Australia is becoming a popular place for local Shanghai students to continue their studies, a trend that was obvious at the 11th China International Education Expo Tour, which was held in Shanghai over the weekend.
Nearly 40,000 students and parents crowded the annual international education tour organized by the Ministry of Education.
More than 240 colleges, universities and training institutes from 27 countries held the face-to-face meeting with local students this year.
One of the busiest events of the meeting was a lecture on studying down under. More than 150 people packed a lecture room with only 80 seats to listen to the talk.
Students and parents said it is easier to get a visa to study in Australia than many other countries, especially the US, and tuition fees are relatively low.
Across China, more than 11,300 students received a student visa to study in Australia between July and November last year. About 60 percent of students who applied for a visa were successful.
In the past, about 50 percent of student applicants were approved for a visa to study in the US, but that rate has dropped significantly since 2001.
Overseas study agents say it cost between 150,000 yuan (US$18,649) and 200,000 yuan a year to study in Australia - including tuition fees and living expenses. Studying in Britain, however, will set students back about 250,000 yuan a year.
Wang Weiguo, a local father carrying bags of pamphlets, said that he went to the fair by himself to look into overseas study opportunities for his son, who will graduate from high school this June.
"Since I'm not sure whether my boy is competent enough to enter a top local university, taking some training courses abroad might provide him some other access to international universities," Wang said.
Along with Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong are popular destinations for students this year, according to fair organizers.
(Beijing Time February 27, 2006)