China outbound student numbers at record high

China’s outbound student numbers are showing little sign of slowing down, with the Chinese Ministry of Education recording a total of 608,400 study abroad students in 2017. This is the first time the number has exceeded the 600,000 mark and represents an 11.7% increase on 2016 figures.

China’s outbound student numbers are showing little sign of slowing down.

According to a MoE statement, the number of ‘sea turtles’, or students returning to China after studying abroad, also increased in 2017 – up 11.9% to 480,900.

“China will remain the world’s most important source of international students in the foreseeable future”

The data also revealed that in 2017, there were 541,300 students studying abroad at their own expense, which accounted for 88.97% of the total, while 31,200 students were supported abroad by the state.

Taiwanese academic and researcher Sheng-Ju Chan told that the reason for the upward trend in outbound students is twofold.

“The main reasons are economic growth and cultural expectation,” he explained.

“The former is related to the improved economic condition of the average family in China. Along with the rise of the middle-class, more families are able to sponsor their young generations for such overseas adventures.

“The latter denotes the strong motivations of Chinese traditions in pursuing greater educational opportunities. Having a higher degree at well-known universities overseas means better opportunities with upward social mobility.”

“Trump’s policies have played a role in making more and more people come back”.