Studying abroad is more than just a long vacation to another country. Studying in China will teach you skills like language, cultural adaptability, communication, independence, and of course you will learn all about Chinese culture! Here are the top seven ways studying abroad in China can truly transform your future for the better.
Learn a new language
It goes without saying that one of the biggest benefits of studying abroad in China will be learning Mandarin Chinese. This language is spoken by a whopping 1.3 BILLION native speakers! That is 16% of the global population.
Learning Chinese won’t just help you know how to pronounce global brands like Huawei and Alibaba correctly. You’ll also learn the deep history and beautiful writing system of Chinese characters, be able to speak a tonal language, communicate with billions from around the world, and live, dream, and work in a second language.
Studying a second or third language has documented health benefits, including: improving your memory, increasing your attention span and creativity, boosting self-esteem, and slowing the cognitive decline that comes with aging.
Make friends from around the world
China is a popular destination for students from around the world–including you and the future friends you will make. In 2017, a record-breaking 489,000 international students enrolled in Chinese universities. Thousands of international students continue to study at China’s top universities.
When you study abroad, you will get to know classmates not only from your own country, but elsewhere around the world. Don’t just hang out with friends from your own language and culture. Take the opportunity to get to know how people live in other parts of the world and learn new things about yourself in the process.
Business and career opportunities
The economic powerhouse of the future is undoubtedly in Asia, and China is at the forefront. China is the country with the most billionaires: 1,058 in 2021. Chinese companies rank highly among their international counterparts, with major firms like Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group competing against Amazon and Microsoft.
Work and internship opportunities are plentiful for foreign students in China! YES, you can intern in China while on a student visa. Chinese companies are constantly seeking foreign interns with a good grasp of English, Chinese, or other languages. In China, you’ll work with international teams, Chinese co-workers, and get to know a new business environment while developing important skills like cultural communication, adaptability, and creativity. You will not be short on work opportunities if you choose to study abroad in China, and your work experience abroad will really make your resume stand out. Working in China in another sure what that studying abroad in China can transform your future.
Experience a totally new culture
Chinese culture is really quite different from anywhere else in the world. Even if you are from an Asian country, you will find that it will still be an initial challenge for you to adapt to Chinese life.
- The Chinese internet is different from every other country. Instead of Whatsapp, Instagram, Amazon, and Google, Chinese use WeChat, Xiaohongshu, Taobao or Pinduoduo, and Baidu.
- Mobile payment is the norm in China. The country has practically skipped over credit cards, and you won’t even be using cash that much. You can pay for street food snacks, train tickets, metro cards, and even university fees with a phone app.
- China is largely homogenous. Han Chinese make up around 94% of the Chinese population. Especially if you study or travel to a smaller city or town, you might get a lot of attention for being the first African or South Asian student, red-haired, or green-eyed person someone has ever seen.
- The pace of life is extremely fast. Skyscrapers are built in just a few years. New roads and buildings get town down and built again in just a few months. It can be common for workers, especially in the tech industry, to work long hours through dinnertime. Chinese city life moves extremely fast.
- Food culture is largely different. Even if you enjoy eating “Chinese food” in your home country, there will be hundreds of different options in China, ranging from light and sweet to eye-wateringly spicy. In Chinese cuisine, it’s rare to eat raw vegetables (they are usually fully cooked). Meat dishes may include the heart, liver, stomach, and tongue of animals like pig, donkey, crow, scorpion, and fish. I personally find all this food delicious, but you will need to be open to trying new things!
Modern and advanced culture building the future
Visiting some of China’s biggest and most high-tech cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen, or Hong Kong might feel like you’re stepping a few years into the future. With dazzling skylines, huge global companies, elevated highways speeding by luxury malls, and trending cultural events packing every gallery, you will never need to worry about “falling behind” or “missing out” on global economic or cultural trends.
Traditions and history preserved from the past
China takes its historical preservation very seriously. China has 48 UNESCO world heritage sights, the majority of which are cultural–second only to Italy, which has 51. The country is the birthplace of ancient philosophies like Daoism, Confucianism, and several Buddhist sects, and a key route along the ancient “Silk Road” trade routes. China has a documented written history going back nearly 5,000 years, populated by a fascinating cast of emperors, conquerors, warriors, literati, and philosophers. You can experience so much of the world’s cultural heritage by traveling around China.
Become more confident and independent
After some time in China, you will begin to notice some changes in yourself and your personality. Challenges might not make you as nervous as they once did. You find it easier to adapt to others’ cultural differences, and aren’t as self-conscious when speaking Chinese.
This is the biggest way studying abroad in China can transform your future. If you truly dive into your Chinese study abroad experience and make the most of all these opportunities, you will find yourself growing more confident and independent. It is inevitable that, after living and studying in a foreign country, you will grow stronger emotionally and mentally.
Adaptability, communication, teamwork and collaboration, independence and maturity, self-worth, curiosity, and flexibility…these aren’t skills that you can teach in a class. Instead, you learn them through living your life. There is no better teacher than a study abroad experience in China to help you develop crucial life skills outside the classroom.
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