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US leads pack for Chinese students

By Zhao Xinying | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-09 07:37

As the number of Chinese students heading overseas for education continues to grow, and as the choice of destinations becomes more diverse, the United States continues to be preferred, according to a report by an educational institute.

The Open Doors Report, released by the Institute of International Education in the US in November last year, showed that nearly 330,000 Chinese studied in the US during the 2015-16 academic year, accounting for one-third of the country's international students.

China has been the largest source of foreign students in the US for seven consecutive years.

Overall, according to the Ministry of Education, more than 540,000 students went overseas to study last year.

Andrew Hang Chen, CEO and chief learning officer at WholeRen Group, a US company that provides overseas study services to Chinese students, said that many Chinese parents view sending their children to study overseas as simply a purchase of international education services.

"They will choose services of the best quality if their financial situation allows, and studying in the US, among many other destinations, is such a service," he said.

"Looking at rankings of world universities, higher education institutes in the United States always account for the largest proportion of the top 10, 20 or even 100 and 200," he said.

In Chen's eyes, the high quality of education in the US is also behind another trend: More Chinese parents are sending their children to study in the US at younger ages.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security in 2015, the number of Chinese studying at K-12 stage at schools in the US tripled to 34,578 over a five-year period.

"More parents are doing so because they are not only recognizing the teaching quality in higher education in the US but also basic education," he said.

"Many told me that they hope their children will not only gain knowledge, but more importantly the ability of thinking. This is where the education of the US is stronger and more attractive than China, at least currently."

In contrast with the high enthusiasm among Chinese heading to study in the US, students seem to find more uncertain prospects for landing a job there after graduation. However, Chen said there's no need to be overly worried about job hunting in the US.

"Many Chinese parents and students have changed their minds about employment in the US," he said. "They have started realizing that studying in the US does not necessarily end up with landing a job there after graduation. What really matters is students grow up as talents who are needed globally and who can work globally, including coming back to work in China."


(China Daily 11/09/2017 page6)

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