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China Popular with Overseas Students

China is emerging as an ever popular destination for overseas students, with numbers steadily rising over the past few years.

According to research conducted by the China Association of Science and Technology, China now ranks sixth in the world's overseas study market. Western countries such as the United States, Britain and Australia remain the most popular destinations for international students.

As one of the top higher education institutes in China, Beijing's Tsing Hua University is popular among overseas students. Wu Yunxin is the director of the overseas student office.

"Tsing Hua University has accepted more and more students in recent years. We are seeing great increases in the number of overseas students, with those coming to pursue a degree increasing the fastest."

According to statistics, a total of 195,000 students from 188 countries and regions came to study at more than 500 Chinese universities, colleges and research institutes in 2007. This compares with 141,000 students from 179 countries and regions in 2005. Around Tsing Hua's campus, Wu Yunxin says people can now see students from every corner of the globe.

"We are also seeing an increase in the number of different countries which send their students to study in China. We have many students from developing countries, and also many from developed countries like from Europe, America and Australia. This year, we estimate that the there will be students from more than 90 countries coming to study at Tsing Hua."

Ruan Chunri is a student from Vietnam. With the full scholarship from the Chinese government, he finished his bachelor and master degrees in Tsing Hua and went back to Vietnam to work for four years. Now he's back on campus, pursuing his PHD. Ruan Chunri says the high educational quality that Chinese institutes provide has encouraged more students from his country to choose China.

"It is now a global economy era and many Chinese companies have investments in Vietnam. My study experience in China has already greatly helped my career. Many companies have offered me good positions because I have a degree from Tsing Hua University. Many family friends now ask me how to send their children to study in China."

Full scholarships from the Chinese government and low living costs are two other factors which attract overseas students. Gergina Balareva from Bulgaria is pursuing a masters degree in Philosophy with a full scholarship from the Chinese government.

"I chose China because China is becoming more and more interesting and more and more popular in Europe. For example, in my country, when the full scholarship program started, maybe ten years ago or more, the people that were willing to come to study here were very few. But these days, Bulgaria requested some more quotas for their students, so each year the number is increasing."

Research has shown that metropolises such as Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, and the provinces of Liaoning and Jiangsu, with their many prestigious universities, are the most popular destinations for overseas students. China has sent more of its students to study abroad than any other country in recent years, but it's also drawing more international students to its shores in pursuit of higher education.

( October 27, 2008)

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