As China's economy keeps on booming, studying abroad is becoming less of a luxury and more of a reality for many Chinese students. And it's not just those looking to go to foreign universities, but middle school pupils too. This comes as an increasing number of institutions overseas are recognising China's College Entrance Exam.
The Beijing International Education Expo was held on Saturday and Sunday at the city's World Trade Center. Some 400 colleges and institutions from over 30 countries and regions were there. While English speaking countries like the US, the UK, Canada and Australia are still the most popular destinations, Japan, France and Hong Kong are also attracting attention.
Organized by the Overseas Study Service Center, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, the expo sees tens of thousands of students and parents annually, epitomizing the craze for a foreign diploma among Chinese citizens.
Che says the number of middle school students studying overseas keeps in increasing. Last year accounted for 40 percent of all outbound students, just about equalling the number of those applying for a Masters degree or Ph.d abroad.
The University for the Creative Arts in the UK has participated in the event for several years.
But fewer than ten percent of applicants are hoping to go to a foreign high school. Aranui High School in New Zealand is hoping their beautiful country can attract Chinese pupils.
One of the main reasons Chinese students are looking to learn overseas is to do with the courses on offer. Many are drawn to the subjects overseas universities have, as well as the price.
A student said, "I intend to study in UK after I graduate from high school, because there's my favorite jewelry certification major."
The student's mother said, "Because the RMB is strong against the British pound, it will not cost an arm and a leg to send her abroad."
Joyboom Passion English, a private sponsored English Training Center, is now receiving over a hundred high school students annually, to be trained for SAT tests, a prerequisite to be enrolled in American Colleges.
Li Jiang, teacher from Joyboom Passion English, said, "70 percent of students in my class come from the top ranking high schools of Beijing, but they still regard US colleges as their top choice."
For these students, taking SAT tests and hopefully enrolling in an Ivy League college, is not only an alternative in case of the failure of the gruelling Gao Kao, or China's College Entrance Exam, but securing a bright future.
As China is becoming more international, its younger generation is proving eager to globalize their education. And hopefully they will be a step ahead of their Chinese peers when they return home to work.
(CNTV March 13, 2012)