This fall, 16 Elon University students will study at the new Elon Center in Shanghai.

The center’s program, geared toward business majors, will provide students with the chance to learn about the economy of the world’s most populous country.

For the new program, Elon partnered with the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), a study abroad organization, to create custom course offerings. Rosey Bao, assistant professor in strategic management for the Love School of Business, will serve as faculty in residence.

Raghu Tadepalli, dean of the business school, said the program helps students to learn about the economy of a key country.

“China is the second-largest economy in the world,” Tadepalli said. “Predictions show in 15 to 20 years, it will be the largest in the world. It’s a country that cannot be ignored culturally, politically or economically. As Elon is developing globally, it is important to have a presence there.”

The offerings for the semester-long program include several business courses, taught in English over a two-month period at East China Normal University. The core course, “Business in China: Introduction to Culture & Language,” has a Chinese language component.

For the remaining weeks of the semester, students are required to have internships, with Bao as internship adviser.

“An internship in a market such as China is valuable,” Bao said. “Employers will be impressed that they also learned about another culture.”

Elon also has centers in Florence, London and San Jose, Costa Rica.

Elon Centers differ from other study abroad programs because they have at least one Elon faculty member on site and include custom course offerings.

Bill Burress, associate director of study abroad and the program director for the Shanghai center, said creating the new center might draw more people to that part of the world.

“Our study abroad numbers tend to be Eurocentric,” Burress said. “The center programs tend to draw students to places they wouldn’t consider. Especially in business, the markets that are up-and-coming aren’t really in Europe.”

Elon already has a business course in Asia, called “Business in the Pacific Rim.” During the Winter Term program, students travel to Cambodia, Hong Kong and Thailand. But Bao said the Shanghai semester gives students more exposure to the region’s economy and culture.

“This is really a unique and different experience,” Bao said. “Past semester-long study abroad sessions have not offered as much. We have not done anything in Asia, especially not in emerging markets.”

Elon offers another study abroad program in Shanghai, which focuses on Chinese language, history and culture. The new program’s curriculum will help business students stand out in the job market, according to Burress.

“The goal is that when these students are interviewing for businesses and jobs, they can talk about their study abroad experience and relate it to the jobs,” Burress said. “It will give them an advantage.”