The Importance of Firsthand Experience in China: Enhancing Skills and Broadening Horizons


Number of students from the United States studying in China 2010/11-2020/21

In the 2020/21 academic term, 382 students from the United States were studying abroad in China. This were 84.6 percent less than in the previous year due to the coronavirus pandemic and related travel restrictions in China. It’s clear that the sharp decline started one year earlier, which dropped from roughly 12000 in 2018/19 to only 2481 in 2019/2020. Considering the huge population of China and its ever increasing importance to the whole world, that trend seems puzzling. The declining number of American students opting to study in China can be attributed to various factors. However, it is crucial to address these concerns and emphasize the benefits of studying in China. By shedding light on the significance of firsthand experiences, the importance of Mandarin Chinese, and the abundant opportunities for academic growth, we can inspire American youths to consider China as a transformative and enriching study destination.

Concerns and Solutions

  1. Overcoming the Language Barrier: Unlocking the Power of Mandarin
  • Concern: Mandarin Chinese is considered challenging, deterring students from choosing China.
  • Solution: Showcasing the value of learning Mandarin for personal growth and future career prospects, while highlighting available language programs and resources.
  1. Allaying Geopolitical Tensions and Misconceptions: A Safe and Welcoming Destination
  • Concern: Negative perceptions and geopolitical tensions hinder students from considering China.
  • Solution: Provide transparent and balanced information about the safety and openness of study programs in China, accentuating positive experiences shared by previous students.
  1. Exploring Educational Opportunities: A World of Possibilities
  • Concern: Students lack awareness regarding the diverse and high-quality educational programs in China.
  • Solution: Educate students about the range of academic disciplines, scholarship opportunities, and state-of-the-art facilities offered by Chinese universities. Share success stories showcasing the benefits of studying in China.
Xiamen University
Xiamen University in Fujian Province, China
  1. Celebrating Cultural Differences: Embracing Diversity
  • Concern: Fear and discomfort towards cultural differences discourage students from considering China.
  • Solution: Emphasize the richness and diversity of Chinese culture, fostering an open-minded approach. Highlight cultural exchange programs, language immersion opportunities, and support services aiding students’ adaptation.
foreign students in China
Foreign Students Study at University in China
  1. Job Market and Career Prospects: Harnessing China’s Global Influence
  • Concern: Uncertainty about the job market and career prospects after studying in China.
  • Solution: Highlight the increasing importance of China in the global economy and the demand for individuals with cross-cultural skills. Showcasing successful alumni who have leveraged their China experience for career advancement.
  1. Promoting Experiential Learning: Beyond Academics
  • Approach: Position studying in China as an all-encompassing experience.
  • Solution: Showcase real-world examples of students who have gained practical experience through internships, research collaborations, and hands-on learning in China, leading to valuable career opportunities.
  1. Fostering a Global Perspective and Networking: Building International Connections
  • Approach: Emphasize the relevance of a global perspective in today’s interconnected world.
  • Solution: Highlight the unique networking opportunities and the ability to build international connections that studying in China can provide. Showcase alumni whose global perspective gained during their time in China has proven beneficial.
a US businessman has his own travel business in China
A US man has been living in China for a long time and opened his own business there

Further Thoughts

As mentors, sharing personal experiences and connecting students with mentors who have studied in China can offer invaluable insights and guidance. Providing accurate information, addressing concerns, and accentuating the wide-ranging benefits of studying in China can inspire American students to embrace this transformative and enriching experience. With the importance of firsthand experiences in China, the significance of Mandarin language skills, and the vast opportunities for personal and professional growth, students can embark on a journey that broadens horizons and shapes a global perspective.

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