Making waves: Why China is a top destination for international students at the start of the 2020s

14 Jan 2020

With the global mobility of students more than doubling within the first two decades of this century, key external events and trends have marked China, at the start of the 2020s, to be a key location for international students to study.

This is the topic that Dr Rahul Choudaha (周大涵), principal researcher and co-founder of DrEducation, a US-based research and consulting firm, and specialist in mobility, experiences and enrolment of international students, is discussing at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University today.

In a presentation titled: ‘The Third Wave of International Student Mobility: Achieving Success for China as a Study Abroad Destination,’ Dr Choudaha will highlight the latest trends and mobility patterns of international students and resulting implications for Chinese universities.

While UNESCO has reported that between 2001 and 2016 global mobility of students rose from 2.2 million to 5.1 million, Dr Choudaha says it is at this point in history that China has the best opportunity to grow its international student cohort, highlighting XJTLU as a leading light.

“International student choice process is a complex interaction of many factors, including cost, reputation, location, language and academics,” Dr Choudaha says.

“As the cost of education in English-speaking destinations increases along with the lower prospects of work and visa opportunities, there is an increasing demand for value for money from their overseas education investment.

“China now has a most significant opportunity to become a key destination for international students.

“This is not only due to unwelcoming visa policies and the high cost of education in the top two leading destinations — the United States and the United Kingdom — but also because of proactive national policies and the increasing availability of high-quality, low-cost English-taught programmes in China.

“In specific, national policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative, Double-First Class, and Sino-foreign Cooperative Education will mutually reinforce each other to create a stronger opportunity for China in the next few years.”

In attracting international students, Dr Choudaha says that a concentrated and intentional approach to understanding needs of diverse students is critical for delivering a positive experience and supporting student success.

“XJLTU, a joint-venture between highly reputed Chinese and British universities, offers a unique blend of global learning experiences to international students. It is especially a high-value option for international students who are aiming to gain quality global learning at an affordable cost.

“In addition, China remains a relatively high-growth economy offering many opportunities for innovation and change. Hence, XJLTU provides an excellent value for the money for any cost- and career-conscious international student.

“One of the remarkable aspects of this University is its consistent focus of global and innovative dimensions of learning which helps students to prepare for the future.”

‘The Third Wave of International Student Mobility: Achieving Success for China as a Study Abroad Destination’ is being presented by the Institute of Leadership and Education Advanced Development at XJTLU on January 14.

XJTLU is the largest international collaborative university in China, a partnership between Xi'an Jiaotong University and the University of Liverpool.

By Will Venn

14 Jan 2020