jade Buddha Temple), are located here, as are a number of Shanghai's top hotels and restaurants.

Xuhui (Southwest Shanghai)
West of the French Concession and south along Hengshan Lu, this area is one of Shanghai's top addresses for cafes, bars, and shops. Sights include the Xujiahui Cathedral, Longhua Pagoda, Tai Kang Road, the Shanghai Botanical Garden, and the former residence of Soong Chingling.

Changning (Hongqiao Development Zone)
Starting at Huaihai Xi Lu, directly west of the Xuhui and Jing An districts, this corridor of new international economic ventures extends far west of downtown, past Gubei New Town and the Shanghai Zoo, to the Hongqiao Airport.

Program Office

The Program Office is situated on the ground floor of Building 1 and is open to students Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 12:00pm and 1:00pm to 5:00pm.

Living in Shanghai


Arriving in China

The group flight participants in the Shanghai Program will fly from LAX to Shanghai Pudong International Airport. Flight exempt students should follow the instructions that follow at their point of entry into China. When you arrive at your final overseas destination, you will have to pass through Immigration or Passport Control before leaving the airport. You will be asked to show your passport, visa, and possibly your Fudan University admission letter.  

U.S. citizens studying in China must apply for a regular student visa. Students will be given instructions on obtaining this visa well in advance of the program's start date. Please note that there is a fee associated with this visa. Non-U.S. passport holders must apply for a regular student visa as well to study in China and they might be required to have visas to enter some countries for a short-term visit. It is the responsibility of International Programs participants to make sure that they have all the necessary visas for the program country and the country of the Educational Field Trip BEFORE DEPARTING the U.S. Consult local consulates and/or embassies to obtain information about which countries require visas.

The next step in entering China is passing through Customs. Pepperdine students should pass through the gate posted "Nothing to Declare" (Green) since, as visitors they can expect to consume or carry out whatever they bring in.

Residence Permit Application 

When you arrive in Shanghai, you will be required to change your student visa to residence permit, which can grant your multiple entries to China. For starting this process, all program participants are required to register at the local police station within 24 hours after arriving in China, and Program Staff will help you to go through this process. Students will be then called for another appointment for applying the residential permit at the Shanghai Visa Office approximately two weeks after their arrival in China. You will be responsible to pay the Residential Permit fee in local Chinese currency; credit cards will not be accepted. Please note that you will also need to have five extra passport photos; you can also take these at the photo booths located at most subway stations.

Transportation to Your Facility

By Taxi

Taxis are relatively easy to find and inexpensive as a mode of transportation in Shanghai. Although some taxi drivers speak a little English, most will speak very little if any at all. If you do not feel comfortable pronouncing the tones of the house address correctly, you can always use the address card provided to you upon arrival, which will also be available at the Program Assistant's desk. Taxi fares start at 14RMB for the first 3 kilometers, and most taxi fares within the central area of Puxi cost less than 30 RMB. Take note that taxi fares increase to 18RMB past 11:00pm.

By Train

Shanghai has three train stations. One is simply referred to as the "Shanghai Railway Station" (上海火车站).The other station is known as "Shanghai South Railway Station" (上海南火车站).  The third is "Hongqiao Railway Station," (上海虹桥火车站).  All three are accessible by metro.  

Public Transportation Cards

Public transportation cards are widely used in Shanghai, and allow you to pay for buses, subway, and taxi fares with a single, electronically registered card. You can purchase a transportation card in any subway station with a deposit of 50 RMB (refunded on return), and add money at any station. This is a very convenient way to be sure you will always have money set aside or available to return to the Shanghai facility.

You will be provided with a Shanghai Public Transportation card, pre-loaded with 50 RMB of credit. Each student that is issued a card must return the card at the end of the semester to the program office; if your card is lost or stolen, you are responsible for purchasing a new one that must be given to the program at the end of the semester. You are responsible for putting additional money on the card if you wish.

Getting Around the City

Shanghai has an extensive and very convenient public transportation system including subways and buses. The Jia is located within a 10 minute walk of Jing'an Temple Subway station, and Jiangsu Rd. station. Although the bus system is a little more complicated to initially figure out, buses are also extremely affordable and convenient (and help you to practice reading Chinese characters!)

Taxis are a relatively cheap means of transportation in the city. Taxis are sometimes difficult to get during rush hour or on rainy days.  

During orientation in Shanghai, all students will be given a public transportation card; money can be loaded on to this card to use on subways, buses, and in taxis.

China does have Uber and a local version called "Didi Chuxing."  Both are great to use, but may require a local bank card.  

