Several researches and studies conducted by various international bodies have always concluded that the USA dominates the international education scene. In a similar study conducted by Institute of International Education, it was revealed that China was the top place of origin of international students studying in the USA in 2012/13. But the scene is slowly changing and the focus is shifting from the USA to the Asian country, China. Another study by Institute of International Education says that by the end of 2014, China will have 100,000 students from the USA itself. We look at the reasons that have induced the shift and promoted the phenomenon of reverse brain drain.

Origin of international students in the USA
  • China               29%
  • India                12 %
  • South Korea     9 %

Officially called the People’s Republic of China, the country, already the world’s second largest economy, is slowly emerging as the next global education hub. The reason for this big shift is that the country is allocating sufficient time and resources to the teaching process in its universities to encourage a clear understanding of different cultures and lifestyles.


PeaceWhat does it mean for Indian students?

In the last few years, much of  Indian students’ focus, when it comes to choosing a study abroad destination, has shifted from the USA to other comparatively cheaper options that allow them to access world-class education without having to empty their bank balance. The country that wins in the race is China for it has used this opportunity the best. Chinese universities have fared well in the global university rankings with 25 institutions from China making it to the QS World University Rankings 2013/2014. Furthermore, there are a number of scholarships available for international students in China that can be availed easily.

Brief history of international students in China

The outbreak of SARS in 2003 affected the incoming of international students in China immensely. But the country recovered the number and got back on track in no time.

  • It all began in the year 1950 when the country received its first batch of international students. The group consisted of 33 students who had come from the East European countries.
  • In 1996, the total of international students reached 41,000.
  • Between 1979 to 1999, the total number of international students in the country reached 342,000 person-times.
  • The total number of international students studying in China, by the end of 2000, had swelled and reached 4,07,000. The students came to study in China from more than 160 different countries.
  • And in the year 2010, the number reached to 2,60,000 for the first time.

With this steep increase in the number of international students opting for China to complete their higher studies, we look at the reasons that make China the next best study abroad destination for Indian students.

Top Universities in China

Chinese educational system is divided into four parts:
  • Basic education
  • Secondary vocational technical education
  • Higher education
  • Adult education

China is home to over 1,000 higher educational institutions currently. With students from all nationalities coming to China to study, more and more Chinese universities have now started offering courses in English. Many universities in China are recognized all over the world for the quality of education they offer. The QS World University Rankings 2013/2014 includes 25 institutions from China. The 8 universities that made a place for themselves in the top 200 are listed below:

  • Peking University (ranked 46 in the world)
  • Tsinghua University (48)
  • Fudan University (88)
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University (123)
  • Zhejiang University (165)
  • University of Science and Technology of China (174)
  • Nanjing University (175=)
  • Xi'an Jiao Tong University (372)

Scholarships in China

The China's Ministry of Education offered Chinese Government Scholarships to 163 countries in the year 2003. Mentioned below is a list that consists of major scholarships offered by the Ministry of Education of China to international students:

  • The Chinese Government Scholarship Scheme: The scheme was established to provide international students and scholars with both full and partial scholarships.
  • CHINA/UNESCO the Great Wall Fellowship Scheme: A full scholarship scheme created for visiting and senior visiting scholar candidates recommended by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
  • Distinguished International Students Scholarship Scheme: The scholarship scheme sponsors the Master's or Doctoral degree programmes of the outstandingly performing international students who have accomplished their previous studies in China.
  • HSK Winner Scholarship Scheme: It is a full scholarship scheme that supports international students who are the winners in the HSK test (Chinese Proficiency Test).
  • Chinese Cultural Research Fellowship Scheme: The scholarship scheme sponsors overseas scholars and specialists in Chinese culture to conduct short-term research in China.
  • The short-term Scholarship Scheme for Teaching Chinese as a Second Language: This scholarship allows foreign teachers, who teach Chinese language as a second language, to undertake short-term research and improvement in China.

Application-processApplication process for studying in China

With China attracting a large influx of students from all over the world, we look at what the application process of the country is like. There are over 465 institutions of higher education in China that offer global level education and their application processes are devoid of any complexity.

  • Application
    • Applicants may apply to the Chinese institutions of higher education directly or they may apply to the China Scholarship Council (CSC).
  • Duration of Study
    • Undergraduates: 4 to 5 years
    • Master's degree students: 2 to 3 years
    • Doctoral degree students: 3 years
    • There is no limit of study duration for Chinese language students, visiting scholars and senior visiting scholars.
  • Eligibility
    • Applicants must be non-Chinese nationals in good health.
    • Undergraduate applicants must hold high school certificate.
    • Master's degree applicants must hold bachelor's degree.
    • Doctoral degree applicants must hold master's degree.
    • Chinese language students must hold high school certificate.
    • Visiting scholars must have completed two years of undergraduate studies.
    • Senior visiting scholars must hold master's degree or hold academic titles of associate professor or higher.
  • Application Documents
    • Candidates need to submit the following:
    • The application form for Self-financed Study in China (in duplicates).
    • The notarized photocopy of their highest diploma.
    • The notarized photocopy of their high school transcripts for bachelor's degree applicants or transcripts for other categories' students.
    • The photocopy of Foreigner Physical Examination Form (printed by Chinese quarantine authority).
    • Two letters of recommendation in Chinese or English (Only the applicants for master's or doctoral degree studies and senior visiting scholars).
  • Admissions and Notification
    • Students receive the Admission Notice and Visa Application for Study in China (JW202) by July 31.
  • Expenses
    • The average tuition fees for a year in Beijing is approximately USD 3,500.
    • A bed in double-bed room without bathroom, telephone and television set costs 1.97 USD to 5.25 USD per day.


Lodging in China

Working while studying in China

International students in China are forbidden to be employed as per the relevant Chinese laws. Hence the students are advised to make proper arrangements for their finances before leaving for China.

Students should make the applications for accommodation to the universities before leaving for China. Most universities have their own dormitories where they offer accommodation to students at a particular cost, which is fixed. Those who don’t wish to stay on-campus can live off-campus with the permission of the university.

# The information is taken from various sources.

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