study abroad

study abroad
Overseas education is an important experience shared by a large part of the political and cultural elite in China. The first Chinese students were sent abroad in the late nineteenth century, the largest overseas student migration in the world at the time, when more than 10,000 students went to Japan. Since then, and particularly from the 1920s and 1930s, the USA and Western European countries, as well as the USSR, became increasingly attractive. Russia and the socialist countries were the main centres of overseas study during the early years of the PRC.
Since the re-establishment in 1979 of a formal programme to send students abroad, approximately 400,000 Chinese have left the mainland to study in the USA, with lesser numbers going to Japan, Canada, Australia and Western Europe. Since the late 1990s, approximately 25,000 students per year study abroad. Although returned students have continuously played an important role in the cultural, political and economical modernization process of China, the returnees, as in the past, often come under attack for their alleged loss of political loyalty and patriotic spirit. And the fact that returnees are often unable to attain what they believe to be adequate positions in their country, among other reasons, has led to the ‘brain drain’ phenomenon by—2002, only 140,000 of the students sent since 1979 had returned. Since China joined the WTO, reform-minded government officials have increased efforts to attract these students to come home.

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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