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Working-class students find low-budget education abroad

[ 2013-09-06 10:27] 来源:中国日报网     字号 [] [] []  
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With universities and colleges in European and Asian countries providing low-cost overseas study programs, an increasing number of working-class parents are sending their children abroad, which means that studying overseas is no longer the exclusive privilege of students from rich families.

According to the 2012 Blue Book of Global Talent released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences last year, 34 percent of students studying abroad in 2010 were from working-class families, while the figure for 2009 was only 2 percent, People's Daily reported.

However, studying in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, which often costs $30,000 to $40,000 a year, is still a luxury for most students from working-class backgrounds.

Low-cost programs in some European and Asian countries, costing no more than 100,000 yuan ($16,340) per year, have become their first choice, said Zhang Wei, a consultant on Chinese students' education in Nordic countries at Education International Cooperation Group.

Zhang said his organization helped 220 students gain admission to Nordic colleges and universities in 2012. This year, 270 students received the same service so far.

Zhang said most of the students are from working-class families, and they chose their overseas study programs mainly because costs are lower in Nordic countries.

"Most public colleges and universities in Nordic countries, such as Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, charge their students very low tuition fees. And some in countries like Finland and Norway even provide free tuition.

"Besides, the cost of living for a student in a Nordic country is about 60,000 yuan each year. So, a yearly budget of 100,000 yuan is OK," he said.

Zhang said the overall cost of studying in a Nordic country is less than half or a third of the cost of programs in the UK or the US.

"For many Chinese working-class families with a yearly income between 100,000 yuan and 200,000 yuan, such a cost is not a heavy burden. That means they can afford it," he said.

Situations in other parts of Europe, like Germany, France, Spain and Italy, are similar.

According to Si Qin, a consultant on studying in Europe at Vision Overseas, a consulting company under the New Oriental Education and Technology Group, all the public colleges and universities in those countries provide free tuition. Students only have to pay a registration fee, which is no more than 1,000 euros ($1,321), as well as meeting living costs ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 yuan each year.

Si said her organization helped about 250 Chinese students gain university places in these four countries this year, among which half come from working-class families.

Yang Lu, a 22-year-old from Xi'an, Shaanxi province, has just come back to China this summer with a bachelor's degree in French literature from a university in France.

Yang's mother, Jiang Yaping, said she and her husband earn about 10,000 yuan a month, and they had prepared an annual budget of 100,000 yuan for their daughter.

"In fact, she spent only 50,000 yuan a year," she said. "It's not expensive studying there."

But Si said the low cost is not the only reason European public universities attract so many Chinese students. Quality of education also matters.

In addition to Europe, some Asian countries like Japan, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and Malaysia are also gaining in popularity among Chinese working-class students.

Teng Hao, who will be studying for a master's degree in Japan this fall, said she had also considered other countries, such as the US and the UK, but she finally chose Japan because it is both cheap and close to home.

The 25-year-old, who is interested in cosmetics and worked in the industry after graduating with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, said she also believes that the prospects for employment in the industry are good in Japan.

Employment prospects for Chinese students in Nordic countries are also considered good. Zhang said that more than 60 percent of his clients were hired by local companies and institutes after graduation.


1. Who is sending more kids to study abroad?

2. Where can they find low-cost programs?

3. How much can they expect to spend?


1. Working-class families in China.

2. Universities and colleges in European and Asian countries.

3. About 100,000 yuan ($16,340) per year.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Working-class students find low-budget education abroad

About the broadcaster:

Working-class students find low-budget education abroad

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is also fluent in Korean.