Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Post-pandemic, young Chinese seek studies abroad, just not in US

The decrease of the Chinese students can be seen in the undergradu­ate programme in the United States


In the Chinese city of Shanghai, two young women seeking an education abroad have both decided against going to the United States, a destinatio­n of choice for decades that may be losing its shine.

For Helen Dong, a 22-yearold senior studying advertisin­g, it was the cost. “It doesn’t work for me when you have to spend 2 million (yuan) (USD 278,000) but find no job upon returning,” she said. Dong is headed to Hong Kong this fall instead. Costs were not a concern for Yvonne Wong, 24, now studying comparativ­e literature and cultures in a master’s program at the University of Bristol in Britain. For her, the issue was safety.

“Families in Shanghai usually don’t want to send their daughters to a place where guns are not banned that was the primary reason,” Wong said. “Between the US and the UK, the UK is safer, and that’s the biggest considerat­ion for my parents.”

With an interest in studying abroad rebounding after the pandemic, there are signs that the decades-long run that has sent an estimated 3 million

Chinese students to the US, including many of the country’s brightest, could be trending down, as geopolitic­al shifts redefine US-China relations.

Cutting people-to-people exchanges could have a lasting impact on relations between the two countries. “Internatio­nal education is a bridge,” said Fanta Aw, executive director of the NAFSA Associatio­n of Internatio­nal Educators, based in Washington.

“A long-term bridge, because the students who come today are the engineers of the future. They are the politician­s of the future, they are the business entreprene­urs of the future.”

“Not seeing that pipeline as strong means that we in the US have to pay attention, because

China-US relations are very important,.”

Aw said the decrease is more notable in US undergradu­ate programs, which she attributed to a declining population in China from low birthrates, bitter US-China relations, more regional choices for Chinese families and the high costs of a US education.

But graduate programs have not been spared. Zheng Yi, an associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineerin­g at Northeaste­rn University in Boston, has seen the number of Chinese applicants to one of the school’s engineerin­g programs shrink to single digits, compared with 20 to 30 students before the pandemic.

 ?? ?? Representa­tional Image
Representa­tional Image

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