No doubt choosing a university belongs to several fateful decisions that almost all high school students are concerned about. Thus, some students prefer studying in other countries as long as their families can afford it. At the same time, others decide to attend universities in their countries. In the first place, they make such a decision as they do not want to be uprooted from their parents and other relatives. To continue, studying abroad usually involves greater financial expense and the necessity of acclimatization to a new country. Despite that, studying abroad remains a trend that becomes more and more popular for students from many countries.
If we take into consideration greater opportunities that are available abroad, parental influence, education mode, and the growth in mentality, it can be assumed that the number of people studying abroad is likely to increase in the nearest future. Within the framework of the present research, I attempt at defining the factors that contribute to the increase in the number of students who prefer studying abroad. According to the results, Chinese students want to become international students due to the reasons connected to their parents, the education model used in other countries, and other benefits of getting a degree abroad. Despite these benefits, many students still prefer studying in their native country.
Chinese students are motivated by the belief that studying abroad provides greater opportunities. They believe that education in other countries is of higher quality, and it remains the most significant reason motivating them to study abroad (Griner and Sobol 2). To continue, more than five hundred participants of the survey are convinced that earning a degree in other countries will help them to get an advantage over their compatriots studying in China (Gringer and Sobol 2). The future prosperity and success are the factors that serve as the most powerful sources of aspirations for the Chinese students who come from the society driven by the Confucian values ad views (Lee 3). The international education is more likely to help students to develop their talents (Gringer and Sobol 2).
The opportunity to get a multicultural education also remains one of the key factors encouraging students to obtain higher education in other countries. To begin with, it helps to develop “ethnic and cultural literacy” (Gay 1). Namely, the foreign models of education help the students familiarize themselves with the concepts of cultural diversity, new languages, historical backgrounds of the other nations, and a variety of ethnic groups living in different parts of the world. To continue, studying abroad contributes to the personal enhancement of the students as they are stimulated to work hard and to be successful (Coelho 55). Consequently, they are likely to be ready to “embrace and hold in high regard to ethnic pluralism and diverse cultural milieus” (Salgur and Gursoy 13). Overall, the set of advantages provided by education abroad includes the chance to relocate from one’s homeland, an opportunity to find a well-paid job abroad, and create a prosperous career at home.
The parental influence remains one of the most significant factors having an impact on young people’s decisions concerning studying. ICEF Monitor points out that over one million Chinese students are currently engaged in the educational programs abroad; also, among all the Chinese net-worth families, only 10% do not have an intention to send their children to study abroad. (“In China, father (and mother) knows best: 65% of study abroad decisions made by parents” par. 1). As it appears from the research aimed at revealing the reasons why young people are interested in becoming overseas students, more than half of participants have been encouraged by their parents to go abroad (Yi 48).
Moreover, the overall tendency of the Chinese learners to pursue the education overseas can be linked to the fact that the economic prosperity of the People’s Republic of China has increased significantly over the past few decades (Bodycott and Lai par. 1). It is possible to refute this argument by stating that the improvement in the state’s economy should have caused the strengthening of its educational system. The administrative region of Hong Kong has shown powerful growth in the sphere of education transforming itself into a leaning hub with a set of benefits such as affordable pricing, geographical proximity, and the promotion of the Chinese cultural heritage (Bodycott and Lai par. 3).
Education in Hong Kong is a decent option for the students who originate in the mainland of China. However, the number of students obtaining their degrees abroad has been steadily increasing over the past decade (Lai and Bodycott par. 2). Partially, this phenomenon has been driven by the decisions of the parents who believe that studying abroad provides the students with a greater chance to relocate or to return home with a higher chance to find well-paid employment (Lai and Bodycott par. 13). Finally, it is important to mention that the parental influence in the Chinese families is extremely strong due to the cultural values of the Chinese society that are based on the Confucian worldview that is known for the promotion of the parental authority and the wisdom of older people (Lee 3).
Another solid reason that encourages young adults to become international students is connected to the difference between education models in China and the other developed countries. Due to this difference, the people who have studied abroad are more likely to build a rewarding career in their native country (Lai and Bodycott par. 13). Many Chinese employers are more interested in hiring a specialist who has earned a degree abroad. It happens because they believe that getting a foreign degree requires much more effort than getting a domestic one. Also, the benefits offered by the foreign educational programs include the improvement of the English language proficiency and the general range of expert knowledge in different professional spheres.
To be more precise, since many industries and businesses in China are orientated at the work with foreign clients, the knowledge of the foreign language and English, in particular, is critical for a successful business owner or an employee (Lai and Bodycott par. 13). However, the education in the United States (one of the countries most frequently favored by the Chinese students) has been criticized for its unstable quality (“Why Other Countries Teach Better” par. 2). In particular, the educational models, systems, and programs in the countries of Europe and Asia have been recognized as more competitive and demanding compared to those in the United States (“Why Other Countries Teach Better” par. 2).
At the same time, the research comparing the education in Europe and that in China revealed that the models of education are different in many aspects that are mainly determined by the political and cultural backgrounds of the countries (Ding 17). In that way, knowing China’s orientation to the West in the spheres of business, it makes sense for the individuals willing to develop successful business careers to obtain foreign education and learn to understand the Western theory and practice. Thus, studying abroad remains the wisest decision for those young people, who would like to build their future careers in international companies. Such companies search for specialists who possess a comprehensive knowledge of the foreign market, have a vast experience of cross-cultural communication, and speak English fluently (Sánchez et al. 28).
Among other things, studying abroad also helps Chinese young people to achieve mental maturity. Interpersonal relationships and attachment towards other people become extremely important for overseas students. Many of them assume that studying abroad improves not only their academic competence but also the mentality. Going back to their native countries, foreign students have incredible inspiration (Guoqing 85). This fact acts as evidence of the wisdom of ancient Chinese people who believed that “the distance produces beauty.” Young people studying overseas cannot visit their families and loved ones very often, and this is why they feel a longing for home. This feeling tends to deepen when they are facing certain problems with studying or when they cannot establish a friendly relationship with other students. Feeling distressed, overseas students tend to remember only the good things concerning their native country and the particular people they miss.
It can be argued that wealthy families take care of their children by sending them abroad and securing their future with the help of privilege. However, when international students face problems in their life or academic career, they are experiencing the feeling of desolation that can be understood only by other students studying abroad. The gloom of solitude makes them think a lot of the people who remain an important part of their lives (Milian 3). Missing their relatives and friends, they learn to appreciate those people who love them, and such an attitude is a quality of a mentally mature person. To continue, being deprived of their parents’ help, overseas students learn to become more responsible and independent.
A necessity to be responsible for their own decisions makes international students treat their life seriously. As a result, they tend to have a stiffer character than the majority of domestic students. As a result, students learn to respect other cultures and become more aware of their cultural patterns. Besides, it teaches a student to be a polite partner in intercultural communication. Multicultural education helps them to understand that cross-cultural differences have nothing to deal with deficiency and inferiority. Students’ multicultural competence is likely to be improved as blending into the team will require learning to communicate with people belonging to other races and nations. Salgur and Gursoy think that such a situation helps international students to develop their judgment and analytical skills (11).
Thus, there are many factors influencing students’ decisions to enter foreign universities. Among these are the influence of the students’ parents, possible growth in mentality, more opportunities abroad, numerous benefits for the future career, and better quality of education. In general, every student’s willingness to study abroad is connected to at least one of the reasons listed above. I regard becoming an international student as an experience that is likely to help young people in their future personal and professional development.
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