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To accommodate the needs of newly admitted international students, Lehigh is offering two new programs: Virtual College Success Academy and Lehigh in Residence.

Virtual College Success Academy is a three-credit online course offered at no additional charge by Lehigh's International Center for Academic and Professional English. The course, ENGL 095: Lehigh Life and Language for International Speakers is designed to help international students get a head start on the fall semester. Learn more about Virtual College Success Academy.

Lehigh in Residence is a unique opportunity for students to matriculate for the fall semester at Lehigh University and take courses for Lehigh credit at the IES Abroad in Shanghai, China.

The information on this page is for students in China. Students in other countrie should refer to information about other Lehigh in Residence options.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lehigh in Residence

Why is Lehigh offering Lehigh in Residence?

Lehigh is offering Lehigh in Residence so that we can offer a high quality, residential freshman semester for students who are not able to get to the United States due to complications associated with COVID-19. Although we would prefer that students begin in Bethlehem, we recognize that there are several factors, including the difficulties in obtaining a visa to come to the US in time for the fall semester, that will make this impossible. For that reason, we are committed to offering a Lehigh semester in Shanghai for our new first year students. Since we have a large cohort of new students living in China, we can offer a customized semester with courses that have been reviewed and approved by Lehigh faculty and make available programs and other experiences that will prepare students for study in the US.

Who is IES Abroad, and how can we assess the academic quality of this organization?

Founded in 1950, IESAbroad is a not-for-profit organization that supports study abroad and internship programs around the world for college/university students. IES supports US students to study abroad in over 65 different countries. They also offer short term programs to international students, including many students from China, at its study centers in Europe and Latin America. IES partners with top universities around the world. In China, the IES partners are Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

IESAbroad works with many of the top US universities to study abroad, including Rice University, Yale University, Purdue University, and Pennsylvania State University. Each year, approximately 70 Lehigh students earn credit through programs taught by IES faculty at centers around the globe, including that in Shanghai. President John Simon is on the board of directors for IES Abroad. Dr. Cheryl Matherly, Vice President/Vice Provost for International Affairs, served until 2019 on the academic council that reviews IES programs, and she led the team of US institutions that conducted the quality assessment and evaluation of the IES Abroad site in Shanghai in April 2019.

Who will teach the courses? What are their qualifications? Will Lehigh assist with hiring the instructors?

Local faculty will be recruited from top universities and institutions in Shanghai. They are expected to meet Lehigh’s criteria for faculty. The associate deans for Lehigh’s colleges will review and approve all of the faculty teaching through Lehigh in Residence.

Some instruction will be delivered remotely from Bethlehem by Lehigh faculty. Students will take English 3, Composition and Literature I for International Writers. English 3 will be taught by instructors with the International Center for Academic and Professional English at Lehigh University, who teach the same courses on campus.

When will a complete list of courses be made available?

A complete list of courses will be available in July, and will continue to evolve as we work with students to develop specific plans for their fall semester.

Our first priority is to make available courses that are required by each college in order that students may stay on track to graduation. The required freshman courses that will be available include:

  • English 3
  • Calculus I
  • Introduction to Chemistry
  • Introduction to Physics
  • Principles of Economics

In addition, freshmen at Lehigh may take elective courses that can satisfy requirements for humanities and social sciences. Because there are more options, we are currently reviewing the courses that the local faculty can teach at the quality level that we expect at Lehigh. This list is continuing to evolve, and the partial list of these courses may include:

  • Intercultural Communication Competence
  • Western Thought: An Introduction to Classical Western Philosophy and Religion
  • Urbanization and Development
  • Science, Technology, and Gender
  • Psychology and Life: A Cross-Cultural Perspective

Some additional courses may be available via remote instruction from Bethlehem. Lehigh is currently determining which fall courses will be taught on-line and which will be in-person. This final list will not be available until July. As we work with students to develop individual fall course plans, we can advise on the availability of additional courses from Bethlehem, as that schedule becomes final.

