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Studying abroad or studying in China for undergraduate education? (article for s

Popularity 1Viewed 1798 times 2016-1-12 08:13 |Personal category:Academic|System category:Economy| education, studying, abroad, China, undergraduate

Which is better, studying abroad or studying in China for undergraduate education? (article for school newspaper)

As the number of Chinese students abroad increases at a rate of 20% annually, the pros and cons of studying abroad is worthwhile to be scrutinized further. In the following paragraphs, I will discuss in detail about opinions from my classmates in a recent class meeting. In addition, while most of them put forward neutral standpoints, I, as a student who will study in the United States, have proper reasons for my decision. 

Firstly I admit those disadvantages of studying abroad and benefits of still staying in China which my classmates raised. The most usually mentioned, and the one overriding all other considerations, is the financial problem. Contrasted with total expanses of 20 thousand yuan per year in a Chinese university, the average tuition and fees of $45,000 in the United States can be a cosmic number for an ordinary family in countryside. Fortunately, handsome scholarships often meet all the need of a graduate student, but for undergraduate students, economic shortage can still be a main hindrance for academic pursuit abroad. Actually, except for the most prestigious universities such as Harvard and Yale, other private colleges in the U.S. set up stricter academic requirements for those who seek for need-based financial aid (public universities do not provide need-based financial aid, only merit-based scholarship), and the overall result is a competition as violent as Gaokao. Other reasons my classmates came up with include professors with more dedication and equipments with more advanced functions in China, for which I shall have reservations since I see no significant difference between universities domestically and abroad on these two points. However, I do think it’s a pity that I can no longer obtain cultural nourishment as a Chinese if I study in the United States. Personal safety is another concern as school shooting cases appear in news headlines more often than usual, especially after Boston Bombardment these days. 

For those who favor studying abroad, the prevailing reason is academic excellence there. In the undergraduate level, flexible programs involve traditional subjects as well as in professional and interdisciplinary fields. For instance, the university that I choose to attend offers Bachelor of Science degree of specialized fields such as Statistics and Genetics - both are my favorites. Due to customized curriculum, double or triple major is not exclusive for prodigies but open to every passionate student. Opportunities for practice is another attractance for going abroad. Not only can undergraduates participate in professional research from the very first day as freshmen, but students can also immerse themselves deeply in campus engagement and choose cultural experience around the world. The onslaught on eyeshot and inspirations from first-hand experiences always impact a student for lifelong time. Besides, the rigor of curriculum of universities abroad can be more attractive for those with higher self-demand. In my university, according to college bulletin, all the undergraduate students, no matter what major they choose, must study natural science, quantitative reasoning, second language, history, humanity and arts. The wide range of exploration will pave the way for future career and more importantly, for an integrative understanding of the world and life. 

Honored history and prestigious school spirits also contribute to the captivation of universities abroad. England hatched Newtonian mechanics and calculus. Russia nurtured topology and analysis. German, with scholars Gauss and Riemann, layed the foundation of modern mathematics exceeding the old Euclidean geometry. Even a new country, the United States, has revived the scientific atmosphere of Europe and created its own style rapidly through openness and agility. However, the vigor of a university should be found more on details of reality than on big pictures of history. My university, although not well-known to most Chinese, has a developed website combining updated information and complex network. Not only can visitors find introduction of the university’s history, school mission, and recent research news such as fuels from the air or service-learning project, but as a student, I need the network to do almost everything from payment of the meal to courses schedule and scholarship application, and I am still struggling for figuring out its full contents. The unified website demonstrates a well-organized system and corporate university spirit. This is one of the factors that universities in China still need to improve. 

One more factor that my classmates mentioned for studying abroad is beautiful campus, including artificial architecture and natural resources. For the first one, architecture, again I have a different judgement although I know many universities abroad adopt classical style that is mysterious and appealing for curious outsiders like us. But we should not forget that our Chinese architecture also represent infinite secrets for a western foreigner. I have to say that compared with us students abroad, those who still in China are blessed with the best chance to understand deeper about our own culture. While for natural resources, I agree with my peers. Different from universities in China, many of those in other countries have their own forests, seas, and spaces, scientific research and field trips easy to conduct. In fact, natural documentaries such as The Earth Story and The Shape of Life always capture shots with professors and students in wild areas discussing topics about nature. 

This article should have been neutral since it will be covered in the school newspaper, and I apologize for bringing more personal arguments than opinions from my whole class. Although we possess different viewpoints, make different choices, and develop ourselves in different fields, we all have the same pursuit - to learn more, think more, and be grateful for what we have received. We generation has made our own choices, some have had offers and others will go fighting for the Gaokao. We all convey unwavering firmness and consistency in our actions, aligned with the picture of the dream we paint. I am eager to receive college education now, and I wish my peers an ever promising future. 



(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report baggins 2016-2-12 19:25
You have produced a good article.

I think with the expansion of universities into other countries, the choice of 'study here or go there' may be less of a problem than it was not so long ago. For example, the university I studied at (the University of Nottingham in England) has campuses in Ningbo, and Malaysia. The degree courses are exactly the same as the ones in the UK, and cover exactly the same materials, and all degrees are delivered in English. The only restriction is that the range of degrees might be smaller.

There is still a lingering problem of the credibility of Chinese degrees. With plagiarism and fake transcripts often being thought of as normal in Chinese academia, Chinese students may be scrutinised and checked more than other students, even with a international degree. As a case in point, someone I know thought they could get onto an MSc programme in the UK with a fake BSc certificate and transcript provided by an agent. Fortunately for them, they showed it to me first. It was obvious it was not an original certificate, and there were spelling errors in the transcript. She would have been denied entry, probably with an academic misconduct record.

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  • Studying abroad or studying in China for undergraduate education? (article for s 2016-2-12 19:25

    You have produced a good article.

    I think with the expansion of universities into other countries, the choice of 'study here or go there' may be less of a problem than it was not so long ago. For example, the university I studied at (the University of Nottingham in England) has campuses in Ningbo, and Malaysia. The degree courses are exactly the same as the ones in the UK, and cover exactly the same materials, and all degrees are delivered in English. The only restriction is that the range of degrees might be smaller.

    There is still a lingering problem of the credibility of Chinese degrees. With plagiarism and fake transcripts often being thought of as normal in Chinese academia, Chinese students may be scrutinised and checked more than other students, even with a international degree. As a case in point, someone I know thought they could get onto an MSc programme in the UK with a fake BSc certificate and transcript provided by an agent. Fortunately for them, they showed it to me first. It was obvious it was not an original certificate, and there were spelling errors in the transcript. She would have been denied entry, probably with an academic misconduct record.

  • Journal 2016-1-15 12:07

    Gossamer, bower, ... Hmm, these are good words reminiscent of many things.

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