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EDITIONS
Friday, 31 May, 2002, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Why students in China love the UK
Young Chinese using the internet
Information is available on the internet
Applications to UK universities from Chinese students have risen dramatically, official statistics show. What's the appeal?


Education UK fairs are often crowded with enthusiastic visitors, IELTS English language exams are often booked out two months in advance, and the waiting hall for visa applications in the British Embassy in Beijing is often full of anxious young faces.


Big names like Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens have been accompanying me since my school days

Student Elfin Yue

The signs are clear: more and more Chinese students fancy studying in the UK.

The British Council says there are now 17,682 Chinese students in higher education in the UK and significantly more in further education and on language courses.

The long history of the advanced higher education system in this country, its good reputation for practicability and efficiency and the glamour of its mixed and profound cultures - promoted by overseas study agencies - form an irresistible attraction to Chinese students who cherish the dream of studying abroad.

'Efficient'

"Many UK universities enjoy very good reputation of high academic standard, and the degrees issued by them are highly valued all over the world," said Daniel Yang, a 26-year-old Chinese who is leaving for the UK next month to work on his MSc on human resource management.

For Chinese students, who have already spent over a decade on education, the efficiency of working out a degree, especially a master's degree, in the UK is no doubt another motivation.

On the one hand, it takes only one year for postgraduate study; on the other hand, diploma holders can be accepted as master's candidates with a certain period of work experience.

"It's efficient that I don't have to work out another university degree before apply for master's course in the UK," said Yang, who got his diploma in China in 1998.

Cultural pull

The profound English culture, even the European cultures, which overshadow the melting pot of America, add to the glamour and competitiveness of British universities in terms of attracting Chinese students.

Elfin Yue is one of those in love with it.

"Big names like Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens have been accompanying me since my school days," said the 26-year-old MA candidate for international journalism at City University in London.

"Peaceful grassland and idyllic life are always in my imagination."

September 11 has caused despair for a lot of Chinese students who fancy the Statue of Liberty, due to the difficulty of obtaining an American visa.

This has made the UK even more popular.

Information flow

Elfin admitted that the best choice for her major should be the US, where "people can feel the heartbeat of the times", but the smart girl was not putting her future at stake because of a visa.

"It's easier to get a British visa," she said. "And the course is also very practical in the UK."

She is very supportive of friends who are consulting her about studying in the UK.

Compared to the past, it's much easier for Chinese students to get information about study in UK now, with the British Council and educational agency for overseas study in China playing important roles.

The British Council has been making various efforts, including education fairs and scholarship programmes, to promote UK education in China.

"We can get whatever information about the universities, the courses, and the living conditions on education fairs or on the internet," Yang said.

See also:

30 May 02 | UK Education
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