In many ways, the Chinese education system is far superior to any other schooling system in the world. Chinese students work for longer hours in school each day in a space void of all distraction. The average day spans from 7:30 am to 5 pm with a two hour break for lunch. The school year also runs from September to July with a small summer break in between. Education is the number one priority above all other part of life that might normally emotionally interfere. One must then ask, why more and more Chinese students are choosing to study abroad in a foreign country far from their own every year?
The answer is that this choice to finish one’s education abroad is simply a solution to a very real problem in China. The Asian country currently stands with the highest population in the world with millions of children graduating from high school every year at the same time. The cruel truth is that, as worthy of a college education as many of these graduates are, there are simply not enough universities available to provide a suitable furthering of their education.
Chinese students are not only academically competitive as a result of the cultural pressure that many parents put on them, but also because they have to be the very best to be accepted into any Chinese university. Entrance into any of these universities is achieved by perfection in two areas. Similar to the United States, students are graded on their performance in the classroom in day-to-day activities. These grades are factored into the decision of whether to admit a student or not. They are, however, not as significant as the score a student receives on the Gao Kao. The Gao Kao is a college entrance test, somewhat similar to the United States’ ACT, but substantially more difficult, longer, and much more important. All students take the Gao Kao so naturally there is a huge amount of competition. According to Chinese students, it basically requires almost a perfect score of the Gao Kao, as well as exemplary marks in the classroom, to be admitted into a University. It also does not hurt to know someone in admissions at the University. From an American perspective, it would be about the same as getting a near perfect ACT score and a 4.0 grade point average. Many brilliant, hardworking Chinese students are denied entry to these schools every year.
Studying abroad is one alternative to trying to gain acceptance into a university in China. As expensive as it might be, Chinese foreign exchange students can continue their education in a different country and find great success in it. According to Chinese students, this is a large reason why many of them start studying a language at an early age. This option to study abroad is the perfect solution to the problem of living in a highly populated country. Students can experience the world from a different perspective that they would not normally have finishing school in China. It is a very wise alternative.