I suspect we’ll see the same issues popping up in language and study abroad programs all over the world soon. In my experiences, students are studying abroad more for the “tourism” benefit than an actual career or learning interest these days. So naturally, places like France and England would be becoming more attractive. Sadly, I think China is an amazing place to visit regardless of whether it gets you the job in the future. I wish more people would come here; they would find that a lot of what they think they know is actually wrong and it is significant in expanding your horizons. Sometimes it is good to get a point of view of the world from a non-western place. You would be surprised at how your approach to life and world politics/business/life changes. Oh well, more job opportunities for me 🙂 **DB
Americans are getting cold feet about studying Chinese in China, with many study abroad programmes experiencing a substantial drop in enrolment.
At the University of California Education Abroad Programme (UCEAP), student enrolment in programmes in China is expected to be less than half the level it was four years ago. Washington-based CET, another study abroad group, says interest in China has been falling since 2013.
The apparent waning of interest worries some China watchers. Given the importance of the US-China relationship, having a group of Americans across various industries who speak Chinese and understand the culture is “a matter of national interest”, says Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Centre in Washington.
“We can’t respond coherently, effectively and fully to China unless we understand China on its own terms,” he said.
The Institute of International Education says the number of US students studying in China fell 3.2 per cent in 2012-13 to 14,413, even as overall study abroad numbers rose modestly.
American students’ apparent loss of interest contrasts with Chinese students’ clamour for a US education. The number of Chinese studying in the US jumped 16.5 per cent in 2013-14 to more than 274,000.
For US students, China’s notorious pollution is a concern. Job opportunities are another. As multinationals in China hire mostly locals, a growing percentage of whom have studied abroad, they have less need for foreigners who speak Chinese.
“I came to China thinking I could learn Chinese and get a high-paying job. I learned very quickly that was not the case,” said Ian Weissgerber, a 25-year-old American graduate student in China. . . .