Select Page

Chinese Exchange


Milton Academy is pleased to partner with the No. 2 High School of East China Normal University (#2HS), a renowned high school in Shanghai. During the two-and-a-half-week trip to China, you will stay in Shanghai for the first week and a half. In the last week, you will travel to Xi’an, where the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang was unearthed in 1974, and to Beijing, home to countless historical sites, such as the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. Milton students will travel to China in late May, while #2HS students will arrive in mid-January.

During your stay in Shanghai, you will be paired with a student from #2HS, living in international students’ dorms during the weekdays and with your counterpart’s family over the weekend, sharing their daily lives and participating in their activities. You will shadow your counterpart during their classes and school activities, attend a variety of cultural classes on campus, and explore the exciting historical and cultural sites in the vicinity of Shanghai. This program offers an amazing opportunity for you to improve your Chinese.

When the Chinese students from #2HS arrive in the winter, you will host your counterpart during their stay at Milton. If you are a day student, your Chinese counterpart will live with your family, attend some of your classes, participate in school activities, and explore the Greater Boston area on their own. If you are a boarder, your Chinese counterpart will accompany you to school classes and activities, and Milton Academy will support your effort to find a local host family.

More detailed information on the specifics of travel to China will follow, but as you decide to participate, please carefully read the travel advisories for U.S. students by the U.S. Department of State, and follow the China vaccination instructions by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Students, boarding and day, and their families are responsible for all necessary vaccinations prior to the trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a visa to enter China? How do I get one?

A visa is required of all foreigners who enter China. The most efficient way to navigate the visa process is to work through a private, third-party agency (for a fee) that interfaces with the Chinese Consulate in New York. Milton Academy will act as the single point of contact with this third-party agency, and will collect all the necessary paperwork and fees.

Detailed information about the visa application process, including the necessary visa and agency fees, will be sent to participating students. But to get a head start, please note that students will need to have the following:

  • A passport book (not passport card) valid through at least six months after the expected travel dates.
  • All passport books should have remaining pages for visas; if they do not, you should acquire those through the passport office as soon as possible.
  • A completed hard copy of the People’s Republic of China visa application form.
  • Two recent color passport photos measuring 2×2 inches (bare-head, full face without glasses) against a plain, light or white background.

Are there any health concerns or vaccinations required for travelers to China?

All participants on the trip will be given detailed information, permissions and waiver forms that outline the risks associated with traveling to China, including health and safety risks. Parents and guardians will be asked to acknowledge and accept these risks as a condition of their child’s participation.

The Center for Disease Control has issued guidelines on recommended vaccinations for travelers to ChinaStudents and families will be responsible for consulting with their physicians and acquiring any necessary vaccinations on their own. The CDC suggests that vaccinations or medicines be administered 4–6 weeks before the trip.

In general, experienced travelers to China suggest that visitors not drink tap water.

What is the cost of the trip?

The projected cost for the 2020 trip—subject to the fluctuation of currency exchange—is $3,400 – $3,700, which covers round-trip airfare, entrance fees to all museums and tourist spots, group excursions in Shanghai, and travel (hotels, high-speed train tickets, sightseeing, meals, etc.) in Xi’an and Beijing. If a student is on financial aid, Milton will offer aid for a trip, granted one time while the student attends school, at the same percentage calculated for their tuition.

Do I need to bring cash? Can I use an ATM/bank card?

You may want to bring some cash to spend on souvenirs and gifts. U.S. currency can be exchanged for Chinese yuan (Ren Min Bi – RMB). Currency exchanges may be done before departure or upon arrival in China.

You should not expect that Chinese merchants will accept a U.S. credit or debit card for payment. However, American debit cards generally can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs in China (although you should confirm with your particular bank).

Can I access Gmail and myMilton account in China?

You cannot access Gmail or myMilton directly in China, but you can use VPNs (virtual private networks) to do so. Email accounts from Microsoft sources (Hotmail, Live, and Outlook) are generally not blocked in China. You can use those accounts without a VPN.

Upon arrival at Shanghai airport, we will purchase a sim card for those who need it so everyone can start to use WeChat (Wei Xin), which is an application that can be installed on your phone in advance. You may choose to install the app for ease of communication with family while in China, and with your Chinese exchange counterpart while they are in Boston. Users may send texts and make voice and video calls to other WeChat users. It is common for new friends you make in China to ask you to add them as contacts on WeChat. WeChat has a social media function similar to Facebook; therefore, students may need to obtain parental permission before downloading the app.

How do I communicate with my family over the phone while in China?

The easiest way to communicate with your family while in China is to have your phone covered by an international plan. Please check with your mobile provider about available international plans.

How do I charge my phone and other electronic devices in China?

You may want to buy a travel adaptor in order to charge your electronic devices in China, such as this one, available on Amazon.

2019–2020 Calendar

September 20
Information session for students (in Chinese classes)

September 25
Modern languages exchange programs assembly; application packet available

October 7
Application due; selection process starts

October 26 (Parents’ Weekend)
Information session for parents and/or students

October 29
Decision made; contract available

November 4
Contract due

Renew/apply for passport if needed

December (before winter break)
Letters/photos exchanged with Chinese counterparts

January 14–23
#2 High School students at Milton

February 7
Visa application form available

March 2
All documents, passport photos and fee for visa due

March 31 (right after spring break)
Passport due for visa applicants

April 17
Orientation with participating students and parents

May 26–June 12
Milton students in Shanghai/Xi’an/Beijing

For more information, please contact:

Shimin Zhou
Ware Hall Room 312
170 Centre Street
Milton, MA 02186