Signature Programs

Only at SAS

The student experience at SAS is truly unmatched, thanks in part to these Signature Programs designed exclusively by and for SAS. In our unique environment, where faculty and students are limited only by their imaginations, some pretty unique opportunities have been created. We build better ways of learning right within our own walls, and also craft compelling new ways to let the world be our classroom. 

Mongolia China Alive


Immersed for four dynamic weeks in a new culture and community, groups of grade 8 students live in a Chinese village with the purpose of engaging in four major pillars of understanding: experiential learning, personal growth, an expansion of intercultural understanding, and a deepened awareness of impact. This experience genuinely changes our students, and they return to SAS looking at themselves and their world with a fresh and invaluable sense of perspective.

Imagine if, for two years, half a student’s academic schedule revolved around open-ended, complex questions on humanity’s most pressing problems. Welcome to Innovation Institute, where teachers from four different disciplines fuel project-based learning, and the students become deeply critical thinkers with cutting edge skills to navigate and lead in modern society.


TheEleven is the best senior experience a junior can have. Here, our grade 11 students embark on a fun, productive, community-building time that gives them a jumpstart on their college application process before grade 12 even starts. TheEleven is a one-of-a-kind, intensive, week-long retreat program where our college counselors, outside experts, and SAS faculty work with our grade 11 students to scaffold their transition to the grade 12 year. So if they’re not totally ready for senior year, well, they soon will be.


This fall, the entire freshmen class of Shanghai American School’s Pudong campus embarked on a five-day long journey. “We were the first class experiencing TheNine,” says Sherissa Wu ’22, “and we were introduced to things we’d never seen or heard before.” The Class of ’22 was immersed in Chinese culture, while examining their role as young people today. They learned more about themselves and their peers through adventure, reflection, and goal-setting. They worked as a community to lay the foundation for the high school story ahead, because for these freshmen, TheNine is high school’s first chapter.


In a Chinese city famous for its ceramics, our Pudong campus students become true Artists in Residence through this interdisciplinary immersion in art and culture. With master lessons in porcelain adding fresh layers to our students’ passion for art, the life experiences in Jingdezhen also build their confidence and identity as global citizens.

Given travel restrictions due to Covid-19, the A.I.R trip is currently being reimagined as a Shanghai-based experience. 

SAS World Classroom

Whether visiting a local farm or to ancient ruins in Europe, Middle School trips at SAS are guided by Menwai (“Outside the Gates”). Using the four pillars of Menwai, our students’ off-campus experiences expand cultural understanding, work through challenges, achieve personal growth, and raise awareness of impact on the people and world around them. This thoughtful and interdisciplinary approach helps these trips truly turn every part of the world into a learning environment.

Given travel restrictions due to Covid-19, SAS World Classroom is currently being reimagined as a Shanghai-based experience. 


Look closely in rural Malawi and you can find a school for orphans that has been built and transformed into a pioneer in education, thanks to a longstanding partnership with the Puxi campus of SAS. On our regular visits to Jacaranda, our students are met with waves of drumming, dancing, friendship, and new perspectives that will forever shape their worldview.