“Our students aren’t dumb. If they felt manipulated, they would go elsewhere”
Last August I woke up to find out I was a Chinese spy, remembers Erik Eging of the Confucius Institute US Center. This was news to me.
This year has been an incredible year of disruption for international education, writes Shane Dillon, found of Cturtle and UniAdvisor. It has rapidly brought to the forefront conversations around education delivery and the value of tertiary education in general in the 21st century.
As of March 2020, the global movement of international students has vanished and the future of the sector, the countries and university brands involved are in a state of flux.
Now more then ever before it is critical for the sector to embrace data on international graduate employment outcomes to illustrate clearly to consumers the value and return on investment an international education delivers. Numerous studies from UNICEF, QS and Cturtle show clearly that employability is the most important consideration impacting student choice across Asia.
The flow of students in higher education has historically been from Asia to western nations, with most international students studying in Europe, North America or Australia, writes Loretta O’Donnell, vice provost of Academic Affairs at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. However, this trend has been changing for a number of years and is now more multi-directional.
In 2019 China hosted more international students than both Canada or Australia, with the top five highest intakes coming from South Korea, Thailand, Pakistan, India, and the US. Japan also saw an almost 11% increase in international student uptake compared to the previous year, while the UK saw a 2% decrease between 2018 and 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a disastrous impact on the Chinese economy and Chinese people’s daily lives, writes Ivan Suchkov of That’s Mandarin. Here he discusses how Mandarin-language schools based in China are shifting online for classes.
A large number of enterprises and factories had to suspend production to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Fortunately, the situation has got a lot better now in China, and all the production lines (except for some industries like the educational sector) have fully resumed work.
However, thousands of private Chinese companies are now still on the verge of bankruptcy, as their businesses have been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the year draws to a close, it is a good time to review the news that made the most impact.
Funnily enough, it’s not a Brexit story that has stuck in my mind, but the drip, drip of news stories about accusations of cheating, directed against international students in general and Chinese students in particular.
In January, for example, there was the notorious email from the University of Liverpool international advice and guidance team about exam conduct, which translated the word “cheating” into Chinese but no other foreign language, on the grounds that Chinese students were “usually unfamiliar with the word” in English. A student petition condemned the email as “racially discriminative”.
However, underlying these headline stories is a real concern that we seem to be making it too hard for international students to thrive when they come to the UK to study…
China remains the top source of international students globally with over 600,000 Chinese students leaving the country in 2017 to pursue an education overseas.
The US, Australia, the UK and Canada are still the most popular study destination countries, but the competition and interest for countries such as France, Germany and the Netherlands are growing. Add to that political factors impacting international student recruitment such as the Trump effect and Brexit, and it is clear that universities need to work harder to attract Chinese international students to their institutions.
However, reaching and marketing to Chinese international students is easier said than done in a highly unique digital ecosystem in which many large universities have failed.
“Hosting Chinese marketing content on inaccessible websites is wasted effort and never going to work”
Jonathan Kalies, Head of CRM at eduFair China, summarises the mistakes made by international institutions when marketing in China, with some suggestions added for improvement.
Having worked across a number of professions within international recruitment and education in China, one aspect that intrigues me most is how international institutions market themselves in China.
Understanding the China of today seems to be a key issue here. Though there are some fantastic marketing campaigns out there which have managed to break through the ‘Great Wall’, mistakes invariably do occur. I’ve whittled them down to four key areas…
“MOE approval is very difficult. The approval criteria is that the foreign partner university has to be a very good one, if not the best in its country”
Shuai Yang, senior consultant at BOSSA, answers some common questions foreign institutions have about 3+1 and 2+2 arrangements with Chinese universities.
For foreign institutions wanting to partner with Chinese schools, they must submit applications to the national/state ministries of education to get approval. Is that true?
