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Expat's Eye
Print Edition> Expat's Eye
UPDATED: July 11, 2011 NO. 28 JULY 14, 2011
A Magnet for Foreign Students

ART CLASS: Foreign students at the Zhejiang University of Technology learn about traditional Chinese watercolor painting (XINHUA)

In the last couple of years, China has moved to a different level in attracting foreign students, becoming one of the top six nations to host international students. New data show there are as many international students in China as there are in Australia or in Germany.

Studying in China is a unique experience no other country can create.

There are countless reasons to study in the country, and the affordable cost makes it possible for almost anyone.

China is a very safe country. Even urban areas are relatively crime-free compared to many American and European cities. China is distinct from its neighbors. Other Asian countries like Japan and South Korea do share some similarities with China, but their differences are much bigger.

The cost of living in China is much lower than in the United States, Canada, Australia and many parts of Europe. Food products and consumer goods are the least expensive items in China. Transportation can also be very cheap. Taxis are considered expensive by local standards, but even in big cities a trip across town is a fraction of what it would be anywhere in Europe or North America. Tuition fees in China are substantially lower as well. Private institutions are somewhat more expensive.

Prices for all things, especially housing, are much lower in smaller cities than in the large cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Foreign food and imported products are also quite expensive compared to local varieties. Overall though, the cost of living in China is much lower than in other popular overseas study destinations.

The modern world is globalized and interaction between people of different cultures is essential. Those who have gone abroad and learned how to interact with other cultures will have a distinct advantage over those who stay at home or choose to go to places more similar to their home country.

Living and studying in China brings you into contact with a unique culture that is vastly different from almost every other country in the world. Even if you don't walk away an expert on Chinese culture, the ability to work, study and make friendships with those different from you is a valuable skill in today's world and can benefit any career.

Studying in China is an excellent opportunity to explore the world's most populous country, experiencing China's unique blend of ancient and modern civilization, as well as its scenic beauty and bustling nightlife. Visit new places with other students from around the world that you'll meet, and you'll find yourself opening your eyes not just to China, but to the whole world.

Following rapid economic development over the last 30 years, Chinese cities now boast eye-catching works of modern architecture—from the towering skyscrapers of Shanghai to Beijing's Olympic stadium Bird's Nest—in addition to impressive ancient structures like the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors and Horses. China's 5,000 years of history have bequeathed a seemingly endless amount of tourist attractions to visit, while natural wonders of breathtaking beauty are also scattered about the country.

China is striving to build more world-class universities, and investing heavily in higher education. Aside from China's unique Chinese language, calligraphy, martial arts and other cultural subjects, Chinese degree programs in majors such as engineering, science, medicine, economics and trade, MBA as well as finance are highly revered. And for those who don't know any Chinese, many universities offer degree programs taught in English, so you can earn your degree while learning the most widely spoken language in the world.

The academic qualifications awarded by Chinese universities are recognized by most developed countries. The Chinese Government has signed an agreement on mutual recognition of academic qualifications with a number of countries including the United States, Britain, France, Japan and 65 other countries.

Skills, knowledge and experience accumulated as a student in China will transfer into a career later in life, whether one chooses to work in China, at home or elsewhere. No matter whether one chooses to study advanced Chinese, business management or martial arts, studying in China creates advantages for any job search or career path.

The author is a Nepalese living in China

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