Shanghai is a very walkable city.  Many students purchase bicycles, which is a convenient and easy way to get around.  



What are your smartphone options?

  • We require students to secure a smartphone with an international calling and data plan or an in-country call and data plan in order to take advantage of all International SOS applications (our travel assistance provider) and to be able to be reached in cases of emergency. Please consider one of the following options:

U.S. Options

  • Use your existing smartphone. This may be possible depending on your carrier and smartphone. Contact your cellular provider to understand how your phone would work abroad and about any international calling and data plans available.
  • Purchase a new U.S. smartphone with global service (e.g. google phone plan, select T-Mobile, and select Sprint offerings).
  • Purchase an international sim card similar to one found at Cellular Abroad. Please visit this page to learn about unlocking your smartphone and contact your current provider to know if your phone can/should be unlocked and how to do so.

Shanghai Options

  • Students can purchase international roaming but it is more expensive, and most do not opt for this.
  • Students can and often do buy local phones. Chinese brand smart phones tend to be cheaper than iPhones, around the $200 USD range.
  • You can purchase a local sim card.
  • The most popular brand/plan is with China Unicom
    • Unlimited data (4G speed up to 2 gigabytes, after which the speed slows), 300 minutes of talk; no international roaming
    • Cost: ~100 yuan/month (around 18 USD/month)*.
    • Initial contract requires 100 yuan up front, plus the first month fee*.

*Please Note: These prices are as of November 2018, and are subject to fluctuation.


There is a public phone in the lobby that can call outside of the facility, either locally or internationally. Local calls can be made by dialing '0' to reach the outside line, and then dialing the local number. International calls may only be made with the use of an International Phone Card, which you will receive from the Director. These are widely available in convenience stores or small shops and typically cost around $.07/min for calls back to the US. You can also research calling cards online that can be used with a local access number.

Many students also purchase a local SIM card to use with their cell phone and add a feature that allows international calls to be made from their cell phone. Others use Skype or similar internet solutions, although sometimes, internet speed can make good connections (especially with video) problematic.

Country and City Phone Codes

  • The country code for China is 86.
  • The city code for Shanghai is 21.
  • Mobile phones typically DO NOT have a separate city code; the number may be dialed directly from within China or from outside of China by adding the China country code at the beginning.

Thus, to dial the program office from the US, you should dial +011 (86 21) 5238 6807.

Emergency Numbers

  • Police : 110
  • Ambulance : 120
  • Fire : 119


Many students prefer to use Skype as an inexpensive and efficient method for communicating with friends and family.

Student Mail

Students may have personal mail sent to the program office: Please make sure your name is listed on the package. You will be notified by program staff if you have personal mail, and it may be picked up in the Program Office during normal working hours.

Postal Services

Post Office

The nearest post office is located near JingAn Temple at 1737 Beijing Xi Lu 北京西路
(on the corner of Wanhangdu Lu 万航度路). It is open from 7:00am – 7:00pm.

Express Mail Services

Should you need to send something via an express carrier (such as FedEx, DHL, etc.), please make arrangements with the program office for pickup and payment.

Program and Classroom Facilties

Classroom Facilities

The program has three classrooms on-site at the Jia. Typically, one day of the week students are bused to Fudan University and classes are held on-campus there. When classes are in session, please refrain from making noise outside the classrooms; if your room is directly above a classroom, please refrain from listening to loud music or making excessive noise while class is in session. Eating and drinking are not permitted during class nor is the use of cell phones.

The classrooms may be used for study during non-class periods throughout the day and into the evening. Equipment (which includes electronic devices within the classroom – projectors, computers, screens, etc.) may only be used by faculty or staff. Any items left unattended in the classrooms may be thrown away during cleaning periods. Classroom furniture and equipment must not be moved out of the classrooms without receiving prior permission from the Program Director.

Academic Partner: Fudan University (复旦大学 )

Pepperdine's Shanghai Program is honored to be partnered with Fudan University. Fudan University is one of the oldest leading, co-educational, and most selective universities in the People's Republic of China. Its institutional predecessor was founded in 1905, shortly before the end of China's imperial Qing dynasty. It is a comprehensive university highly ranked in physical and social sciences; considered one of the top 3 universities in China, it is widely considered an 'ivy-league university of the East.'

All Pepperdine students accepted into the Shanghai program will be invited to China under a study-abroad partnership with Fudan University, and all classes not taught by Pepperdine staff or faculty will be taught by Fudan University faculty. Classes are held at Fudan University once a week.

