US still top choice for Chi­nese stu­dents

China Daily - - CHINA - By ZOU SHUO zoushuo@chi­

Guo Shuai, 26, be­came de­ter­mined to study in the United States after watch­ing the Dis­ney movie High School Mu­si­cal as a mid­dle school stu­dent.

Un­like the high-pres­sure, test-ori­ented school sys­tem he was fa­mil­iar with, the movie pre­sented an al­ter­na­tive: a care­free at­mos­phere where stu­dents were in­de­pen­dent, free to speak their minds, and en­joyed a wide range of so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties.

So when he grad­u­ated from Zhengzhou Uni­ver­sity in He­nan prov­ince in June 2015, Guo did not hes­i­tate to en­roll at Fort Hays State Uni­ver­sity in Kansas to pur­sue an MBA.

Guo is just one of an in­creas­ing num­ber of Chi­nese stu­dents choos­ing to study in the US.

China con­tin­ued to pro­vide the lion’s share of for­eign stu­dents to US uni­ver­si­ties in the 2016-17 aca­demic year, ac­cord­ing to the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion, a non­profit based in New York.

Of the more than 1 mil­lion for­eign stu­dents who en­rolled at US uni­ver­si­ties over the pe­riod, 350,755 — about 35 per­cent — were Chi­nese, up 6.8 per­cent from a year ear­lier.

In 2017, a sur­vey of 6,217 Chi­nese stu­dents who plan to study abroad — or their par­ents — found that the US re­mained the top choice, pre­ferred by 50 per­cent of re­spon­dents.

It was the third con­sec­u­tive year the US ranked No 1 in the an­nual Re­port on Chi­nese Stu­dents’ Over­seas Study, com­piled by Vi­sion Over­seas Con­sult­ing and Kan­tar Mill­ward Brown, an­other con­sul­tancy.

Mean­while, the US was the fourth-largest source of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in China last year, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Shi Yan, of the Chivast Ed­u­ca­tion In­ter­na­tional con­sul­tancy in Bei­jing, said Chi­nese stu­dents go to the US be­cause the coun­try has the world’s top-ranked uni­ver­si­ties.

“With fierce com­pe­ti­tion to get into col­leges in China, study­ing in the US can be a good al­ter­na­tive,” Shi said.

Hav­ing study ex­pe­ri­ence in the US can also bur­nish Chi­nese stu­dents’ re­sumes, as it demon­strates that they have more in­ter­cul­tural un­der­stand­ing and a stronger com­mand of the English lan­guage, she said.

Gene Block, chan­cel­lor of the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Los An­ge­les, said there has been in­creas­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween UCLA and Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties, such as the set­ting up of joint re­search pro­grams with Fu­dan Uni­ver­sity, Zhe­jiang Uni­ver­sity and Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity.

“We are work­ing on an on­line adult ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram with Zhengzhou Uni­ver­sity, of­fer­ing mas­ter’s de­grees in en­gi­neer­ing,” he said.

More than 10 UCLA stu­dents visit Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity for 10 weeks each sum­mer through a stu­dent ex­change pro­gram, and more than 90 Chi­nese uni­ver­sity stu­dents also go to UCLA to at­tend sum­mer pro­grams ev­ery year, Block said.

“With out­stand­ing re­search fa­cil­i­ties, stu­dents and fac­ulty, Chi­nese uni­ver­si­ties are quickly clos­ing the gap with top uni­ver­si­ties in the US and may even catch up some­day.”

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