The Chinese government has pledged to create more ‘world-class’ universities and attract a greater number of international students. In fact, the country aims to have 500,000 international students enrolled in its universities by 2020, so you can be sure you won’t be alone when making this decision.
You can also be sure of value for money, as tuition fees are relatively low compared to European countries and the USA. The opportunity to travel and explore the world’s most populous country is another huge draw for foreign students. Many use their study holidays to experience a rich history, culture, climate, and landscape vastly different from their own.
While immersed in the Chinese way of life, you’ll have plenty of time to pick up a second language – most likely Mandarin, the country’s most commonly spoken language.
After graduation, your prospects are good, as many employers in China prefer candidates with some experience of the Chinese culture and knowledge of local languages.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about feeling homesick, as Shanghai is home to many ‘copycat’ towns. Thames Town, for instance, is a replica of an English village with cobbled streets and an English pub, so you’ll feel right at home.
The majority of higher education institutions in China are public and governed by the Ministry of Education. They are made up of:
colleges of professional training and higher vocational education.
Around 600 of the 3,000 universities and colleges are qualified to admit international students. These institutions offer a combination of short courses, language studies, and undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.
Some universities concentrate on a specific field of study – though not exclusively – and use this area of expertise in their titles, such as the Beijing Institute of Technology, China Agricultural University, and the Ocean University of China.
China has 40 institutions in the QS World University Rankings 2019. Five feature in the top 100:
Tsinghua University (17th)
Peking University (30th)
Fudan University (40th)
Shanghai Jiao Tong University (59th)
Zhejiang University (68th).
While rankings might be important to foreign students considering where to study, the Chinese place more emphasis on the C9 League, a group of nine universities considered equivalent to the British Russell Group of the American Ivy League. The C9 League is made up of the following universities:
Harbin Institute of Technology
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
University of Science and Technology of China
Xi’an Jiaotong University
The academic year in China is split into two semesters and runs from September to July. Start dates at Chinese universities differ from Western academic calendars as the autumn semester falls between February and July; the spring semester falls between September and January.