France, Germany, Italy, Europe and Chinese students
After the United-States, Europe is the second destination Chinese students consider when applying for an overseas education. The United-Kingdom remains by far the most popular destination in Europe due to the language, while France and Germany also host a large community of Chinese students. Italy, remains on the bottom on European ranking for Chinese student choice.
Europe and Chinese students: overview and key data
At the moment, France is the second European country hosting Chinese students, after the United-Kingdom. In 2013, there were 35,000 Chinese students studying in France. Germany hosted nearly 19 000 Chinese students last year. Although Italy is widely visited by Chinese when traveling in Europe, Chinese students are less present in Italy than within the two previous countries. According to online survey’s data, Italy hosted nearly 12,000 Chinese students last year. These numbers include both exchange and full-time Chinese students.
Main fields of study for Chinese students in Europe
Overall, we note some differences regarding the majors and programs offered by the European universities and chosen by the Chinese students.
France and Chinese students
In France, the main fields of study include: nuclear/ electrical engineering, general management, finance, and economics, French as second language, luxury management and painting/arts. Hence, its strengths are in engineering, business and arts.
Germany and Chinese students
Germany has strengths in engineering and more particular in automobile and mechanical engineering. Hence, it is not unusual to see a large portion of the Chinese students attending engineering degrees in Germany. Germanic languages are also another major with significant enrolments. That being said, most Chinese students studying in Germany are exchange students, while in France most are full-time students.
Italy and Chinese students
The main fields of study in Italy contrast with the previous two countries. Indeed, nearly all of Chinese students are enrolled in fashion, arts, and design programs or in the study of Italian as foreign language. There is only a very small number entering business or engineering degrees. Italy still lack of attractiveness for its scientific degrees.
Regarding the rest of Europe, the Scandinavian countries have significant enrollments for their businesses English taught degrees. The United-Kingdom has enrollments in almost all fields of study.
Attractiveness of Europe for Chinese students
France is well known for its engineering and business schools. Hence, according to online research from Campus France, the French national education institution in charge of promoting the French higher education in China, last year ,1/3 of the Chinese students have attended an engineering school, ¼ a business school, and the remaining students attending the university. These ratios include both exchange and full-time students. France has seen a growing number of Chinese students attending specialized schools (restoration and services). Furthermore, France has created numerous engineering schools in China such as “Ecole Centrale Pékin” and one international campus jointly with Shanghai Jia Tong University.
In Germany, business and engineering schools are often integrated within the universities. Most Chinese students opt for postgraduate degrees or exchange programs. Well known schools hosting a large number of Chinese include the Technical University of Munich, Free University in Berlin and Manheim. Germany has strong cooperation with Chinese universities but it does not have established any of its education method/ programs in China. Furthermore, due to the high English proficiency of most German faculties, Chinese students often opt for the English taught programs.
Italy does attract only a few students for its engineering and business degrees. In addition, due to the lack of English taught programs, often Chinese are required to learn Italian or otherwise to turn to another country.
Chinese students and TOEIC and TOEFL exam
Chinese students willing to study in Europe need, in general, to add a english language exam score to their application. TOEFL and TOEIC are the most recognized test in Europe. “We see more and more Chinese students passing the TOEIC and TOEFL exam, “said a consultant from TOEIC and TOEFL preparation plateform GLOBAL EXAM. “They really focus on these exams. They understood that being fluent is not enough to get a great score in the TOEFL or the TOEIC, then they develop specific methodologies and strategies”.
Future trend for Europe and Chinese students
France wishes to attract 50,000 Chinese students by 2015. It is constantly working on the improvements of its joint-programs in mainland china. It should maintain a strong attractiveness for its engineering and business degrees.
Germany is likely to have a flatter future trend. The German government does not have as much ambition as France for recruiting Chinese students. That’s being said, due to a sustainable economic growth and strong investments in the high tech and in the industrial sectors, Chinese students should remain faithful to Germany.
The Italian diplomatic authorities in China have launched several projects including the Marco Polo project aiming to recruit talented Chinese students in the field of arts and design. However, the future trend is also flat for Italy due to the lack of English taught programs and the commercial flows with China.
Among the other European countries, the UK will continue to attract the most Chinese students. The British Council aims to recruit more than 120,000 Chinese students by 2015. Recently, the Scandinavian countries have established a business school located in Chengdu incorporating the Scandinavian teaching methods.