18 July 2018

Studying abroad boosts career prospects of Chinese students

A new paper by CGHE researchers shows that studying overseas is beneficial to the careers of Chinese students.

Professor Ka Ho Mok, Dr Xiao Han, Dr Jin Jiang and Xiaojun Zhang from Lingnan University and Dr Xiaojun Zhang from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University draw on both student surveys and in‐depth interviews to explore how Chinese students assess the impact of studying overseas on their personal development, job prospects and career development.

Respondents rated their learning experiences highly for hard knowledge, soft skills and cross‐cultural understanding and the majority believed their international education would enhance their career development.

This belief was supported by the empirical evidence. The findings showed that the salaries and types of job obtained by the respondents were competitive when compared to their counterparts who graduated from local universities.

The authors point out that in recent decades there has been a significant increase in internationally mobile students. Yet in China, the cost of studying abroad or enrolling in transnational higher education programmes is relatively high. Students, who are able to capture the opportunity to enhance their international learning experience, usually come from economically better-off families. As a result, the growing popularity of international education has intensified education inequality.

The authors argue that this has led to an emerging trend of anti-globalism and anti-internationalisation, especially when university graduates without international education are facing worse job prospects.

They highlight growing concerns over whether internationalisation of higher education has become part of an elite agenda that has failed to address the concerns and needs of local communities and society.

The authors conclude that governments and universities should make more effort to share with local people how international learning has benefitted local, regional and international developments across the economy, society and culture.

International and transnational education for whose interests? A study on the career development of Chinese students is published in Higher Education Quarterly