We recognize that we are not able to offer as many courses through Lehigh in Residence as would be available on the Bethlehem campus. Our goal is to offer those courses that are required and provide a reasonable offering of additional electives that meet Lehigh’s standards for academic quality, so that students may stay on track for graduation.

How will my individual schedule for fall be developed?

The academic advisors in each of the colleges are working very closely on the Lehigh in Residence program. The advisors will assist with preparing a recommended set of courses for the fall semester. Students will remain in communication with their academic advisors throughout the fall, especially when time comes to select and register for spring semester classes.

How will my AP/IB credits be recognized by Lehigh?

The academic advisors in each college will review any AP/IB credits and make recommendations for students’ fall semester schedules that can best recognize these.

How will the courses appear on my Lehigh transcript?

The courses offered through Lehigh in Residence are approved as Lehigh courses, and will appear as regular Lehigh courses on students’ transcripts with a letter grade. Courses will not be pass/fail.

Can I attend first-year seminars?

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is the only college that requires first-year seminars. CAS will offer two sections of the first-year seminars on-line for students who are participating in Lehigh in Residence.

How will I register for fall classes if I choose Lehigh in Residence?

Once students have finalized their schedule with their advisor, they will automatically be registered in fall semester courses. Students do not have to register themselves.

How do I take the anticipatory exams remotely (as part of Lehigh in Residence or if I take courses remotely)?

Students who think that they may need to take the anticipatory exams should communicate this with their academic advisor during the month of July. Their advisor will help determine if this is necessary, and how to assist the student with taking the exam remotely.

How will IES Abroad address health and safety needs of students? How will IES Shanghai address health and safety in the apartment building?

The IES Abroad Dean of Students Office reviews all IES Abroad Medical forms prior to departure and may contact students to offer assistance with making medical arrangements, if needed, or to discuss any medications the student may be taking and their legality and/or availability.

  • Crisis Management Preparedness. IES Abroad has a Crisis Management Team (CMT). In the event of a crisis that may affect the health and safety of many, or even all, students in a specific location, the IES CMT is convened to assess and respond to the situation at hand.
  • 24/7 Emergency Support. IES Abroad will provide 24/7 emergency support, including emergency protocols & evacuation plans, for students pursuant to its customary policies and procedures.
  • Health Insurance. IES Abroad offers a carefully considered plan for international student insurance, to be provided for the School’s students participating in the Program.
  • Fully-Trained Local Staff. The IES Abroad Center is a fully-staffed local office ready to respond quickly and professionally to student needs. IES Abroad will provide an orientation for the School’s students promptly upon their scheduled arrival in Shanghai. The orientation shall include comprehensive information on health and safety, culture, and living in Shanghai and protocols for COVID-19.

Will I need to complete my Lehigh vaccinations in advance of registering for my LIR semester?

Yes, students will still need to submit their immunization information to the health center regardless of where they will be in the fall. There is a new student checklist within iHome where you will find a link that will send you directly to the health center’s patient portal. You will upload your immunization forms here.

What activities and programming will be available during the fall semester?

We are offering a fall calendar of activities. Caroline Neal, Intercultural Programs Coordinator, is working with the local IES staff to develop a unique set of programs. Some of these planned programs include:

  • Orientation to Lehigh
  • Dinners with Lehigh alumni living in Shanghai
  • Buddies with students currently enrolled at Lehigh
  • Discussion groups with clubs and organizations on the Lehigh campus
  • Activities related to Lehigh traditions, such as Lehigh-Lafayette College rivalry and Brown & White Fridays.
  • Special workshops related to studying in the US

Can I get involved with clubs and organizations at Lehigh?

We are exploring opportunities to participate in some clubs and activities at Lehigh, especially since many of these organizations will be offering many virtual programs.

Will I have access to local sports facilities?

