Research published by the education company suggests that parents with study abroad experience and students who want to broaden their international horizons and gain rich life experiences continue to drive Chinese students to seek opportunities abroad.
“In 2022, 48% of students intending to study abroad have already had an experience studying abroad, and this percentage has been growing continuously for eight years,” the report said.
New Oriental attributes this trend to a growing interest in international education from Chinese parents, who see overseas programs as a very rewarding experience for their children.
“More than 70% of parents intend to send their children to study abroad when their children are in elementary, middle or high school,” the report said. Among students, who make up 82% of respondents, 48% said they intend to study abroad during their studies.
Overall, in 2022, 43% of the 6,800 respondents said that a student is currently studying abroad, which is significantly higher than in 2021, when 15% said the same.
The US has the highest share of returning Chinese students, currently 60% in the country. Canada and the UK follow by a narrow margin with 52% and 51% respectively of Chinese students in the country. The report notes the success of the US in its “more open” visa policy and travel restrictions.
When deciding where to study abroad, the report shows that more than 50% of Chinese students will evaluate the pandemic restrictions in each country and choose regions that are relatively safer in terms of Covid-19 outbreaks.
However, the study highlights that despite many Chinese students in the US being considered the country with the highest quality of education, the number of Chinese school-aged students in the US is declining. Singapore and Hong Kong are “increasingly popular among people intending to study abroad in 2022,” the report noted.
According to New Oriental, Chinese international students are guided by three main considerations that remain constant when choosing a destination: education level; security; and recognition for future work.
“More attention is paid to university rankings and relevant majors when choosing universities for people who intend to study abroad,” the report noted, adding that more students are making their destination decisions based on school status.
The percentage of respondents who said that the university’s ranking and the availability of a relevant major were the two main considerations, with 66% and 60%, respectively, indicating that they were a factor.
However, the report also says that, more broadly, people intending to study abroad are “taking a more rational view of rankings”, despite the fact that rankings still strongly influence people’s choices.
There is also a decline in scholarship consideration as the Chinese economy improves and study abroad budgets increase.
Average study abroad budgets among Chinese students rose from 492,000 yuan in 2018 to 535,000 yuan in 2022, the report added.
Despite this – which New Oriental suggested was the result of improved economic conditions and increased need for budgets to combat pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns – Chinese students are spending less while abroad.
The company suggests that Chinese students’ spending abroad is becoming “more streamlined.”
The study also analyzed the wider impact of the pandemic on aspirations to study abroad.
Despite Covid-19, 86% of Chinese international students still insist on their study abroad goals, also believing that studying abroad is an investment to enrich their future.
About 93% of these students were reported to need the help of foreign study agencies, and almost 70% of them had chosen an agency they wanted to work with at least a year before the start of the program.
New Oriental also reported a downward trend in negative perceptions of study abroad as the field continues to gain popularity in China.
“Undoubtedly, studying abroad remains a necessity of this generation”
“The proportion of people strongly refusing to study abroad has fallen, indicating that the abilities of international students are gradually being recognised,” the report said.
Sun Tao, assistant vice president of New Oriental Education & Technology Group and president of New Oriental Vision Overseas Consulting, said that international education “remains strong” and the Chinese government and society continue to emphasize that “studying abroad is an important way to develop international talents”.
Last year was full of challenges for New Oriental, he noted. The company started selling agricultural products and closed it online Branch K-12as a result China’s grip on edtech. The FT reported that the company refused 60 thousand workers and published losses of $876 million.
Education Minister Huai Jinpeng said China will “continue to promote the opening up of high-quality education, attract premier educational resources, support overseas study and improve the quality of foreign students who will study in China,” Tao added.
“Undoubtedly, studying abroad remains a necessity of this generation. In the future, competition for high-quality educational resources will increase.”