China’s rapid growth as a global economic power has coincided with its universities’ exponential growth, one of the stories of higher education since the start of the new millennium. The number of overseas students in China has multiplied over the past few decades, and the number of degree programmes and investment in higher education has increased substantially.
Hundreds of thousands of international students move to China each year, with many drawn to the country to immerse themselves in Chinese culture and history, while others enjoy its universities’ many specialisms, with many institutions focusing on one area of study in particular. China’s top institutions include Tsinghua University and Peking University, both in Beijing, its capital, and Fudan University in Shanghai, while examples of elite specialist institutions include China Agricultural University, also in Beijing, and the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, west of Shanghai.
Although not all universities admit overseas students, there are so many institutions that places are available across the country, not just in its best-known cities. Although the cost of living is rising as economic development in the country accelerates, China remains considerably cheaper than Europe or North America, and its tuition fees are relatively low.
While China is one of the biggest countries in the world, it is served well by economical high-speed trains, making cross-country travel relatively efficient. And the country’s vast size means students can experience a wide range of climates, cultures and landscapes, while its cuisine can vary significantly from region to region.