Student Rooms


Keys to rooms will be issued to each student upon request. In years past, most students do not use these keys, but rather keep their doors unlocked/opened. If a student does choose to request a key, he or she will be asked to pay the cost of a new key if it is lost or misplaced. Please report the loss of keys promptly. Keys must be handed into the Program Office at the end of each semester.

Keys will open your individual room door. The security of your belongings and whether your room door will remain locked/unlocked is up to you and your roommates. Please keep in mind that although we are a family, theft is still possible, and it is highly recommended to keep personal valuables adequately secured.

Student Kitchen

The kitchen is for communal use. There are utensils, crockery and cutlery available. Please wash and put these away after use and do not take them out of the kitchen. Be sure to label anything you put in the refrigerator. Refrigerators are located in the laundry room and the third floor lounge. The refrigerator located in the kitchen is for breakfast workers only and should not be accessed by any student. Students will be responsible for throwing away their own food.

It is critical that students clean up after themselves (wipe counters, hotplates, and wash any dishes used). Be aware of how easily illness can spread and use hot water and soap. It is each user's responsibility to keep these areas clean and tidy so that everyone can enjoy them. If the kitchen is not cleaned after use, the privilege of using this kitchen could be lost. When you leave the kitchen, please ensure that the stove is turned off.

Study Rooms

The reception area, conference room, sunshine room, student lobby computer lab, and classrooms may be used after-hours as study-areas. The large and small classrooms are available for quiet work. Please be respectful of people studying in these rooms. These study rooms and shared areas are open to all students 24 hours every day.


There are washing machines and dryers available for student use for free! Students are responsible for purchasing their own detergent and dryer sheets. Two sets of washers and dryers are available in the bathrooms of Building 3, and two sets are available in the laundry room of Building 2. Students are responsible for removing their own laundry from the laundry areas when finished. If you need to start a load, please place other finished laundry to the side in baskets provided in the room. Please see posted notices in laundry rooms for other details and instructions.


Students purchase lunches on their own using money Digitally Disbursed to a debit account of their choosing. Students can draw off individual amounts at local businesses or ATM stations or withdraw cash from their personal debit card. Students can save money by making large withdrawals, thus saving the processing fees.

Group dinners will be provided Monday through Friday at different local restaurants on a set, rotating basis, although some group dinners will be "on your own" – meaning, additional money will be disbursed to you to choose a dinner location. All dinners will be located within a convenient distance from the program house. Although group dinners will include a variety of western and Chinese restaurants, please be prepared for most Chinese cuisine to be vastly different from American or European cuisine. All meals will be prepared and served in accordance with local customs, and provisions cannot always be made for special diets.

Students are provided meals as follows:

  • 7 breakfasts per week at the Shanghai Jia.
  • Money for lunches Monday – Friday will be digitally disbursed
  • Group dinners will be at restaurants set on a rotating schedule.

Breakfasts and Lunches

A Chinese and American style mixed breakfast will be provided in the house daily, with baozi (steamed stuffed buns), mianbao (steamed rolls/bread), other local Chinese breakfast foods, and a selection of breads, jellies, spreads, cereals, yogurt and juices. Typically eggs and bacon or sausage are available every other day. Breakfast will be served in the Sunshine Room at the Jia everyday, 7:00am – 9:15am from Monday through Friday. You may not bring breakfast into class; since language classes are held each morning from 8:00am – 9:00am, it is recommended you eat before class. Breakfast will be left out until 9:15am. Lunches are completely up to you; you are highly encouraged to get to know some of the small shops and restaurants around the Jia and within walking distance at JingAn Temple. You are also free to use the program kitchen to make yourself meals according to your preference.

If a student wishes to invite a guest to either breakfast or dinner, they must first request permission from the Program Director.

Food must not be removed from the fridge or cupboards in the program kitchen without permission. Failure to comply with this rule will result in disciplinary action. Any left over food will be placed in the student refrigerator in the laundry room or in the small refrigerator in the sun room.


What do you need? What should you leave behind? How will you ever get all of your things into the suitcases the airline will let you check in? The answer to all three of these very valid questions is "LESS IS DEFINITELY MORE!" Do not take too much and choose carefully what you do take.

As to choice, that should be determined by two factors: climate and cultural differences. As to quantity, that will be determined by airline luggage restrictions. Airlines have strict luggage allowances, and they will charge you a costly excess baggage fee for exceeding the maximum weight or size allowed. In some cases they may refuse to allow luggage on the airplane.

