Why do Chinese students want to study in the UK?
The Agenda


The number of Chinese students now studying at UK universities has now reached a record high.

But what exactly is the attraction to the UK? And what about opportunities in the opposite direction for British students to study in China?

Wang Yan, senior specialist and associate research fellow at Beijing Foreign Studies University joins Stephen Cole to explain.


According to Dr Wang, there are several key reasons why the UK is so attractive to Chinese students: "If you look at the cost, the economic cost for studying in UK in comparison with that in the United States, the combined cost of tuition and living expenses is relatively lower [in Britain]. Also [safety concerns are lower] thanks to the effective measures in prevention of COVID 19 compared with other major destinations for international education. There is also a greater variety of choices, of course offerings not only in terms of the fields of study, but also in terms of the most of the instruction."

And, she continues, there's a further reason why Chinese students in particular might be looking oversea: "The quality of higher education is very competitive to secure a place at top ranking universities in China now. And so Chinese students can seek alternative opportunities in prestigious higher education institutions in the UK. And this international education provided by universities in the UK can increase their employability in a globalized labor market."

Dr Wang says she hopes that existing programs for UK students to study in China will also flourish going forward – which she says can only be a good thing for international relations in the future: "I believe that education will always play a conducive role for building mutual understanding and mutual trust between two countries…education not only can be an icebreaker, but also can play a positive and constructive role in bilateral relations."


Vivienne Stern, Director of UK Universities International explains why British academic institutions appear to be so popular with overseas students, and exactly how they are balancing the need to keep students healthy during the pandemic with the desire for more face-to-face teaching.

- Stephen speaks to Deng Hanzu from Chongqing in Southwest China, who's just arrived in London to take a Masters in design at Goldsmiths, University of London to find out first hand why she came, and what her expectations are for student life in London during Covid.

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