Monday, 27 February 2012

Study Abroad Intentions Tweets: US & UK Top Choices; Wealthy Chinese to Go Abroad Earlier

Genius Recruiter has created a map of students' preferred study destinations based on January 2012 tweets. The US and the UK stood out as top destinations, especially for students from Europe, East Asia and South America; Australia was attractive for Southeast Asians, and Canada saw a growing interest in India.

Since Twitter is blocked in China, there was no data for Chinese student preferences. However, another post (published in July 2012) examines why Chinese students are going abroad and where they are going. Again, the US (27%) and the UK (22%), followed by Canada (15%) and Australia (7%) were the most preferred countries, although this study focuses on the children of the rich Chinese. While it is not surprising that Chinese parents are (or want to) sending their children to the US to get a quality education and all-round development, Genius Recruiter reports that 35% of the surveyed wealthy parents, or HNWI (high net worth individuals), were planning to send their children to high school education, followed by 30% to college education, 21% to junior high school and only 4% at the level of postgraduate education - here is the original infographic. While 85% of HNWI were thinking of sending their children abroad, this was the case for 9 out of 10 UHNWI (the ultra rich). The survey was carried out by the Chinese magazine Hurun Report and the Industrial Bank.

Having accessed the Chinese Luxury Consumer White Paper, one can read that children's education was the 3rd consumption hot spot of the HNWI, just behind luxury travel and healthcare, and that more and more parents are planning to send their children abroad earlier. Actually, while more HNWI parents planned to send their children abroad to junior and senior high school in 2011 than in 2010 (21% vs. 17%; and 35% vs. 32%, respectively), the UHNWI were clearly showing more interest in senior high school (40% in 2011 vs. 23% in 2010) and were less interested in college-level education (18% in 2011 vs. 27% in 2010 – this compares to 30% in 2011 vs. 29 % in 2010 for the HNWI, see p.40 of the white paper). At the same time, the study states that wealthy Chinese care not only about their children's education but also about their own - 30% of HNWI were taking further education courses in order to increase their professional knowledge and expand their social networks.

Chinese parents' plans on their children's earlier education abroad may aim at a more effective learning of the host country language and culture as well as at building a social network as early as possible, but they may also reflect the idea that their children should return home once they graduate from the program. International Business Times (quoted by Genius Recruiter) reminded of last year's estimates of Fujian's Overseas Chinese University: only around 500,000, or less than 1/3 of the 1.62 million students who arrived in the US in the period 1978-2009 returned to China.

While it is not unlikely to see more Chinese and other foreign students going to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, rather than to the UK and the US, as a result of aggressive recruitment, targets set by the former countries and two-step migration policies making it easier for students to stay, it is also possible to expect changes in admission policies and screening procedures in order to prevent frauds (e.g. New Zealand declined 3453 applications from India and 1027 Chinese applications in the past 12 months because of fake documents).

References (posts & reports mentioned):

International Students Future Forecasts, (15 June 2012), blog post by Genius Recruiter, 

International Student World Map Based on Tweets, (15 February 2012), blog post by Genius Recruiter,

Tan, Lincoln, (19 July 2012), Thousands from India Failing Student Visa Bids, an article by NZ Herald accessed on 20/07/2012,

The Chinese Luxury Consumer White Paper, (March 2012), prepared by the Hurun Report and the Industrial Bank, accessed via Hurun Report website on 20/07/2012,

Why Chinese Students are Going Abroad, (6 July 2012), blog post by Genius Recruiter,

Zhang, Yifei, (7 April 2012), 90% Of China’s Super-Rich Want To Send Children Abroad, an article by International Business Times accessed on 20/07/ 2012,

The post was updated on 20/07/2012

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