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Nine reasons why Chinese students choose to study abroad

Although the higher education sector in China is going from strength to strength, many Chinese students are still choosing to study abroad. Here are some of the reasons why

  • Student life
  • Study abroad
Dandan Cheng 's avatar

Dandan Cheng

June 14 2018
Why Chinese students study abroad


More and more Chinese students are heading overseas to study. In fact, China continues to be one of the leading countries sending students to study abroad and this demand for overseas education remains strong.

Here are the top nine reasons why Chinese students are choosing to head overseas for their university education. 

1. Enriched experience

The majority of Chinese students decide to study abroad to develop a better understanding of other cultures and to gain a global mindset.

The opportunity to experience the different languages, cuisines and customs is exciting. By absorbing a new cultural environment and learning from a different educational system, many students feel they have a more enriching experience than if they had studied in their home country.

2. Meet a diverse range of people

Going overseas to study unlocks the opportunity to make friendships with people from all around the world. You study, live and travel with a diverse range of people – creating an international network of life-long friends. These relationships and memories are one of the biggest positives to studying abroad. 

3. Future employment prospects

Chinese students have rated future employment prospects as one of their top reasons to study overseas. Among Chinese students and their parents, there is a strong belief that overseas education will enhance job prospects and career development. In recent years, we have seen a trend towards students working in the studying country for some time before heading back to their home country.

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4. Language skills

By studying in an English-speaking country, students can learn and improve their language skills. They can quickly pick up the new language and improve their grammar and spelling much faster than if they had stayed in China.

5. Avoid entrance exam in China for higher education

The entrance exam in China (Gaokao) is one of the most stressful periods of time for both Chinese students and their parents. In China, it is the most important exam for all high school graduates looking to get an undergraduate education. Therefore it comes as no surprise that many parents rank avoidance of entrance exam as a big reason to study abroad. In fact, many parents view it as a good opportunity for their kids to escape this intense and fierce competition.

6. Preparation for immigration and working abroad

Some students have the intention to eventually move to a foreign country. However, because of the strict application process and eligibility requirements, they choose to study abroad so that they can prepare for the immigration process beforehand. When we look at education levels and fields of study most sought by Chinese students, the master’s degree comes on top, closely followed by the bachelor’s degree. Business is the most popular field of study for Chinese students.

7. Influenced by their friends

There are a small number of students that choose to study in a foreign country because of the influence from their friends. This isn’t always the main factor but can one of the reasons that can persuade a student towards going abroad. 

8. Better environment

Chinese students also believe that studying overseas gives them a better educational environment. This is because overseas schools offer a more flexible learning environment, with a greater focus on improving the student’s soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork and decision-making.

9. Requested by parents

Lastly, a small minority of students go abroad to study simply because their parents requested it. Parents have a large influence on their children in Chinese culture, so many students may feel that by studying abroad they are adhering to their parents’ wishes and upholding family honour. 

Read more: An open letter to Chinese students in the US: dealing with stress


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