Typical Luggage Allowance

Policies on maximum number of checked luggage, dimension and weight restrictions, and checked luggage fees vary from airline to airline. It is the student's responsibility to check with his or her airline for these luggage restrictions. Most airline carriers charge a fee for each piece of checked luggage. Fees vary by airline, and it is the student's responsibility to be prepared to pay these fees at the airport.

What to Take

During the week, students have a schedule much like Malibu. Classes and meals will take up most of the day, but evening activities may vary. The most common student dress is casual – jeans or khakis, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters and sweatshirts. Shanghai weather is full of extremes. Generally speaking, the summers (June – August) are quite hot and humid. The fall semester (September – December) will start very hot, then have several months of more moderate weather, and then start to get quite cold. The spring semester (January – April) will begin very cold, and gradually warm to be quite moderate.

How can you pack enough clothes for all the seasons? You may not be able to! There is good news, however; clothing in China is relatively inexpensive – depending on how well you learn to bargain! Availability of sizes (which generally tend to be smaller than western sizes) and the quality of manufacturing may vary, but as a general rule of thumb, supplemental clothing for all seasons can be purchased at relatively little cost. Keep in mind, however, cheaper costs are often accompanied by lower-quality and wide variety in sizes may be difficult to find at bargain prices.

Bring clothing that layers well or that comes in sizes you cannot do without. Start with jeans or slacks and a long-sleeved shirt. For really cold weather, add an under layer of thermal or silk underwear (one bottom and one top should be sufficient) and a top layer that is lightweight and warm (a hoodie or polar fleece pullover), which you can add or remove, depending on the temperature. The outer layer (coat) needs to be waterproof and warm. A winter coat or ski-type jacket is ideal for very cold weather and travel. It might also be desirable to have a long, dark-colored raincoat or pea coat for city wear. Three pairs of shoes should cover it: comfortable walking shoes are a must (waterproof is preferable), athletic shoes for daily wear and exercise, and nicer shoes for dressy occasions. In the summer and early fall months, sandals can relieve the humidity and heat considerably; closed-toed or sport-sandals are preferable to 'flip-flops,' as city life (and streets/restrooms/public transportation, etc.) can be dirty, and your feet may appreciate not being unnecessarily exposed. Because it is custom (both for traditional and hygienic reasons) to remove one's shoes when entering a residence, slip-on shoes are convenient.

Shanghai tends to be a fairly cosmopolitan city, and fashions and expectations for dress do not have many 'set rules.' You should, however, be aware that although there is a (relatively) large foreign population in the city, you should expect to be stared at and watched by locals occasionally – this increases exponentially when traveling to rural towns and cities. A good rule of thumb is to avoid wearing anything that draws unnecessary attention to you.

Suggestions from Program Alumni

  • Practical clothes that are dark-colored, machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, and colorfast will last longer and be more comfortable. Keep in mind that storage space is more limited in the Shanghai bedrooms than it is in the Malibu dorms.
  • Don't take too many shoes. You'll be much happier with a few pairs of versatile, comfortable shoes than a suitcase of shoes to match every outfit. Plus, shoes in China are inexpensive and very affordable!
  • Your stomach will likely go through an adjustment phase to local cuisine. This is normal, but plan on bringing anti-diarrhea tablets with you in case of "emergency."
  • You can find personal products like toothpaste, shampoo, soap, etc. overseas - often even the same brands. However, bring your favorite product if you can't live without it. The brands overseas may differ slightly from those in the U.S. Please keep in mind that Shanghai is a large, urban city; although public hygiene is much higher than average for other parts of China, plan on bringing anti- bacterial hand gel and a portable pack of wet wipes – especially when traveling.
  • Monasteries, temples, and other religious sites may require modest attire, which is defined both for men and women as covered shoulders and long pants (or skirts). Women may wish to carry a large, lightweight scarf during warm weather so they can quickly cover their shoulders.
  • If you are on medication, bring a supply from home. U.S. brands of medicine are often difficult to find in China, and prescriptions will not be filled overseas. Even generic brands of aspirin, cough syrup, etc., may be difficult to find (Chinese medicine is very different from Western medicine). It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to at least bring a small personal supply of over-the-counter basic stomach, cold and flu medicines (including Nyquil/Dayquil, Pepto Bismol, and an anti-diarrheal) and some type of painkiller (Aspirin, Advil, Tylenol, etc.). When traveling with a medication, keep it in its regular prescription container and keep a copy of your doctor's prescription with you. If you must take medication by injection (i.e., insulin) please carry your doctor's letter describing your condition and inform Pepperdine's staff overseas immediately upon arrival.
  • Bed linens are provided in the house but you need to take your own towels and washcloths. When you travel, you will find that many hotels do not provide washcloths. (If space is an issue, you can always get towels overseas. Just take one and purchase more if you need them.)