Students will have gym access including a swimming pool at New Harbor Service Apartment. There is a public basketball court near New Harbor Service Apartment.

Will this provide a traditional college experience?

We recognize that this is not the same as being in Bethlehem on the Lehigh campus. However, our goal is to create as close to a traditional Lehigh experience as is possible in Shanghai. Additionally, we will have other students beginning in many other countries around the world, and in other parts of the US. There are many students who will begin their Lehigh experience in another location, and we are excited to help all of these students, including those in China, connect to create a new set of Lehigh traditions.

What will happen if I get a visa that will allow me to arrive this fall?

We think that it is very unlikely that any newly admitted students who do not already have a visa to the US will be able to get one in time for the fall semester. At this point, we have been advised the consulates are closed, and that the consular staff in Beijing and Shanghai have been recalled to the US due to COVID-19. The US State Department has not indicated any plans to offer expedited processing for new student visas. Unfortunately, there is nothing that Lehigh can do about this situation.

What are Lehigh’s plans for remote learning?

Lehigh announced on June 10 that we will resume some in-person instruction on August 24, and that some significant number of courses will be offered remotely. The faculty are currently determining which courses will be made available online, and they are working to develop the best quality on-line instruction as possible. The specifics for the remote learning plan have not been announced, although we have been assured that a limited number of first year courses will be available on-line. We do not know specifics, such as the time of day when these courses will be offered. Students in China may opt to take a fully remote first semester. Lehigh in Residence students will also have an option to take some remote course from Bethlehem, based on discussions with their academic advisor.

When will Lehigh provide more information about what to expect for the fall semester?

President Simon made an initial announcement regarding the plans for the fall semester in his announcement to campus, June 10, 2020. Additional information will be announced as it becomes available. The situation in the US, as it is everywhere in the world, is very fluid. Our plans continue to evolve based on the situation in the state of Pennsylvania, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Lehigh Valley, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, and the Governor of Pennsylvania.

Will Lehigh in Residence follow the Chinese calendar?

The Lehigh in Residence dates are September 12 - December 19, 2020. Students with Lehigh in Residence will observe the Chinese calendar to take study breaks in the Chinese national holidays, such as the Moon Festival, National Day Holidays.

How will the IES and the Lehigh calendar be coordinated?

The Lehigh calendar begins and ends before the Lehigh in Residence. This means that students taking courses remotely from Bethlehem may begin these classes before the start of Lehigh in Residence.

When will I get information about the costs for LIR?

The Office of Financial Aid is issuing individual letters to students this week with cost information for Lehigh in Residence.

How do I register for the Virtual College Success Academy?

In order to enroll in the Virtual College Success Academy (VCSA) and take ENGL 095 in summer II 2020, students should complete the online VCSA form.

Why is Lehigh not working with a local university to offer this semester program?

IES has made efforts to work with Fudan University and other local universities on this program, but due to the strict regulations regarding COVID-19, we will not be able to offer classes on their campus. However, we are engaging faculty from local universities to teach the courses for Lehigh in Residence students.

How do I confirm my decision regarding the fall semester?

You will receive instructions with the letter from the Office of Financial Aid.

Do I need to send in a health form to IES Shanghai in addition to my health forms to Lehigh?

You will need to fill out an IES medical form through the IES portal. IES HQ will inform you of the procedure later.

If I choose to take courses online this fall semester, will I take the courses with students from different countries so we can have a shared experience?

As we wait on further guidance from the university on what the fall semester will look like, it is very likely that most of the courses will be in a hybrid format (both online and in-person). Therefore, you may find both domestic and international students in your courses from all different time zones. Faculty are being asked to prepare courses that will accommodate students in various time zones.

Is it possible to have a single room instead of sharing due to health concerns? Can I live in other rooms in the same hotel because I want to have a single room?

IES will make a random housing placement for students. If you have a special medical request on the single room, you will need to submit your medical form to IES HQ and we will give priority to those students who meet the criteria.