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Why Study in China?

VU International News and Reviews No. 120 September 24 2018

May 2019

Scholars from Tsinghua University in Beijing and UCLA have delved into the motivations for international students choosing China as their destination. They report in JSIE in their article “The Emergence of a Regional Education Hub: Rationales of International Students’ Choice of China as the Study Destination”. In their theoretical framework, they put the reversed mobility trend to China and other new hubs in the context of the Dependency theory – and of the cracks it is showing. It is a pity that they fail to acknowledge the much broader origin of this Dependency theory than just in the field of (international) education and ignore the work of Prebisch and Singer as the founders of the Dependency theory.

They do create an interesting framework in which pull-push factors at macro-level are combined with more individual micro-level motivations to choose a study abroad destination. From their analysis of a survey among 1674 international students in Beijing – one of the telling results is not mentioned in their conclusions: they indicate that perceived quality and modest cost of education, but they leave out that this does not apply to the almost 30 % of students from Europe and North America.

So: interesting and relevant, but with some flaws. The main conclusion stands: China is growing in importance and an international education hub, in particular for the non-Western world.

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