  • Slacks or jeans
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Warm sweaters/polar fleece pullover
  • Warm coat (which you may need to wear over dress clothes) and/or jacket
  • Warm, water-proof shoes or boots
  • Walking shoes
  • Underwear, warm socks
  • Cold-weather/rain gear: thermal underwear or heavy knit tights, gloves/mittens, warm hat or scarf
  • Warm pajamas and a lightweight robe
  • Slippers or sandals – bare feet aren't allowed in our houses or in hotel lobbies
  • Some special occasion wear (theatre, opera, banquet, a date?!)
  • Other Essential Items
  • Emergency envelope (see the Student Handbook for details)
  • Telephone calling card – purchase a local card upon arrival in Shanghai
  • Extra passport photos (at least five)
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Lightweight towel and washcloth (at least one of each; more can be purchased locally)
  • Backpack for weekend travel
  • Money belt or passport pouch (to store valuables under your clothes)
  • Umbrella (may also be purchased cheaply in Shanghai)
  • Flash drive
  • Spare contacts or glasses (although these can also be purchased locally at the glasses market if you know your prescription information)
  • Supply of prescription medication
  • Personal supply of basic over-the-counter cold medicine, painkiller (Advil, Tylenol, etc.), and anti-diarrhea medicine
  • Chargers for personal electronics
  • Ladies, you may want to bring a personal supply of feminine products!

A Few Tips

  • Avoid over-packing your bag so that the airport security screener will be able to easily reseal your bag if it is opened for inspection.
  • Avoid packing food and drink items in checked baggage.
  • Place identification tags with your name and phone number on all of your baggage, including your laptop computer. It is a good idea to place an identification tag inside your baggage as well.
  • Pack one change of clothing and necessary toiletries in your carryon luggage. Suitcases do not always arrive when you do.
  • Roll your clothes instead of folding them. This saves space and leaves room for overseas purchases.
  • Wear your bulkiest, heaviest shoes and your coat or jacket on the plane so you won't have to pack them.
  • Use the space inside your shoes for small items (socks, toiletries, etc.)
  • Don't forget to save space for your books!
  • DO NOT pack money or credit cards in your checked luggage.
  • SAVE SPACE for your return trip – luggage restrictions can be even more strict flying from Asia to the United States.

Do Not Bring

  • Linens
  • Expensive jewelry or other valuables
  • Too many of one item
  • Sophisticated electronic equipment
  • Things on the packing list that you'd rather buy overseas
  • Anything you don't absolutely need

Electrical Appliances

Voltage and plugs differ in China. Using an American appliance (110 volts) on Chinese electricity "fries" the appliance. Voltage converters commonly sold tend to work well, but this can depend on the specifications of the individual devices that are connected – use with caution. A good rule of thumb is to always double-check the required voltage currency before plugging in anything. Most computers and sophisticated electronic equipment (digital cameras, etc) manufactured in the last few years will have 'universal power supplies' that will operate to the manufacturer's specifications on either 110v or 220v current.

Chinese plug shapes do differ from those used in the United States, but adapters can be purchased cheaply at stores near the Jia (less than $1 USD). Purchasing these adapters before arriving in Shanghai is not necessary. Adapters are also provided in the Jia.

It is not recommended to bring along hairdryers, straighteners, or curling irons, as these can be obtained cheaply in China, and can be used without a voltage converter. Rechargeable batteries in normal sizes (AAA, AA, etc.) are also widely and cheaply available in China; bringing your own is not necessary.

Student Employment

Resident Advisors

One male and one female RA are hired and trained by the IP Office prior to departure. RAs are expected to work together with the Program Director, Visiting Faculty, and IP Office to create a strong learning community, maintain Pepperdine standards, and promote the IP mission statement within the group. Through planning events, acting as a leader and working as a liaison between the students and the Program Staff, RAs are essential for the development of camaraderie within the house.

Media Coordinator

One IP Media Coordinator (IPMC) is hired and trained by the IP Office prior to departure. The IPMC acts as a liaison to the IP Office for collecting photos and video footage from the program and then creating videos from that footage. The IPMC creates two end-of-the-semester videos, an Orientation House Tour video, a service-oriented video, and a 5-minute video to be shown at The Return the following Fall semester. Additionally, they are responsible for creating two "check in" videos per month while abroad. These videos are posted onto both the IP and program-specific Vimeo sites: http://vimeopro.com/pepperdine/ip and http://vimeopro.com/pepperdine/shanghai

Library Worker

The library worker is hired on the Malibu campus before departure for the program. This position serves as a resource for managing and organizing the library resources at the Jia, and helping students to more effectively use online library resources provided by the Pepperdine University Libraries.

