With more than 400,000 foreign students arriving every year, China is one of the most popular destinations in Asia for international study. If you’re considering studying abroad, read on to find out why it might be the right choice for you.
A growing reputation
The Chinese Ministry of Education has been developing a world-class higher education system since the late 1990s. In 2012, it reached its target of spending 4% of GDP on education, while the number of colleges and universities has doubled in the last decade, now standing at around 2,900.
The government’s ‘Project 211’ in 1995 aimed to bring 100 Chinese universities up to a world-class standard, whilst ‘Project 985’ worked to create the C9 league (the Chinese equivalent of the US Ivy League).
Judging by the six Chinese universities that placed in the top 100 of the QS World Rankings in 2019, it appears that their efforts are paying off.
A chance to learn a new language
Mandarin Chinese has roughly 918 million native speakers in the world (more than any other language). It is ranked by the British Council in the top 10 most useful languages to learn. Whether you’re a total novice or have some knowledge of Mandarin, the immersive nature of living in the country means you’ll have a unique opportunity to learn and practice.
The number of English-taught university programmes in China has risen by 63% in the last five years, so don’t worry if you have no Chinese language ability. It’s common for Chinese universities to provide language classes for international students, so you can improve your language skills alongside your studies.
An affordable education
As part of the initiative to boost the global reputation of its universities, the Chinese government offers a wide range of scholarships to international students. As a result, in 2017 nearly 59,000 foreign students in mainland China received some form of scholarship to support their studies. To find out more about these, take a look at our guide Study in China: tuition fees and scholarships.
Tuition fees in China are fairly low, particularly in comparison to the UK and US. Programmes range between 20,000 and 60,000 CNY per year (around 3,000-8,700 USD or 2,300-7,000 GBP), depending on the subject and institution. See Useful resources at the end of this guide for further price comparisons.
A diverse and beautiful country
China is big. Really big, in fact. Its borders contain a multitude of different landscapes, climates, customs, dialects, and cooking styles. While studying there, you’ll have the opportunity to travel and see many of the diverse regions.
In the north, you can expect cold and snowy winters where you can ski and snowboard. In the south, there are tropical beaches and remote islands to enjoy during the summer. What’s more, you can explore much of China using public transport, which includes the longest high-speed railway system in the world.
Students from around the world
There are over a billion people living in China. Although a majority of these people are natively Chinese, there are many other nations and cultures represented in the population. And with well over 400,000 foreign students, there’s a vibrant international community on university campuses. Many international students in China come from other parts of Asia, but roughly 24,000 American students and 71,000 European students arrive every year. For more on this, take a look at Useful resources below.
- a table comparing the cost of studying in China with the UK, US and Australia
- an interactive graph showing the number of international students in China and their home countries
This article was written with the help of the International Admissions Office of Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an, China. For questions about Shaanxi Normal University's degrees, email firstname.lastname@example.org