In recent years, China’s tertiary education system has undergone an immense amount of modernisation and expansion, with Chinese Higher Education Institutions (CHEIs) now pumping out more graduates annually that the USA and India combined. Among these graduates are more than 400,00 foreign students from countries as far afield as the UK, South Africa and, of course, New Zealand. China continues to become more accessible to New Zealand students, thanks to an increase in the number of English-language study programs and a partnership with nearly 70 countries to ensure mutual recognition of educational qualifications. However, there are a few things that New Zealanders should know before heading to China to study.
Prepare yourself for a world-class education
When you enrol at a Chinese university, you can rest assured that you will receive a world-class education. There is a reason why China is training more PhD students than the USA, and why, during the course of 2018, they also published more technical, medical and scientific research papers than their Western counterpart. Chinese universities are also known for their accelerated learning programs that can see you obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in only two years if you have existing college credits or applicable professional training. The standard of education across the country is also further boosted thanks to the government’s involvement in Chinese institutions. While Chinese universities were absent from international university rankings for a long time, the rapid standard improvements have resulted in top-tier Chinese universities now appearing in the Top 30 of both the THE and QS World University Rankings.
Familiarise yourself with processes and requirements
Before applying to any foreign university, it is important to familiarise yourself with their application processes and requirements. One of the first things you need to determine is whether you need to know Mandarin in order to be accepted. If that is a requirement and you do not already speak the language, you will have to take a language course prior to applying, as you may be expected to take a language exam upon enrolment. Make a list of all the documentation needed for your application, and double-check everything before sending it off. Always check the university websites first before asking questions, as most Chinese institutions do have a very informative online presence. If you can’t find the information you need, make contact with a representative of the institution as soon as possible to avoid any delays in finalising your application and submitting it for approval.
Apply at the right time
Most universities in China have two semesters that start in autumn and spring. The autumn semester typically commences in September, with applications opening in February/March, and closing again in June. Applications for the spring semester, which starts late February or early March, open in October, with the deadline set for the end of January. Don’t forget that China is situated in the Northern hemisphere, and that the semesters are according to their seasonal schedules and not that of New Zealand. Regardless of when you want to commence your studies, aim to get your applications in as soon as possible, as many programs fill their spaces on a first-come-first-served basis.
Choosing to study at a university in China as opposed to one in New Zealand can be a life-changing experience. As long as you prepare adequately and know exactly what to expect, there is no reason why getting a qualification abroad can not be the greatest investment in your future that you have ever made.