Student Worker Positions

Typically, there are several student worker positions available in any given semester. Although hiring is ultimately up to the discretion of the Program Director, positions are typically filled by a simple 'drawing' of eligible workers at the beginning of the semester or by conducting short interviews for relevant positions. The positions listed below are typically hired, although specific positions may change from semester to semester.

Breakfast Workers

Responsible for setting out breakfast foods, and breaking down breakfast setup Monday – Sunday.

Office Worker

Assists program staff with administrative tasks and office errands as needed.

Facilities Assistant

Assists with keeping areas of the facility free from clutter, identifying and reporting facility maintenance needs, tracking bicycle checkouts, etc.

Service Coordinator

Every semester, a student volunteer is elected as service coordinator for the program. This person is directly responsible for leading the service team in identifying, scheduling, and coordinating service activities for the group.

Service Opportunities

Service opportunities change from semester to semesters, but past opportunities have included trips to local orphanages, participating in community fundraising events, teaching English to local school children, and on-going volunteer work with a local homeless relief shelter. Program participants interested in becoming engaged in service will have the opportunity to identify areas of involvement upon arrival in the program, and to serve on a service committee lead by the service coordinator.

Cultural Activities

Shanghai offers a range of activities that will make your study here meaningful and culturally enriching. Throughout the year you will have the opportunity to attend shows, service activities, and trips to museums and cultural sites throughout the city, and participate in language exchanges with other Chinese college students from Fudan University.

Other listings and announcements are made available throughout the year, but you may also visit http://www.culture.sh.cn to get current listings for the variety of concerts, shows, museum exhibitions, and other cultural activities and events that are ongoing throughout the city.


In English

SCF (Shanghai Community Fellowship)
53 Hengshan Lu, French Concession near Wulumuqi Lu
衡山路 53 号 近永嘉路
English Services: Sunday 2:00pm, 4:00pm, Chinese Services 9:00am, 6:00pm
Tel: 6437-6576
Website: http://scfenglish.com/

In Chinese

Grace Church 怀恩堂
375 Shaanxi Bei Lu, Jing An District near Beijing Xi Lu
陕西北路 375 号 近北京西
Chinese Services: Sunday 9:00am (With English Translation via headset)
Tel: 6253-9394

Traveling/Places to Visit


There are not many foreign bookstores in Shanghai, however most major bookstores have an English and foreign language section. The closest foreign bookshop is located in the Portman Plaza.

Dining Out

The cost of food in Shanghai can range from very cheap to very expensive – depending on where you choose to dine. Local food stands and small restaurants can offer full meals ranging from 8RMB – 20 RMB; fast food restaurant meals can usually be purchased for less than 30RMB; chain restaurants or Western restaurants can vary widely, but average 50-100RMB per meal. You are given 50RMB per lunch, which is loaded on your bank account. It is up to you how to budget this money for your lunch meals. Great local options exist right around the corner from the house (turn right outside of the Yu Yuan gate, and head towards Zhen Ning Road) – small bakeries and restaurants offer delicious local Chinese meals at relatively inexpensive prices. If you head toward Jing An Temple, you will find a variety of fast food restaurants, and some other larger chain restaurants that offer both Chinese and western meal options at higher prices. Don't forget that the program kitchen can be used to prepare your own meals if you desire!


Most shops are open all week and close between 8:00am – 10:00pm. The nearest grocery store is Tesco on Zhen Ning Road, its about a 5-10 minute walk.

Travel Agencies

For domestic and international flights, students generally elect to use a number of Chinese travel websites, or make arrangements for travel through local travel agents. Program staff can help put you in contact with local travel agents upon arrival, and can sometimes assist with helping you determine the best options for travel.

The following sites are popular among students for searching for airfares throughout Asia. Please note, some sites do not accept foreign credit cards, and only accept payment in cash upon delivery of the tickets.

Day Trips

A number of locations within Shanghai and just outside of the city serve as ideal locations for shorter day trips. Upon your arrival in orientation, suggestions for trips will be provided to you, along with recommended modes of transportation.


China has a well-developed and affordable train system, although because of the country's size, train-travel is not practical for some breaks due to distance. Please note that train tickets typically cannot be purchased online but are sold at a local ticket office, and can only be purchased 10 days in advance of departure. Feel free to ask the program staff for help in searching for train routes, times, and fares.

