Located in eastern Asia, China is the most populous nation in the world with over 1.35 billion inhabitants. It is also the second largest nation by land area, covering 9.6 million square kilometers. Its vast territory encompasses forest steppes, the Gobi and Taklamakan deserts, subtropical forests, grasslands, the Himalayan, Tian Shan and Pamir mountain ranges, the Yellow and Yangtze rivers and over 14,500 kilometers of coastline. It is considered one of the cradles of civilization. It is also one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world. Low labor costs and a solid infrastructure have made it the number one global exporter of manufactured goods.
Higher education in China includes over 2,000 institutions, including vocational and technical schools, international schools, and public and private colleges and universities. Over 11 million students attend these schools each year. Many institutions have outstanding international reputations for their excellent teaching and research facilities. An increasing number of universities offer programs in English, enabling international students to study and earn their degree regardless of whether they are proficient in Mandarin.
The academic year is divided into two semesters and begins on the first of September. The first term ends in January and is followed by the winter or Lunar New Year break. Depending on the date of the Chinese New Year, the second term may begin in February or March and ends in July. In Northern China the summer break may be shorter and the winter break longer. The year includes several holiday breaks dictated by the Lunar Calendar.
Students who wish to study undergraduate studies in China will find a wide variety of bachelor’s degrees to choose from. Programs typically take three to five years of full-time study to complete. Graduates may begin a career in their chosen field or go on to graduate level studies.
The cost of a university education and the living expenses while studying vary depending on the institution chosen, the city of residence and the housing options available. In general, China is a fairly affordable place to live and study compared with the cost of a similar education in Europe or the United States.
China is the most popular country in Asia for international students, and sixth most popular worldwide. The booming economy and relatively low cost of living attract students from all over the world. Several Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, are central to the global economy, and many students choose to study there in order to gain experience and make important contacts in their field of study. In addition, students living in China may have the opportunity to travel and see the remarkable landscape and historical sites firsthand, and to appreciate both its ancient and modern culture for themselves.