|Chinese student Zhao Yunru (3rd from right) , who studies at University of Economics, Prague, has a discussion with her friends. [en.people.cn]|
Statistics released by China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) indicate that 66,100 Chinese students chose to study in en-route countries in 2017, up 15.7 percent from the previous year.
China has been strengthening educational cooperation with Belt and Road countries since the initiative was put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping five years ago. By the end of 2016, it had signed agreements of mutual recognition for degrees and diplomas with 47 en-route countries and regions, including the Czech Republic, Thailand and Russia.
The unique cultural heritage of countries as well as job opportunities brought about by construction of the initiative are important factors that attract students, explained Zhang Yunqian, market promotion supervisor at a branch of the New Oriental Education & Technology Group.
Most of the students say relatively low tuition fees and future job opportunities are leading factors that attract them to such countries. For example, the annual tuition fee at the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia is between 40,000 and 70,000 yuan ($5,982 - $10,467), a teacher surnamed Qiao noted, adding that there are currently about 5,000 international students at the school, 700 coming from China.
Wang Fei, a Chinese student in Moldova, noted that the relatively low living cost, favorable public security and environment were also taken into consideration.
The advancing Belt and Road Initiative offers job opportunities for students still at university, Wang pointed out, saying that Chinese students based in Russia are in high demand to help translate for Chinese enterprises setting up branches there. Those who study in Belt and Road countries will not only have a better understanding of their current country, but also have access to their chosen discipline.
For example, Wang helps vintners in Moldova promote products in China by making use of relevant knowledge gained there, so more Chinese people are introduced to the quality wine at a reasonable price.
An employee at the Overseas Study Service Center of the MOE also disclosed that overseas Chinese students mastering languages from Belt and Road countries, as well as learning about the local culture and business etiquette, will have no problem finding work in China in the future as they will be in high demand.
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