Study abroad: pros and cons

By Xinyi Wang

According to the National Education Department, more than 500,000 Chinese students went abroad to study last year. That is the same as the population in Florence. Without a doubt, overseas studying has become a hot choice for Chinese.

“I want to get better education, experience more various culture and a free system. I think these are my reasons to go abroad,” Fancy Gongwang, a girl studying in The University of Exeter in the UK, said. Although the UK is one of the most expensive countries to study in the world, it is still the most attractive country for girls.

“For me, gaokao (the China college entrance exam) is too stressful. So I just escaped,” Wasabi Yin, a girl studying in Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in the UK, said. As her words, the avoidance of the gaokao is one of the major reasons for studying abroad. According to the census, 9.4 million students took the gaokao this year. The number decreased by 1.1 million from the peak in 2008.

It is worth noticing that Yin went to the UK when she was in high school, not like most students who go abroad to college. According to data last year, students go abroad for postgraduate work accounted for 44 percent; undergraduate students accounted for 32 percent; primary and secondary school students accounted for 16 percent; the proportion of Ph.Ds. was 8 percent. The proportion of primary and high school students increased year by year since 2014, which showed the trend of the younger age of overseas studying in recent years.

“I believe high school life helped me adopt the society sooner. Going abroad for the master’s is a bit late,” Yin said.

For those countries that accept overseas students, this market is quite attractive.

According to the International Association of Education from the 2014-2015 school year, international students’ expenditure sin higher education contributed $30.5 billion to the U.S .economy and provided more than 370,000 jobs.

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International education is Australia’s third-largest export industry worth up to $ 20 billion. According to reports, Chinese students accounted for 29.4 percent of all overseas students in the first quarter of this year. The growth rate was 23 percent. As the second-largest market in Australia, the growth rate of Indian students is only 9 percent. The data also means that Australia’s education export industry’s dependence on the Chinese is becoming higher.

“It costs me almost $ 75,000 per year, I think,” Black Sun, who is studying at York University in Canada, said, “ t is quite expensive, but my family can afford it.”

Indeed, most of the overseas students grew up in a wealthy family. The high cost is the first barrier that stops many students from going abroad. Tens of thousands of dollars per year is not a small number for a Chinese family.

“I spend $33,000 annually, but I think it is worth it,” Yin said. Her parents are managers in a large state-owned enterprise. So it is a little unfair that notwithstanding overseas education is excellent, some poor students are unable to catch the chance. Foreign studying becomes a privilege for rich people.

That creates another phenomenon. Many wealthy children take overseas studying as entertainment. Those students are not good at studying. They may don’t have the ability to enter college in China. Therefore, their parents spend money sending them abroad.

“I have seen many rich students who don’t study. They just find a school to put their names in the system and never go to the class. Decadence and bars are their lives,” Sun said.

But others appreciate the experience. “Local people are nice to me,” Hennes Xia, a student at Jinan University who has been to the University of Cincinnati for a year, said. “It is not difficult to be accepted.”

Despite culture difference, most of the overseas students got along well with local students. However, sometimes the compatriots are the big troubles.

“What is funny is that some Chinese are not united. I remember once we have to do presentations, and one group use some old data which showed the bad side of China. So I doubted their data, but they just did it to tar China.” Xia said.

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