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More Chinese High School Students Choosing to Study Abroad
"I want to study corporate management in England, and then return to China after graduation," says 17-year-old Wang Tianchi, a girl from northeast China's Heilongjiang province.

After a year's study in Beijing Huijia High School, a prestigious Beijing school, Wang is going to continue her middle school education in Australia this summer.

"I have set a schedule of three months to overcome the language barrier, and to accustom myself to life abroad," she says.

Wang is not unusual in today's China, where studying abroad is no longer the preserve of university students. The past few years have seen middle school students being educated abroad in growing numbers.

Statistics from the Australian Embassy in Beijing show that, of those students who went to Australia for study in 1999, 43 percent went to finish high school, and that proportion had risen to 53 percent by 2000.

Canada is another popular destination. The Canadian Embassy in Beijing has received more and more middle school students wanting to study in Canada, says an education official with the embassy.

"I have longed to study abroad since I was just a freshman in high school," says Song Chen, a senior student at Beijing Huicai High School, who has already received an admission notice from Fontys College in the Netherlands.

A professor with Beijing Normal University, Zhu Xudong, attributes the ever-increasing number of young students going abroad at their own expense to the improving living standards of the Chinese people.

The globalization of education has also contributed to the upsurge of study abroad, with many overseas universities focusing on China's huge market, and the provision of higher teaching standards and relatively lower teaching fees.

Studying abroad before the College Entrance Examination, Zhu Xudong says, is, to some extent, a relief to the fierce enrollment competition in China, which is usually described by domestic media as "crossing a single-log bridge" to higher education.

In China, less than 50 percent high school students gain admission to colleges and universities after the annual entrance exam.

"However, when faced with different cultures and values, the young students abroad are always apt to tolerate more than adults," Zhu warns.

(eastday.com July 11, 2002)

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