Bus Companies

Please work with the program staff on-site to book buses or vans for day-trips as needed.

International Airports

Shanghai has two airports; although both are international airports, one focuses on domestic flights and shorter international flights. Please be careful when purchasing tickets, and make sure you are aware of which airport is servicing your flight.

Pudong International Airport (PVG)

This is Shanghai's main international airport, servicing major international flights, etc. It is accessible at the end of subway line 2, the Maglev train, or taxi/bus. From the Jia, allow approximately 50 minutes to 1 hour under normal traffic conditions.

Hongqiao International Airport (SHA)


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there gyms or workout facilities available near the jia?
A: There are several gyms that students have signed up for, ranging in price, equipment/facilities, and distance. A list of gyms will be distributed upon arrival for students to look into joining; groups of students joining at the same time may be able to negotiate a group discount! Particularly, the program has a corporate deal with Will's Gym, which is within 10 minutes walking distance from Jia and students enrolled in PE196 (Weight Lifting) will be able to use the facility of Will's Gym. Students not enrolled in PE196 can pay the membership on their own.

Q: Is it possible to get or use a cellphone in Shanghai?
A: It is not only possible, but relatively cheap (and recommended). Cell phones can be extremely convenient for texting directions and staying connected with the other students, program staff (and even local Chinese friends!) For approximately USD $30, you can purchase a basic phone and sim card, with a small prepaid balance of calls. Most cell users in China use prepaid minutes, which means you can simply purchase more minutes as needed. Typically, USD $15 is as much as you will spend in a month (although some students spend less, and some spend more). You can also add a international-dialing service that allows you to call home for a relatively cheap rate (like adding a phone-card to your cell phone).

If you already have a quad-band phone that is carrier unlocked, you may be able to simply purchase a sim card locally to use with your current phone. Depending on your phone model, data plans may even be available locally to add to your sim card.

Q: Is there anything special I should bring?
A: Shanghai is a modern, cosmopolitan city, but you should be aware that if you have special needs or specific product brands for a particular item, these should be brought with you (such as medicine, dietary products, etc.).

Visiting Shanghai

General Info

Facts and Statistics

  • Location: Eastern Asia bordering Afghanistan 76 km, Bhutan 470 km, Burma 2,185 km, India 3,380 km, Kazakhstan 1,533 km, North Korea 1,416 km, Kyrgyzstan 858 km, Laos 423 km, Mongolia 4,677 km, Nepal 1,236 km, Pakistan 523 km, Russia (northeast) 3,605 km, Russia (northwest) 40 km, Tajikistan 414 km, Vietnam 1,281 km
  • Capital: Beijing
  • Climate: extremely diverse; tropical in south to subarctic in north
  • Population: 1.357 billion (2013)
  • Ethnic Make-up: Han Chinese 91.9%, Zhuang, Uygur, Hui, Yi, Tibetan, Miao, Manchu, Mongol, Buyi, Korean, and other nationalities 8.1%
  • Religions: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Muslim 1%-2%, Christian 3%-4%
  • Government: Communist state

Language in China

Chinese is a family of closely-related but mutually unintelligible languages. In all over 1.2 billion people speak one or more varieties of Chinese. All varieties of Chinese belong to the Sino-Tibetan family of languages and each one has its own dialects and sub-dialects, which are more or less mutually intelligible. The official language of China is Mandarin. 

Chinese Society and Culture

The Importance of "Face"

  • The concept of 'face' roughly translates as 'honor', 'good reputation' or 'respect'.
  • There are four types of 'face':
    • Diu-mian-zi: this is when one's actions or deeds have been exposed to people.
    • Gei-mian-zi: involves the giving of face to others through showing respect.
    • Liu-mian-zi: this is developed by avoiding mistakes and showing wisdom in action.
    • Jiang-mian-zi: this is when face is increased through others, i.e. someone complementing you to an associate.
  • It is critical you avoid losing face or causing the loss of face at all times.


Confucianism is a system of behaviors and ethics that stress the obligations of people towards one another based upon their relationship. The basic tenets are based upon five different relationships:

  • Ruler and subject
  • Husband and wife
  • Parents and children
  • Brothers and sisters
  • Friend and friend

Confucianism stresses duty, sincerity, loyalty, honor, filial piety, respect for age and seniority. Through maintaining harmonious relations as individuals, society itself becomes stable.

Collectivism vs. Individualism

  • In general, the Chinese are a collective society with a need for group affiliation, whether to their family, school, work group, or country.
  • In order to maintain a sense of harmony, they will act with decorum at all times and will not do anything to cause someone else public embarrassment.
  • They are willing to subjugate their own feelings for the good of the group.
  • This is often observed by the use of silence in very structured meetings. If someone disagrees with what another person says, rather than disagree publicly, the person will remain quiet. This gives face to the other person, while speaking up would make both parties lose face.

