Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

luker7

A second opinion on studying in China

Recommended Posts

luker7

I'm looking for some advice. 

 

Some backstory; I'm currently self studying Chinese and I decided to apply for the Chinese Government Scholarship at the start of this year to study International Economics and Finance (undergraduate). I also applied for a uni in Edinburgh as to give myself more options. I applied to International Business and Chinese.

I've been accepted into Edinburgh and just the other day I got a reply from the UK embassy to let me know they put my name forward to CSC. 

I've now been thinking, in the case I get accepted for CSC, which option should I choose?

 

I've been thinking about how UK degrees will be more internationally recognised and have better teaching methods than Chinese universities. However with a Chinese degree I would have a much better chance to actually learn the language and go back to the country which I loved. But with the current restrictions on finding work in China without the 2 years experience it seems I'd either need to work as an English teacher (something I don't want to do) or go back to the UK to work for a couple of years in a country where my degree wouldn't hold as much power. 

 

Any second opinions on what the best option would be here?

Thanks 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

xinoxanu

A very good question, indeed.

 

May I know which Chinese university/ies have you applied to?

 

11 minutes ago, luker7 said:

UK degrees will be more internationally recognised and have better teaching methods than Chinese universities

 

This will actually get you very polarised answers. For what I've seen, C9 universities are actually well-known to a good HR manager in the west, and if you are planning on making your life in China down the road, they'll be worth more than a degree from a "secondary" university in the UK (everything that is not Harvard/Oxford is secondary to many in China, mind you).

 

I guess the better questions are: what do you plan to do with your degree? Do you have any fixed goals, like "I want to work for this kind of company and be based in "X" place"? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy

I'd get your undergraduate degree in the UK, and have as much as of a China focus as you can - do a joint degree if possible, keep up the Chinese study, take a year out for language study in China, do your final year dissertation or project on China. Then see where you are when you graduate.

18 minutes ago, luker7 said:

But with the current restrictions on finding work in China without the 2 years experience it seems I'd either need to work as an English teacher (something I don't want to do) or go back to the UK to work for a couple of years in a country where my degree wouldn't hold as much power. 

This is all 3-4 years away, and there's no telling what the situation will be then. 

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
luker7

@xinoxanu In terms of the universities I've applied to; I've applied to Fudan, Nanjing University and Chongqing University in China. In the UK I've been accepted to study in Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh. 

My statement about the quality of the degrees and teaching is mainly based on other things I've read online and even on these forums. If a degree from a Chinese University would be recognised in the UK then it would be another compelling factor for me. 

In terms of my future goals, I would like to eventually move to China and experience life there. I like the idea of working for an international company and using my Chinese skills to help link China and the UK. Although, I'm still young, and my mind could change by the time I actually get to graduation so I'm open to something different. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
luker7

@roddy  I've had the opinion that studying in the UK will be the safer option and perhaps grant me better opportunities in the future, but it's hard to really tell. 

The degree I've been accepted to is a join degree in International Business Management and Chinese, so it's really ideal. On top of this I get to spend 1 year in Shanghai as an exchange student too, so either way I'll get to spend some time there. 

Thanks for the input! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
xinoxanu

Both Fudan and Nanjing are C9 universities, as I am sure you are aware, and definitely you will get many "哇~~~" from the locals. I don't have an opinion on Chongqing university, but I am guessing it would be on par with Sichuan University here in Chengdu (which is okay, but not at C9 level aside from medical specialties).

 

I can't really speak for the Edinburgh degree, but Scotland is well known for the quality of its education. If it's a double degree you get that sweet 2x1 deal which definitely will help you out there... and the Erasmus experience is always fantastic, even more if you get to do it at Jiao Tong (in Shanghai). You also get to keep your family & friends around and, being from Glasgow, you also get the benefit of a comfort bubble.

