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October 26, 2009

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Home » Metro » Education

Students shop for university courses abroad

MORE than 20,000 visitors packed the Shanghai East Asia Exhibition Hall over the weekend during an annual education fair by overseas schools.

More than 300 institutes from 14 countries displayed booths at the China Education Expo 2009.

Schools who took part in the fair for the first time included those from Denmark, Belgium and Belorussia.

Many institutions doubled their display areas this year, while the Canadian and United Kingdom consulates brought schools together under national pavilions in a bid to attract Chinese students.

China has become an battlefield for overseas schools with the yuan's rise and the increasing demand for higher education.

About 160,000 Chinese students studied abroad at their own cost last year, an increase from 129,000 students in 2007.

The number is expected to continue to grow to 200,000 this year, according to China Education Association for International Exchange.

"This is an experimental tour for us," said Marianne Jakobsen, director of the international relations office for the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

"Higher education fees were introduced to Denmark in 2005, so the school needs to increase its market."

Jakobsen believed that more schools will compete for good Chinese students in future, as tuitions become the norm in Europe with globalization and improvements in education quality.

About 25,000 Chinese students applied to study in the UK from January to July this year, a 20 percent increase on the same period of last year.

In 2008, the total number of students from China studying in Canada was 13,668, a 27 percent increase over the previous year.

Nearly 20 percent more Chinese enrolled in United States universities last year when it loosened visa restrictions.

"Many Chinese people have an American dream," said fair attendee Paul Gu, who has worked for a year and is seeking a study program in the US.

"Now may be the best timing with the rise in the value of the yuan and a looser visa policy," he said.


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