Today marks the official kick off the Chinese Education Expo in Beijing, China. With well over 500 overseas post-secondary institutions and education bureaus from some 38 countries across the globe, the world is looking to take on Chinese young and influential, and eager to have them spend their lucrative dollars in their domestic economies. China is officially the world’s largest market for new students, with India falling in a close second but not having the financial influence as China’s high school and post-secondary school graduates. Twenty-one different pavilions worked feverishly to attract the eager students and their parents. The countries hard at work included Canada, the United States, Germany, Spain with a myriad of others. The Expo wraps up on Sunday and will subsequently move on to several other mainland cities including Shanghai, ending in Guangzhou.
Spain, a country on the verge of their most disastrous financial crisis since before the war, hopes to take full advantage of the opportunity to attract fresh, new minds to their fine universities. As Jenny Mendoza, chief market analyst at Spain’s economic and commercial office in Beijing said that “China is a potential market. We don’t want to miss it. We’ve seen a steady growth of Chinese students coming to study in Spain.” Despite it’s grim economic outcast, the limping nation still managed to bring twenty institutions to the Expo and are welcoming Chinese students with open arms.
British and American institutions represented over 80 different institutions, but neither were a match for Canada. Canada’s long time relationship with China has made it the most popular destination for Chinese students because of both it’s historic connection as well it’s large Chinese diaspora living in the country. The Canadian and American pavilions took up the entire second floor of the pavilion and so far, have been the most popular.
Post secondary institutions weren’t the only ones presenting their best at the Expo. Over 20 regional education bureaus made an appearance to attempt to attract Chinese students for primary and high school education. Canadian secondary schools, in some districts, are running at full capacity and have had to tailor their application process more specifically. The assistant manager of the Surrey Schools International Department, Shawn Silverstone explained that “”Our schools already have a large number of Chinese students and there is not enough room. I think in the future we are going to select students, as opposed to recruiting anyone who applies.”
Germany’s ivy league institutions made an appearance, bringing with them more than 30 institutions including Heildelberg University, well known for its significant scientific research endeavors, well as the acclaimed Technical University of Munich. Germany’s strong economy and multicultural communities make it an attractive destination for Chinese students. The number of Chinese students studying in Germany last year topped 23,000.
Universities from Bulgaria, Slovakia and Latvia also made appearances in hopes of offering students a unique cultural experience and opportunity to study in a part of the world they had otherwise not considered. Even Israel has joined the recruitment revolution by sending ORT Braude College, a top engineering school. They are quickly recognizing that the Chinese are an economy to be reckoned with, and Israel desperately needs them as an ally.
It seems that China is the nation to be wooed, and its highly coveted students will have plenty of decisions to make in the next year before the fall semester begins.