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Studying Abroad: A Prevailing Trend for Chinese Students

July 08, 2014

While Chinese students planning to attend colleges at home will take their entrance exams in June, those wanting to study abroad have already began the application process. The 2013 China Education Expo last weekend saw more than 600 foreign learning institutions greet prospective students.

More than 30,000 people packed the halls of the China Convention Center. But this is just a drop in the ocean of the rapidly growing number of Chinese students pursuing education overseas.

According to government statistics, around 8.5 percent or the 530-thousand students who graduated from college last year are currently unemployed. Those who are employed in a full-time job with a stable income are far and few. An overseas education is often seen as an advantage in China, but is also considered to give more life options.

While the majority of Chinese students who ventured overseas in the 1990s were adults with families, the population makeup has shifted since the year 2000 to include more students. As a result of China’s booming economy, more parents are now able to meet the heavy costs of sending their children to study abroad. Foreign countries are also quick to snatch at the chance of profiting from these young Chinese talents.

More than 200,000 Chinese students were accepted to a higher learning institution in the US between 2011 and 2012. Spain, the Country of Honor at this year’s expo, is host to around 6000 Chinese students who have become the largest non-EU foreign student population. Spanish Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Jose Ignacio Wert, attended the expo on its opening day, to entice Chinese students to Spain.

"In many respects, Spain has several advantages to alternative destinations for education migration. One is it opens the door to a large number of Spanish-speaking countries, taken into account Spanish is the first language spoken by a population well over 500 million. And taken into account of the intensity of the commercial relationship between China and Latin America, it makes Spain and interesting destination," said Jose Igancio Wert, Spanish minister of Edu., Culture & Sport.

For the past decade, Chinese students pursuing a higher education overseas have been increasing at about 20% each year. This year at the China Education Expo, overseas learning institutions are for the first time conducting one-on-on on site interviews with prospective students, giving them immediate feedback...and even possibly an acceptance letter.

Ms. Gray is a college admissions officer from Findlay in America and travels around the world to recruit students.

"Student can bring their transcript and original application material. And I can tell them whether they can get accepted or not and how much scholarship they can get from our school. So this is really quick and I can tell them whether they’re accepted or not right here at our booth," said admissions officer with the University of Findlay.

A middle school teacher who’d like to remain anonymous is choosing an overseas school for continuing education in sexology because there is very little published material in this area in the country.

And parents who want a more well-rounded education can now choose to send their children to international preparatory schools like Camford Royal School in northwest Beijing. Different from public schools, Camford paves the way for students to pursue a higher education abroad with its Western curriculum and by encouraging individual growth and teamwork.

"Now I’m studying autonomously and happily. Students are divided into groups where we work together to solve problems. This is a good practice, of a teamwork spirit. We help each other, question each other and thus make progress together," said a student in Camford Royal School.

Students here take Advanced Placement or American college-level classes, as well as SATs. Past graduates have gone on to attend many prestigious universities in more than 160 countries. The school’s principal and co-founder Liu Yuyuan says that the key is to cultivate a sense of morality and creativity.

"First and primary goal of education is setting up very early for the students for the whole life. And for focus on some skills, to build on and live with," said Liu Yuyan, principal of Camford Royal School.

Camford offers an alternative to the current Chinese education system, but more importantly, like an overseas education, it trains the next Chinese generation to be a global player in a world of transnationalism.

Tagged: trend, chinese, students, studying abroad


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