Chinese must adapt to ‘study shock’
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.