Chi­nese must adapt to ‘study shock’

China Daily (Canada) - - RAILWAY -

With thou­sands of Chi­nese stu­dents plan­ning to study at for­eign uni­ver­si­ties this year, the one big ques­tion is: are they suf­fi­ciently pre­pared? The an­swer is prob­a­bly not.

Last year, more than 520,000 Chi­nese went abroad to study, with about 90,000 choos­ing educational in­sti­tu­tions in the United King­dom.

But while the num­bers of Chi­nese stu­dents at­tend­ing UK uni­ver­si­ties is a suc­cess story, new re­search shows that when it comes to aca­demic at­tain­ment, the pic­ture is not so good.

Ac­cord­ing to the latest fig­ures from the UK Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Sta­tis­tics Agency, nearly 68 per­cent of all stu­dents — and 52 per­cent of over­seas stu­dents from out­side the Euro­pean Union — grad­u­ated with a first or 2.1 last year. For Chi­nese stu­dents, it was just 42 per­cent.

I know from ex­pe­ri­ence in the UK that many stu­dents from China are sim­ply over­whelmed on their ar­rival. And who can blame them? They have to come to grips with many is­sues be­fore they even start think­ing about their cho­sen study pro­gram.

Although all will have achieved the re­quired level of writ­ten and spo­ken English for en­try to a Bri­tish univer­sity, it is a very dif­fer­ent mat­ter from hav­ing to speak and read ev­ery day in English.

Many uni­ver­si­ties and ed­u­ca­tion re­cruit­ment com­pa­nies are do­ing their best to help Chi­nese stu­dents to man­age what for many is a dif­fi­cult and stress­ful tran­si­tion. There are in­duc­tion courses to help ori­en­tate in­ter­na­tional stu­dents, and there are also pre-ses­sion courses in English to help stu­dents bet­ter pre­pare for the amount of read­ing and writ­ten work re­quired.

De­spite all this, stu­dents are sim­ply not pre­pared to ad­just — and ad­just quickly — to the dif­fer­ent teach­ing and learn­ing meth­ods in the UK com­pared with those in China.

Some stu­dents are bet­ter able to man­age these changes than oth­ers. How­ever, with so much more in­for­ma­tion to process be­fore a course has even started, hav­ing a good un­der­stand­ing of the dif­fer­ent skills needed for ef­fec­tive study is not al­ways a pri­or­ity for them.

Of course, stu­dents and their fam­i­lies can do more to pre­pare for over­seas study. But or­ga­ni­za­tions such as uni­ver­si­ties and re­cruit­ment agen­cies also need to do much more to help stu­dents ac­quire these key study skills — and well ahead of their ar­rival in the UK.

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