Want to study in China, huh? (Part 1)

Excellent choice! While short-term study abroad programs have always been popular in the past, in recent years, more and more students worldwide are looking to pursue degrees in Chinese universities. As China’s global presence is expanding and the number of universities is expanding, establishing a foothold in China is certainly something worth considering.

However, whether you’re seriously determined to study in China, or if it’s just a fleeting thought, the research process may be daunting and difficult. So we’re going to tell you straight up - here is where you start.

Why study in China?

Choosing where you want to go for university depends on so many factors, but choosing one in a place of unfamiliar territory adds a whole other element. So first things first, why do you want to study in China of all places? Perhaps, from a young age, you’ve always had a fascination for China’s rich, 3000-year-old history and culture. Maybe it’s China’s modern history and politics that intrigues you, and you want to get a close up perspective. Or even further yet, perhaps you’ve noticed China’s rising position as an economic and world power, and you want an in.

Whatever it may be, all are good and all are valid. Determining your options and motivations for studying in China is essential before committing long-term.

Where in China should I study?
Whilst there are many schools scattered all around China, the best quality education is still going to be found mainly in China’s major cities. Here are some of the cities you’ll probably want to consider.


As the country’s capital city and cultural hub of historical sites, Beijing is naturally one of the top choices of consideration. Because of its special position, Beijing is both one of the most modern Chinese cities, whilst still preserving its cultural significance. If you choose to study in Beijing, you can easily find many opportunities to use your Chinese and connect with the local culture. Or, you can just as easily find a missing piece of home in the long-since established expat community here. Beijing is an enormous city, and it’s still ever expanding, thus making for countless opportunities in business, teaching, internships and jobs.

Many of China’s top universities are also based in Beijing, including Tsinghua University and Peking University, ranked #1 and #2 respectively.


China’s financial capital and the world’s second largest city, Shanghai, is a confluence point of cultures due to its longstanding, special relationship with the West. Shanghai is arguably the most modern and trendy city in all of China with its amazing architecture and infrastructure. Being the world renown city that it is, it is no surprise that Shanghai is also home to some of China’s best universities, including Fudan University which consistently ranks #3. The city is also very internationally friendly, so you’re looking to ease your way into China, Shanghai is probably the best stepping stone.


Hangzhou is the capital city of Zhejiang province and also home to the eponymous Zhejiang University, China’s #4 ranked university. Anybody familiar with Hangzhou can relate the famous saying, “While there is paradise in heaven, there is Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth.” Historically known for its immense natural beauty, tea and silk, now a days Hangzhou is being recognized more for the modern metropolis it has grown into. The people of Hangzhou have a reputation for being business savvy, and it’s been proven as it is one of China’s emerging technology hubs, and is home to the e-commerce giant Alibaba.

If you want to study in a city where the cost of living is not so high, but still be at the center of emerging businesses, Hangzhou may be the place to be.


If you’re looking for something a little bit off the radar in comparison to the other cities already mentioned, we suggest you look to Xiamen. Located in southeastern Fujian Province, “the Hawaii of China” is a lively, subtropical coastal city. Many aspects about Xiamen make it unique to other cities in China, including its distinct Hokkien culture and low pollution rates. With a population of only 3.5 million, the city is considered to be more peaceful and on the smaller side, for China.

Xiamen hosts Xiamen University as well as Huaqiao University, both of which well known in their own right amongst international students.

What other factors should I consider?

Now that you have an idea of why you want to study in China, and where in China you want to go, you’ve finished the easy part. Next you need to decide on a university! What university should I apply for? What factors should I look for to determine which university is best suited for me? Can I apply for scholarship?

Unfortunately, the answers to all of these questions is unique from school to school, and a lot of research needs to be done individually. Fortunately, however, we’ve done all the research for you and have compiled a list of top universities to take into consideration when applying as an international student. We will go over all of the important details here. So look out for next week’s post!