Firstly, why do Chinese students choose to study abroad?
The earliest study abroad industry in China dates back to the late Qing Dynasty and the initial wave of study abroad caused by the Westernization movement. After the 1980s, self-funded study abroad was allowed. With economic development and population growth, China has always maintained an encouraging attitude and opinion about the creation of international talents, and the number of people traveling abroad has always grown. According to the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China, the total number of Chinese students studying abroad in 2019 reached more than 700,000 people, an increase of more than 6% compared to the previous year. In 2020, it is difficult to calculate the data due to the impact of the pandemic, but according to previous years, it is clear that, regardless of the specific causes of the pandemic, the overall growth rate of the foreign student contingent has increased very quickly. From 1978 to 2019, the total number of Chinese students studying abroad reached more than 6.56 million people, more than 4.9 million people completed their studies, more than 86% of graduates returned to the country for development.
With the constant increase in the number of students studying abroad, it has become a way to expand knowledge, enrich life, study advanced knowledge and technologies and increase competitiveness in the labor market. This is another option in addition to staying in the country to continue further studies.
Secondly, why do Chinese students choose to study in Russia?
According to the Russian Department of Education and Scientific Supervision, in 2019, China has sent 24,226 students to Russian universities, which is 23.6% more than in 2018, making it the largest source of foreign students in Russia.
More and more Chinese students are choosing to study in Russia, mainly for the following reasons:
- China and Russia have established a "comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in a new era", the "One Belt, One Road" initiative and broad employment prospects;
- In comparison with other European and American countries, the total cost of studying in Russia is low and economically profitable;
- Low entrance grade point, simple admission procedures, no university entrance exam results required, no certificate of deposit required;
- There are many educational resources and many specialties to choose from. Chinese students studying at Russian universities choose the majority of specialties in the field of humanities and social sciences, Russian language, economics and management, engineering and technology.
Although the number of people studying in Russia currently reaches almost 30,000 and has continued to grow in recent years, compared with 300,000 people studying in the United States and 150,000 people studying in the United Kingdom, for Chinese, Russia is still a niche destination for studying abroad.
As you can see from the information table for foreign students in 2019, in terms of the distribution of specialties, the share of students — specialists of the Russian language accounts for 31% of the total, the share of specialists in economic management accounts for 22%, the share of students of other humanities accounts for 29%, the share of technical, medical and natural sciences — for 18%. Students studying in Russia are very concentrated in the fields of humanities and social sciences (82%), and even more concentrated in the Russian language and economic management (53%). Such distribution of specialties does not correspond either to Russia's status as a major scientific and technical power, nor to the full priority areas of cooperation between China and Russia.