Non-Verbal Communication

  • The Chinese' Non-verbal communication speaks volumes.
  • Since the Chinese strive for harmony and are group dependent, they rely on facial expression, tone of voice and posture to tell them what someone feels.
  • Frowning while someone is speaking is interpreted as a sign of disagreement. Therefore, most Chinese maintain an impassive expression when speaking.
  • It is considered disrespectful to stare into another person's eyes. In crowded situations the Chinese avoid eye contact to give themselves privacy.

Housing and Residence Life

Hotels and Hostels

The Jia is centrally located in the city, and a variety of hotels can be found through online searches, but there are some options that we consistently recommend for friends or family that are visiting the city:

Inexpensive Hostel: http://letourshanghai.com

Hotel Nikko: http://www.nikkoshanghai.com (5-star, close to the Pepperdine facility)

Swissotel: https://www.swissotel.com/hotels/shanghai/  (5-star, close to Pepperdine facility)

Paramount Gallery Hotel: http://www.paramountgalleryhotel.com/ (4-star, close to Pepperdine facility)

Hotel Equatorial Shanghai:http://www.equatorialsha.com/ (4-star, close to Pepperdine facility)


Guests are permitted in the Student Lounge only in special cases. Typically, the only areas they may enter are the Sunshine Room and reception lobby. All guests must be signed in at the Program Office or, if closed, at the guard booth. Guests who are not residents of the Jia can only be received in the public areas (reception area and Sunshine Room) from 9:00am to 11:00pm. Guests are never permitted on any of the floors that contain student bedrooms without the permission of the Program Director. Guests (i.e. non-Seaver students) are not permitted in any of the student bedrooms at any time.

Though alumni are not permitted to stay in Pepperdine's International Program facilities, tours may be requested and are dependent upon the availability of the International Program staff. If you are interested in attending an alumni trip held at your International Program site, please contact the Seaver College Alumni Relations Office to find out about upcoming Pepperdine Alumni Travel trips.
Email: seaveralumni@pepperdine.edu
Phone: 310.506.4348

For Family and Friends

Due to limited space (and depending on the number of program participants), we are generally unable to accommodate guests for overnight stays. A list of local hotels and accommodations is available in the program office; guests should generally plan on making accommodation plans outside of the Jia.

  • If space is available, students may have immediate family members or friends stay overnight during weekends only (i.e., Friday through Saturday nights) under the following conditions:
  • The Director must grant prior permission.
  • The maximum stay per guest is two nights. There will be a charge per guest per night, which includes clean bed linens.
  • Students must assume full responsibility for their guest's conduct within the framework of the University policies, including no smoking, no alcoholic beverages, and observance of all other codes of conduct. (This also applies to guests received during regular hours and guests attending group meals).

IMPORTANT Pre-Arrival Visa Information

Please note that students who hold passports from the following countries are not eligible to attend a Pepperdine Shanghai program due to visa restrictions: China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan

Students who hold passports from the following countries have historically had issues securing a student visa and should contact our office before applying: Belize, Burkina Faso, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras,  KiribatiMarshall Islands, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Swaziland, Tuvalu, Vatican City (The Holy See) 

China has a lengthy process to get a Residential Permit. Before arriving in China, you are applying for an "X2" visa, which is valid for only 30 days and can be used to apply for a Residential Permit upon entering China. The Shanghai program staff will guide your through the multi-week process of converting the X2 to a Residential Permit once you arrive, but please be aware of a few things. First, you will not be able to travel internationally until the Residential Permit is secured (but you can travel domestically). For Fall students, this means no international travel during the October holiday (Oct 1-3). Also as part of the process, all students will need to do a medical exam at a hospital designated for foreigners applying for Residential Permit. Every foreigner on a Residential Permit or Z visa in China does this exam - it is not optional. The standard health examination involves the following:

  • A small blood test to rule out HIV, hepatitis and syphilis
  • An ultrasound scan to check for diseases in internal organs
  • An X-ray for tuberculosis
  • An ear, nose and throat exam
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) check to rule out heart disease
  • A skin check for contagious skin diseases
  • A blood pressure check
  • A lymph node check
  • Confirmation of your height and weight
  • Urine, feces and phlegm may also be checked in special – and rare – circumstances

The health exam will be conducted during orientation week. If you have any questions, please contact that Shanghai program.