Transnational higher education, in all its varied forms including offshore campuses, is a huge business, especially in relation to China. As at 2019, nine foreign universities had established campuses in China. Although generally this might be desirable, the social impacts of these campuses on local communities are overlooked. Transnational campuses take a long time to establish, and they experience delays and changes in participating parties, which creates anxiety and uncertainty for host communities. We consider the social impacts, as perceived or experienced by local residents, that arose from the attempted establishment of a transnational university campus in Yantai, Shandong Province, China. We consider how impact history and changing project plans affected residents. A major impact was prolonged uncertainty, especially now that the University of Groningen has cancelled its plans for a campus in Yantai. People felt confused about their future and some had lost trust in news about the project. Excessive expectations, impact history, changing plans, and impacts from urbanization processes generally have led to mixed feelings about the proposed campus. However, most people were willing to have a university campus nearby because they thought there would be benefits, even though they also considered they would experience negative impacts.