“Chinese parents and students are in an investment mindset when they are looking to study overseas”
Susan Fang, CEO of Academic Powerhouse, writes about what Chinese students and parents look for in an overseas university. Part of OxBridge Holdings, Academic Powerhouse is a leading educational consultancy providing independent and professional advice on all aspects of UK education as well as all aspects of China and Far East education.
Studying overseas has become a fashion, a new normal in China.
According to China’s Ministry of Education, 459,800 Chinese students went abroad in 2014, an 11.1% increase over the year before. China has now become the world’s top source of overseas students, with 14% of the global total.
“I did not consider anything less than a year to be considered a real exchange. How could you master a language, build relationships, and integrate yourself in a community for anything less than at least a few months?”
After writing for The PIE Blog on the unexpected challenges that can crop up during a homestay, Mary Beth Brungardt writes about the value of short-term study abroad.
It has been exactly one week since I arrived to China. Today I joked with a friend that I have not used a fork in seven days, which led to a discussion recapping everything we have learned in such a short period of time.
The growing popularity of short-term study abroad programs has started a debate among professionals and educators in the field. Are these short-term programs more than just an ‘academic trip?’ Does the length of a program dictate whether or not we should label the experience as ‘study abroad?’
There appear to be two trending categories of short-term participants: those who are unwilling to spend extended periods of time away from home, and those who are restricted by certain curriculum requirements. As a result, summer, May, and ‘J’ term programs are becoming increasingly popular among university and high school students. These programs allow us to “fit” the experience into our schedule, and require less commitment.
“There appear to be two trending categories of short-term participants: those who are unwilling to spend extended periods away from home, and those who are restricted by curriculum requirements”
As a junior in high school, I packed my bags and headed out to Spain on a year-long program. At the time, I did not consider anything less than a year to be considered a real exchange. How could you master a language, build relationships, and integrate yourself in a community for anything less than at least a few months? By the time you establish a routine, it would be time to go home.
Despite these disadvantages, short-term programs play a critical role in international education. Spending a few weeks abroad will inevitably not give you the same return as a year. Relationships and integration in the community require time. Languages are not mastered overnight. The bottom line is that you cannot compare short and long-term programs. Each program type has different goals and expectations. But if a student can only study abroad for a short amount of time, catering to this need continues to support our greater mission: raising cultural awareness and understanding.
Coincidentally, my internship project at CIEE revolved around its high school summer abroad program. Reading the feedback from students made me realize how powerful a 3-4 week experience impacted their outlook on the world. They kept blogs. Posted on social media. They shared their experiences and became global ambassadors by educating others of a world very different than their own.
When I told people that I was going to study abroad in China for a semester, I got a wide range of reactions. The people who had previously visited Asia thought it was a brilliant idea. They raved about the amazing food, business opportunities, and endless city nightlife. Those who thought I was “brave” or “a bit extreme” had never traveled here before. They told me stories they had heard from a friend of a friend who went there once back in the ’80s. They expressed how dirty and unsafe they believed the country to be. They brought up one or several of China’s well-known weaknesses.
“If a student can only study abroad for a short amount of time, catering to this need continues to support our greater mission: raising cultural awareness and understanding”
After being here a week, it is impossible for me to even tap into everything there is to know about this city. But there are a few things that stand out.
Each morning when I wake up, the city’s daily air quality score sits at the top of my app notifications. On my walk to campus, I pass a local hole-in-the-wall food market, whose smell and appearance remind me of the poverty-stricken markets I saw in Morocco. At every crosswalk, I am thankful for the pedestrian rights and protection laws that exist in the United States. When at a restaurant, I always order a beverage that is sealed.
However, there is so much good about this country that people do not know. Let me tell you about my Chinese language tutor, who bends over backwards to help me pronounce tones correctly. Or how approachable people on the street are when you need directions. And did I mention that Shanghai has one of the cleanest metros I’ve ever seen? Not to mention the incredible malls, history, architecture, restaurants, and rapidly emerging middle class.
Seven days isn’t everything, but it’s something.