A survey shows that about 410,000 Chinese students went abroad to study in 2012, which is higher than the number of 340,000 in 2011, althought the starting salary for a Chinese student who returns after graduation from a foreign college was as low as 3000 RMB.
The teaching style and method is an important reason why Chinese students want to study abroad. Unlike the one-way teaching method in most Chinese classrooms, “There is more space for you to do something you are really interested in,” said Yan Lu, who was accepted as a graduate student by the Journalism School of Missouri in 2010.
Beyond receiving a degree from a world-famous university, Chinese students are attracted to the opportunity to study and live independently. Because of the one-child policy which has been conducted since late 1970, most children born in 1980s and 1990s are labeled as a generation who cannot live alone.
Parents have arranged everything for their children, including education, work, and even housing. Lv could have the opportunity to be accepted by Tsinghua University as a graduate student without any examination two years ago, but she decided to give it up. “I hope to have the chance to learn to solve some problems by myself,” Lv said. Studying abroad did bring her a lot of those opportunities. “I learned how to drive, how to buy my first car and how to move to a new apartment,” Lv said. “It is exhausting sometimes, but I enjoy it.”
For the early Chinese international students went abroad in 1980s, studying abroad cost them not only a lot of money, but also a large amount of courage because they could hardly get information of the life they were going to face in advance. Now students can search schools’ information through internet, as well as go to visit the colleges they are interested in.
Minggan Wei joined a summer campus to visit several cities in America when he was in the second year of high school. Although he had been here for only a week, Wei made his decision to study in an American college when he went back to Beijing. “I know this is the place which matches my expectation of colleges,” Wei said.
Some students take advantage of the applying process to have a better understanding of the colleges they have interest in. Instead of contracting with an education agency, Zhenlong Zhao, a Ph.D. candidate in MIT, completed the application by himself. “It took me a large amount of time to look for the ideal schools, to know the requirements of different schools, and to prepare all the materials requried by each school,” Zhao said. “But when I finished all the work, I had a better knowledge of these schools.”
In terms of the future, some Chinese international students don’t expect a high salary which can help them earn the tuitions back soon. “I am just a student who just graduate from a university. I never think I have something special compared with other Chinese graduates,” Lv said. “For me, it is the experience that matters.”