 

However, If you choose a Chinese university you will:

 

  • Be "alone". Sure, you'll make friends from many different countries and you will be able to talk back and forth with the UK... but, since you are mentioning you are young, the support you have gotten up until now from your family/friends/society, will cease to exist. This is one of the reasons why many foreigners don't make it past their first year in China.
  • Have to adapt. From the food you eat, to the way you move around, to the temperature you wash your clothes. This is another reason why many foreigners don't make it past their first year in China; heck, it's even one of the reasons why on that single year they don't venture much outside "western ghettos" and can be seen at your local foreign gastro-pub on a wednesday, whining about "how difficult/bad/smelly/etc" is China and dining on 50kuai beers and microwaved pizza.
  • Be challenged by the local education system... which is plenty different to what you are used to, and doesn't mind being boring as long as you get the point. Sure, you will also get some of the best and accomplished professors in the country and many of them have been abroad (so they are aware of "western needs"), but their curriculum is not as flexible as you will wish for it to be. The way you will be tested is also different, specially if you come directly from pre-university education.
  • Enjoy the new "freedoms"! Yes, China is usually demonised for its restrictions, but should also be celebrated for the good things you can only enjoy there: you don't feel like queuing up at the supermarket? Fine, here's this guy that will bring you anything for 3,5kuai in 20min; hungry at 3 am? Everything's open, from BBQ to supermarkets; feel like going skiing or surfing or skydiving? Fine, here's a very reasonable-priced high-speed train ready to take you there in a couple hours, a cheap hotel to serve as a home-base to explore and good tasty meals to go along. Many places can offer you some of these things, but not all at once as China does.
  • Grow a lot in a very short span. This only applies if you are willing to, but I found that my time as a youngster there was pivotal in my growth to become an adult. I was paying bills and taking care of myself in a way none of my friends back at home were doing.

All in all, a difficult choice. 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy

Could you do a language year in China then decide?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

You need to separate getting the best education you can from language and "good experience" issues.

 

Stay in the U.K and get a good education, a good education in your mother tongue where you'll understand everything you're being taught and won't be distracted by language and cultural issues. Remember that to a large degree, at least outside the hard sciences, a university education means learning to compose English at a university level. Is that going to happen in China?

 

I'd urge staying in the U.K. very strongly: it's not a close call in my mind. There'll be plenty of time later in life for studying, living and working in China.

 

As an aside, what's the extent of your experience in China, given you mention your wish to "go back to the country which I loved."

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
luker7

@xinoxanu I want to break out of my comfort bubble and forge a different life outside of the UK though. That's part of my motivation. There's definitely many pros and cons to each option for me. 

Thanks for the insightful inputs, ultimately it's a decision I'll need to make on my own but it's good to hear some other voices of reason. 

 

@roddy I already took my year out and done some travelling etc. I'm ready to get my degree now, maybe I can do language course afterwards.

 

@889 I've felt like this is a mind over desire issue in some ways. I think logically, studying in Edinburgh seems the better option. While my 'gut feeling' is to go to China and properly learn the language and hopefully some opportunity could pop up, since there seems to be a lot of opportunity in China at the moment. 

When I said it's the country I loved what I mean is that over the past year and a half I done some travelling. I went to quite a few countries and China was the one I liked the most and felt like it's a place I really could live. I spent 3 months in Guangdong province. I realise this isn't long enough to truly know whether or not I would want to live there forever, so that's why I'm open to other options too. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Flickserve

Post Covid, the world is very uncertain. Taking risks is also about timing when to take the risk. 

 

I would advise doing the degree in UK first. Use that time embellishing your profile to prepare your CV. I'm a believer of being a bit prepared and having done some homework before moving. It's not impossible to learn Chinese well, especially now there's the internet. It depends how keen you are to putting extra hours in. 

 

If you go to China as an undergraduate, what's going to be your outstanding quality when you graduate with a degree from a Chinese university?

 

Would it be easier to have an international network with a degree in UK and then having moved to China or moving to China straight away for undergrad and then staying there?

 

 

2 hours ago, 889 said:

Remember that to a large degree, at least outside the hard sciences, a university education means learning to compose English at a university level.

 

This should not be underestimated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChTTay

Completely agree with Roddy and 889. Get your degree in the U.K. with a focus on China. 

 

Regardless of league tables, employers will instantly recognise Edinburgh as being a great University with solid courses. Most wont be able to do the same for any University in China. There is a reason so many Chinese students study outside of China. I teach G1 and many parents are already thinking of ways to prepare their children to be educated outside of China (either at Uni level or earlier).  
 

You have said yourself that, logically, Edinburgh makes a lot more sense. It does. Go there. 
 

You can spend your long University holidays by going to China and doing language course and travel or internships. There are (or were) lots of overseas Chinese at U.K. unis. Most are happy when locals reach out. There are language exchanges and plenty of people who progress well with the Chinese without being in China. 
 

