Many more Chinese students are studying abroad in Britain and the US with more visas being granted for these educational trips through a streamlined application process. Non-English speaking countries like Italy are also becoming popular destinations.
The figures were released over the weekend at the China Education Expo 2006 that attracted more than 6,000 visitors and 450 overseas schools from 30 countries and regions.
Between January and September the British embassy approved 18,000 Chinese student visas. Accounting for 90 percent of visas granted to students Britain is the top destination for Chinese applicants.
"The rate has jumped by 18 percent from the same period of last year," said Jarzeel Goh, an official with the education department of the British embassy. "More students are receiving a quality education in Great Britain and the British government welcomes the rising number of international students, allowing them to spend a year working in the country after they finish their studies. Meanwhile, the quality of students' applications is getting better as well."
Although the US is popular so far Britain and New Zealand are the two favorite destinations with a total of 60,000 Chinese students in the UK and 30,000 in New Zealand at present. At this year's expo the 60-plus British schools were the largest single group of participants.
Besides the thousands of students studying in Britain and New Zealand the number of applicants wishing to study in America has tripled due to the US embassy relaxing its visa requirements with 95 percent of applicants in the first eight months of this year being granted admission, a US embassy official told CCTV.
"No matter whether students have scholarships or not, as long as they can provide a reasonable income source they'll be treated equally and without discrimination," he was quoted by CCTV as saying.
"My parents insist on my going to the US for graduate study," He Wenwen, a sophomore at Beijing International Studies University, told China Daily. "I think it's important to have the overseas experience. It'll broaden my thinking and help me get a well-rounded understanding of the world. But finally I'll return to China."
Non-English speaking countries are also attracting more students. Italy plans to take 2,000 Chinese students this year, which is 10 times more than the number for 2005, while South Korea intends to admit over 1,000 -- a rise of 25 percent over last year.
The Education Expo, organized by the China Education Association for International Exchange (CEAIE), is seen as an opportunity for overseas schools to expand their presence in what is potentially the world's largest recruitment market.
"This year's expo is themed 'quality first'," said Wu Zaofeng, deputy secretary-general of the CEAIE. "We hope our overseas participants will be able to bring tailored and quality programs to our visitors, making it easier for them to find jobs in the future."
The hot subjects for overseas study include information technology, engineering, accounting, international communications, logistics and hotel management.
(China Daily October 16, 2006)