Not only has China become the 2nd largest economy in the world after the United States, it has also quickly become home to many large and prestigious universities today. These top-ranked schools of higher learning are some of the most favored university destinations of international students.
No doubt prompted by liberalization started during Deng Xiao Ping’s leadership in the late ‘70’s; higher education pushed its systems to becoming better-structured. It introduced innovative ways of learning to meet the demands of a fast-growing nation tempering them for easier adaptation to a more modern, more Western-type education system. Most of the courses and programs are now taught bilingually, in English and Chinese. Several use English exclusively as their medium of instruction.
China is one of the oldest civilizations in our world. It has a recorded history of more than four thousand years. It is rich in culture. Through the years, its educational tradition continues to be respected. This tradition, now running parallel with a premium-quality, standardized format to suit the ever-increasing international student population can be seen and felt in its universities.
Peking University: Founded in Bejing, China’s capital city in 1898, Peking University is one of the oldest and most elite universities in the country. In fact, it is popularly known to be one of the top three institutions of learning in China and among the top fifty, worldwide. It’s not easy to get into this university. Admissions are highly competitive. There are, on an annual basis, thirty thousand (30,000) students passing through its halls and campuses. Two thousand (2,000) of these are foreign nationals.
I was really surprised because we had been doing a chapter a day and I wasn’t sure how much I’d been expecting or how fast we’d be learning. But, definitely at first I was like wow so much to take it all in, but overall it’s been really good.
-Jilian Crosby from London
Click here to read entire Testimonial review!
Peking University or PKU, as students would typically refer to it, is a major research-oriented institution regarded as a center of progressive thought in the country. Its big attraction to most students are its widely reputed programs for Science Research and the Applied Sciences, especially Engineering. Its beautiful campus is known as “Yan Yuan” to describe its wide, naturally-green gardens.
Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU): If one’s learning interest is into Chinese language and culture, BLCU is it. It was the first school of higher learning established in 1962 specifically for foreign students, who wanted to learn the language. It focused on this, other foreign languages, other related humanities and social science subjects. While today, there are many other institutions offering courses for international students, BLCU remains among the top-ranked. It continues to enjoy the reputation of having the longest language education history and the best-qualified academe. Its repertoire of foreign languages, besides Chinese-Mandarin, include English, French, German, Korean, Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, Italian and Portuguese. BLCU’s average annual population runs to thirteen thousand (13,000), nine thousand (9,000) of whom are international students.
The Master’s and Doctoral degree programs from BLCU are mostly in the humanities. There are 23 Bachelor’s degree programs, 28 Master’s and 15 Ph.D’s.
Tongji University: It was the German government, along with German doctors practicing in Shanghai, who established Tongji University sometime in 1907. Known originally as Tongji German Medical School, it focused on medical training. As it added Engineering to its program offerings, it became Tongji Medical and Engineering School. Today, after expanding further, becoming multi-disciplinary in the 1940’s-50’s, it’s known as Tongji University.
Having grown into a leading Engineering and Scientific Research University, Tongji offers five state key laboratories and engineering research centers. Among many Engineering students studying at Tongji University, these five research centers were one of the reasons they chose this school of higher learning. The centers include the laboratories of Disaster Prevention in Civil Engineering, Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, Modern technology of Urban Planning and Design and Marine Geology.
With forty thousand (40,000) students including twenty-one thousand (21,000) undergraduates and seventeen thousand (17,000) graduate students, Tongji University is one of the biggest universities in Shanghai. It’s affiliated with six (6) university hospitals and runs five (5) separate campuses within the progressive city of Shanghai. It is active in promoting cooperation and academic exchanges with other universities around the globe.
East China Normal University (ECNU): Located in the western area of Shanghai, Normal University established its roots in 1951. It was the first teachers training college put up just after the People’s Republic of China was formed. ECNU is a state-based institution for teaching Chinese as a foreign language, as well. It undertook the training of thousands of teachers over its sixty-year history. The only one of its kind in the whole of China, its Training Center of High School Principals, provides training to these high school overseers and other senior educational administrators.
Today, ECNU, much like the other Chinese universities, has expanded its array of courses. It now has sixty-seven (67) undergraduate degrees, one hundred seventy-eight (178) master’s programs and one hundred and twelve (112) doctoral programs.
For many years, ECNU has been the host of the UK government-funded Study China Programme.
Students interested in a professorial career has stated as their reason for selecting East China Normal University easy access to its real-world, first-hand training facilities. It works hand-in-hand with sixteen (16) primary and secondary schools, where would-be teaching graduates do on-the-job practice of what they’ve learned. If one is a nature-lover, he or she will find ECNU’s campus a beautiful Eden rich with lush green vegetation.
To be sure, there are many other top-flight universities in China today. Other than the predominantly spoken Chinese language and the fascinating culture, they are for the most part similar to western universities in the United States, United Kingdom and Europe. As gathered from international students themselves it is precisely the challenges of the Chinese language and immersion into the many-storied culture that have made the decision for them a lot easier. Experiencing the beautiful sights and sounds of China and enjoying its exotic food are icing on the cake. Perhaps, the one big difference, and what could have been the clincher in deciding to study in China, is the fact that it costs significantly less to bring home that degree.