By Rylie Trott
- Studying abroad is becoming a very inviting option for many students now, whether they wish to travel, experience living as part of a different culture, expand their horizons, widen the possibilities for a career or even learn a language. China is fast becoming one of the most popular study destinations for international students, being the fifth most popular choice for US students in 2012 and seeing an estimated three hundred and twenty thousand overseas students choosing to study there in the same year - an increase of fifty five thousand since 2010. Here are ten reasons why it is one of the most attractive places to study:
1. China has been the fastest growing country for the past 30 years
The economy has recently become the second largest in the world behind the United States, with its GDP (Gross Domestic Product) having recently surpassed that of Japan. As the world’s top 500 companies do business in China, with many choosing to base their Asia-Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong and Shanghai, the opportunities for a business student in particular, to work with prestigious companies are numerous, and working in China with such companies will be a priceless experience to add to a CV.
2. You will not necessarily be lost in translation
As China’s economy attracts big businesses from around the world, to facilitate global trade and communications, English is generally widely spoken or understood, with 73% of their population speaking the language in 2000. One concern when considering studying abroad is the issue of learning in the country’s mother tongue. However, this is not an issue in China as you can study in English, with a choice of over 20 thousand courses at over 300 universities in over 80 cities.
3. Quality of Education
China has become a popular place for international students to study as the country is striving to build more world-class universities. Recently, the investment into their higher education system has risen considerably. Students interested in majoring in engineering, science, medicine, economics and trade, would find Chinese universities such as Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Science and Technology of China are great places to enrol - their courses are highly respected. In terms of the levels of qualifications achieved and their global currency, the Chinese government has signed an agreement of mutual recognition of academic achievement qualifications with a number of countries including the United States, Britain, France and Japan.
4. Breaking language barriers and reaping language benefits
What makes studying in China feel a little intimidating for English speakers is the fact that Mandarin is not a language that was taught at most schools, like French or German. It also bears no visual or audio resemblance to English, making it very difficult for those with no knowledge of the language. However, if you try to learn some basics before you leave and possibly take on some beginner lessons alongside your chosen course, you will get by. It is important, also, to recognise that your mother tongue is, in fact, not a hindrance but a desirable quality in China as jobs in teaching and tutoring are in high demand, so you could easily offer to be a conversation partner at your chosen institution of study and teach English and learn some Mandarin in return, as well as making friends!
5. Employment advantages once you have returned
It is a widely known fact that employers, despite what job they may be employing you for, see bilingual students as desirable. Although you may not become fluent in Mandarin during your year abroad, showing you are capable of learning a language to any standard gives you an advantage over candidates that have no bilingual experience.
6. It’s affordable!
As a student, money is a big issue and always a constant worry. As it is already expensive enough to study in one’s home country, it is generally supposed that studying abroad will stretch bank accounts even more and so many students decide not to take a year out without researching the possibilities. Surprisingly, though, this is not always the case. The United States and Australia boast the highest expenses, and for a non-EU citizen the cost of studying and living in the UK can reach up to £13,000 annually. On the other hand, the tuition fees in China, per semester, are generally no more than US$1000, and with short-term Mandarin lessons costing a few hundred dollars and the bus fares and subway tickets to Beijing costing a mere 30 cents, getting the most out of living in China and being cost-effective could not be simpler.
7. You will develop a new daily routine
China is rich in culture, with its people being extremely diverse and multicultural, deriving from 56 different ethnicities with an array of religions being practised, including Christianity, Chinese Buddhism, Islam and the less known Tibetan Buddhism and Bimo Religion of Baiyi. You will also experience different culinary delights depending on where you are, for example, in Inner Mongolia, it is common for families to drink Chinese rice wine and eat whole lambs in one meal!
8. Experience a complete change of environment
China is such a huge country covering a vast area, having a large variety of climates and landscapes to choose from and find your perfect location. Whether you’re a fan of the bustling nightlife or the calm, scenic areas of the country, whether you’re attracted by the ancient or the modern, China has so much variety to offer.
9.China has a great history
As part of its rapid economic development over the past three decades, Chinese cities have developed eye-catching works of modern architecture, attracting many tourists to places like the towering skyscrapers of Shanghai and Beijing’s Olympic Bird’s Nest. However, China does not just boast modern attractions but also boasts landmarks of historic importance like the ancient structures of the Great Wall and the Forbidden City – breathtaking places to visit when taking breaks from study.
10. A different kind of night out
One of the biggest cultural appeals for any international student is the social and unique nightlife. In China you can experience private karaoke rooms and extravagant mega-clubs that shine their neon signs and play their funky hip-hop tunes until well after the sun has risen. Beijing is a hot spot for clubs, and if you are going to check one out, you cannot miss The World of Suzie Wong. The club is a flagship in Beijing’s nightlife scene and has been around since 2002. It’s a hot spot for the rich in the capital and as it is divided into five areas including a 1920-style bar and a charming lounge mixing the modern and imperial Beijing styles in its décor, you are bound to find an area that suits you.
Find out about studying in Asia