If you like China and want to live there (without being an English teacher) you really need to find work with a foreign company in China that would employ you as an expat. This would be a lot easier networking In a foreign country than trying it in China as a student here (where jobs/networking are focused on local Chinese students). 

  • Like 1
  • Helpful 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
道艺黄帝

 

6 hours ago, luker7 said:

I like the idea of working for an international company and using my Chinese skills

 

If this is truly an end goal, you need to ramp up your Chinese studies to the max. Most foreigners I meet who study Chinese here in China for years can't even hold a conversation with a local, much less use Chinese in a professional setting as one of the job requirements. Add on the fact that the number of competent Chinese-English speakers is growing rapidly and entering the work force, and you'll see the competition will be fierce or there simply won't be a need for a laoway to serve as a translator for their company.

 

I think the only way to know if this would be within the realm of possibility is to do a year of intensive Chinese studies and see your progress. By the end of it, are you able to hold small talk with locals? Can you explain your takeout order over the phone? Can you explain to a security officer where you live, and what you're doing? Can you call in a repair for your window at your apartment? Can you apply for a job in Chinese?

Sorry if my expectations are low, but I rarely meet foreigners who are capable of communicating in Chinese. This website is loaded with them, but even on TV, there are laoway who don't understand tones, and just get subtitled to death.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
889

It's a big strategic mistake to make Chinese language your primary career skill. There are, as mentioned, a vast number of Chinese who've been working on their Chinese and English skills since childhood, usually reinforced by years overseas. You cannot compete with them, especially starting your studies at college age. Forget it.

 

Instead, develop a primary skill that's in demand in China -- and yes that is a dicey question because whoever really knows what skills will be in demand in the future in China or even the U.K. -- and treat your Chinese language skills, such as they are or will be, as icing on the cake.

 

Know too that in the best-paying expatriate jobs in China -- law or banking, say -- you'll be spending most of your office time using English in any event.

 

How many foreigners head to China expecting to use their hard-earned 你好s to land a job, only to find that it's their perfect English skills that are in demand? Which is all the more reason to hunker down in Edinburgh and develop the ability to produce polished professional-level English.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BanjoSlice
8 hours ago, luker7 said:

While my 'gut feeling' is to go to China and properly learn the language and hopefully some opportunity could pop up

I would like to give my humble opinion on this. Staying in China is not a guaranteed way to learn the language however counter intuitive that may sound. It's not surprising to find many international students who have spent over five years in China with non existent Mandarin skills. It all boils down to your will which may fade(or not) with time. As others have stated, stay in Edinburgh and I guess try to find a summer school to get the "China" experience and then decide if you would want to then move to China in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy
9 hours ago, ChTTay said:

employers will instantly recognise Edinburgh as being a great University with solid courses.

He's actually going (well, maybe) to Heriot-Watt, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
xinoxanu

As many have said, Chinese skills may be the factor that less matters both in your current decision and future employability prospects.

 

But I wouldn't look at it that way. To me, Chinese is neither "the language of the future" nor a professional language in many fields. Sure, you may find yourself becoming the best deal closer in Shanghai when you manage to awe that real-estate developer.... or make your point understood to a factory worker in rural Fujian... but other than that, translators will be readily available and Chinese people are pretty understanding of your situation (compared to, let's say, a Japanese formal meeting where knowing what you are doing at all times and following a precise execution of events is uppermost).

 

You should, therefore, focus in developing any other skill you are interested, either through your education or not, and use Chinese as a crutch to get there, but, at the same time, if you really plan on living in China, keep in mind that your quality of life will be 100% affected by your knowledge of Chinese.... even in big cities where English is everywhere, don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ChTTay
3 hours ago, roddy said:

He's actually going (well, maybe) to Heriot-Watt, though

No idea what this means.

 

It’s a shit Uni? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PerpetualChange

I did a Master's in Hong Kong. It was in such a field that when I graduated I already knew that the only possible next steps would be a PhD or teaching in Hong Kong or China. At the time I was really focused on doing my PhD next but after I completed the Master's I'd already had enough of academia and wanted to start on a more mainstream life. For your undergrad, I'd say do it at home, it will be worth far more and there are so many ways you could plan on living/working in China after (or even during) that. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
roddy
2 hours ago, ChTTay said:

It’s a shit Uni?

Not at all, but you seemed to think he was going to Edinburgh University, which he isn't. H-W won't have the same name recognition, for what that's worth. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...