中国赴美留学生总数超过印度 跃居首位 / Chinese Students Edge Out India for First Place in the U.S.

中国赴美留学生总数超过印度 跃居首位

继续上周有关教育的话题。我刚看到由美国非营利性机构——国际教育协会发布的报告,其中对外国赴美留学生以及美国出国留学生的发展趋势进行了跟踪。

报告关于2009/2010年度的统计数字耐人寻味,涉及原因多种多样。

首先,尽管全球金融危机爆发,但赴美攻读学位的外国留学生人数依然创下了新高。危机虽然导致不少国家赴美留学的人数增长放缓,但中国却一枝独秀,丝毫未受影响。在全美690,923名外国留学生当中,中国学生占到128,000人,比去年同比增长了30%。而其他很多国家的留学生要么人数有所减少,要么只呈现出百分之几的低增长。

其次,中国赴美留学生的总数首次超过其他所有国家,取代印度,跃居第一。印度现在的留学生人数为105,000人,排名第二。韩国名列第三。上述三国合计占全美外国留学生总数的44%。

留学生已构成美国高端服务业出口的一大领域。外国留学生缴纳的学费和生活费为美国经济贡献了大约200亿美元的收入,而且绝大部分学费都来自于美国境外。

在128,000名中国新生赴美求学的同时,也有260,327名美国学生出国留学,其中也包括历时一学期或一学年的海外学习。美国学生留学的五大目的国分别是英国、意大利、西班牙、法国,还有——13,674名学生选择的——中国。

根据其他有关中国大陆学生赴海外攻读学位的研究数据可以清楚地看到,绝大多数学生都选择去英语国家留学,首选目的地包括美国、澳大利亚、英国和加拿大。而美国更以绝对优势领先。

过去20年,中国留学生人数刚刚突破150万,而且攻读的大多是研究生学位,学成归国人数不足三分之一。而到了2009年,这一数字突然暴增(归国人数达到56%)。其中的原因包括经济相对较热、就业前景看好,以及中国政府新推出的研发资助政策。在可以预见的未来,中国海归的比例仍有望继续提高。

近年来,中国学生赴海外就读本科的人数与读研人数相比也有所上升,已达到中国留学生总数的25%。最近更出现了向高中发展的新趋势,以便能在激烈的大学入学竞争中获得更好的机会。

说到美国大学的录取问题, www.CNNMoney.com于2010年10月29日发布了一份报告,题为《最昂贵的大学》,历数全美十所费用最高的大学。我想,中国家长可能对这十所大学中的一半都闻所未闻,因为这些学校既非常春藤盟校,也非大型州立名校。在这十所最贵的大学就读的费用——包括学费、食宿费在内——每年要高达52,000 -53,000美元。

(致父母的话:请务必做好财务计划,或寄希望于去澳门当个百家乐大赢家。)

有一点可以肯定,中国留学生如果继续保持近来的增长态势、而且继续集中在英语国家的话,那我对中国高端英语学习者将在5至10年间激增的预测就绝非异想天开。现实目前已在朝这个方向发展。

这对中国未来“走出去”的努力产生将积极的影响,因为相关人才必须具备一流的语言能力、文化敏感及广泛的阅历。目前这种人才还较为匮乏,但如果按现在的趋势发展,局面必将有所改变。

Chinese Students Edge Out India for First Place in the U.S.

Continuing on last week’s theme of education, I’ve just seen the latest new report from the U.S. non-profit International Institute for Education, which tracks trends relating to foreign students studying in the U.S., and American students studying abroad.

The 2009/10 figures are interesting for a variety of reasons.

First, a record high number of foreign students enrolled in degree programs in the U.S., despite the global financial crisis. Although the crisis slowed enrollment in the U.S. from many countries, it had no such impact on China. Of a total of 690,923 foreign students in the U.S., those from China grew by 30% over the previous year, to 128,000. Many other countries declined or grew by low single-digit percentages.

Second, for the first time, students from China numbered more than those from any other country. China thus displaced India in the number one spot. India remained at number two, with 105,000 students. South Korea was in third place, and together these three accounted for 44% of all foreign students in the U.S.

Foreign students in the U.S. constitute one of America’s top service sector exports. International students contribute some US$20 billion to the U.S. economy through their tuition and living expenses. The majority of their tuition expenses are not paid by sources within the U.S.

While 128,000 new Chinese students enrolled in degree programs in the U.S., there were 260,327 American students who went abroad for credit, which can include a semester or school year abroad. The top five destinations for American students were the U.K., Italy, Spain, France, and — with 13,674 students — China.

Looking at other sources of data on overseas degree program studies by students from the Chinese mainland, it’s clear that the overwhelming majority choose to study in English speaking countries, with the top destinations being the U.S., Australia, the U.K. and Canada. The U.S. remains the top choice by a wide margin.

During the past 20 years, slightly more than 1.5 million Chinese went abroad for study, mostly to pursue graduate degrees. Less than one-third have returned, but in 2009 there was a significant (56%) jump in the number of returnees. Various factors contributed to this, such as a relatively hot economy, better job prospects, and new Chinese government funding for research and development programs. It seems likely that for the foreseeable future, the trend towards a higher percentage of overseas Chinese students returning will continue.

In recent years the number of Chinese students pursuing undergraduate versus graduate degrees overseas has also grown, and now numbers about 25% of the total. The latest trend is towards starting overseas studies at the secondary level, partly to ensure better prospects in the hotly competitive college admissions process.

Speaking of U.S. college admissions, an October 29, 2010 report on www.CNNMoney.com entitled “Most Expensive Colleges”, listed the 10 priciest colleges in the U.S.. I would guess that probably half of the top ten on the list might not be familiar names to Chinese parents, because they are mainly not Ivy League schools or well-known, bigger state universities. The range of annual costs — tuition, room and board — for these ten most expensive schools was US$52,000 to $53,000 per year.

(Note to Mom and Dad: Please do a good job on your financial planning, or hope to win big in VIP baccarat in Macau.)

One thing is for sure. If enrollment in overseas degree programs by Chinese students continues its recent growth trends, and continues to be concentrated in English speaking countries, then my forecast about a huge balloon in the number of advanced English learners in China in 5 to 10 years’ time is not at all far-fetched. It’s already a work in progress.

This has positive implications for the future of China’s “going global” efforts, which will demand talented individuals with first-rate language skills as well as cultural sensitivity and exposure. Such talent is currently in short supply, but if current trends continue, that is going to change.


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