A recent article in the NYT (link at bottom) showed that China is now the 5th most popular destination for American study abroad students, after Britain, Italy, France and Spain. Apparently, over 11,000 students from the US studied in China last year, which is a 10 fold increase from 10 years ago. The article very clearly states that this is due to increased interest in economics and politics rather than a growing interest in culture or history, but this drastic increase is still quite surprising.
I will say I am happy to know that many more students are studying abroad in China, but one things does bother me a bit. From my understanding, to study abroad in France, Spain, or Italy, a high level of that language is required, whereas (as this article points out) most of the study abroad programs in China are all taught in English. Shouldn’t there be similar standards for language for China? I studied in Hong Kong, which is actually probably even worse; I think maybe 10 percent of the people I studied with made any attempt to learn any Cantonese or Mandarin, other than various curse words…
Anyhow, good to know that China is no longer such a far away destination; interest is starting to grow!
Lewin, Tamar. “Study Abroad Flourishes, With China a Hot Spot.” New York Times. 17 Nov. 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/17/education/17exchange.html?ex=1384664400&en=1b4a93e8cf96321d&ei=5124&partner=facebook&exprod=facebook