The People’s Republic of China is a large country in East Asia, that is rich in both history and natural beauty. China is a vast, populous land of great natural beauty and striking social contrasts. It features the cosmopolitan sophistication of Hong Kong and Shanghai, the industrial might of Beijing and is also home to ancient temples and palaces, and the seemingly untouched landscapes of its rural areas . China can certainly be called a land of tremendous diversity and contrast.
From the cosmopolitan sophistication of Hong Kong to the innovation hub of Shenzhen, and from to the rural provinces to industrial might of Beijing, you will be captivated by the diversity of its people, food, and terrain in The People’s Republic of China. The largest country in East Asia, China is known for its rich history, natural beauty and increasing influence on the world stage. Home to ancient temples and palaces, and the seemingly untouched landscapes of its rural areas, China touts some 48 UNESCO World Heritage sites. China can certainly be called a land of tremendous prosperity, culture, diversity and striking social contrast. Regardless of your field of study, China should be on your short list of study abroad or intern abroad destinations.
Aside from the rich cultural and natural history of China, there are a number of practical reasons students should study abroad in China. With the world’s second largest economy, there are a number of potential career opportunities for students interested in finance, manufacturing, and international trade in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and especially Hong Kong. If you’re interested in being at the center of innovation and technology, Shenzhen is your go to. Also, Fudan University, Peking University, and Tsinghua University were all ranked among the top 100 universities in the world.
These factors contributed to China drawing almost 14,000 American students to study abroad there during the 2013-14 school year. This is almost 5% of the total number of students studying abroad and the largest total for any country outside of the European continent.
There are many scholarships to fund your study abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in this country:
Also the China Critical Language Scholarship program is a language and cultural immersion program for American undergraduate and graduate students. designed to increase the number of students mastering critical languages and building relationships with other cultures.
For more scholarships, visit Scholarships for Study Abroad in China
If you have studied abroad in Japan, consider creating a profile and sharing your experience. What you have to say could help inspire another student considering studying abroad. You can also submit an article to be considered for publication on our website. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Also, here are some links to potential opportunities for students who have studied abroad and graduates interested in work opportunities in China.
Note: These tips are intended to serve as an overview and are not exhaustive. Be sure to research your destination thoroughly as your identity can have a significant impact on your experience abroad
Most Chinese are unaccustomed to Westerners of any race. Usually, the only students of color you will see on Chinese campuses are other study abroad students from the US or other countries. You should be aware of overt and covert racial discrimination, from staring and hair-touching to the harboring of prejudicial beliefs and derogatory comments. Given China’s increased engagement in Africa there are more African students in China than in the past. You may be read as African student before being recognized as African American study abroad student. Additionally, you may be the first person of color that people have had actual contact with.
Latino and Hispanic students can and often experience racism in prejudice in China. Many Chinese still harbor biases based on colorism, the preference for lighter skin complexions as a standard for beauty, intelligence and ability. Similarly to African Americans, you will often be perceived as Mexican or South American before being recognized as a being an American. There is a good chance that many of the Chinese you meet have not had a lot of exposure to Latinos/Hispanic and may ask questions or make comments that can be perceived as offensive, but come from a place of ignorance.
Asian Americans will have a truly unique experience while visiting China. The perception that many Chinese will have of you will be based on your Asian heritage more than your “American-ness”. If you’re of Chinese descent there can be the expectation that you speak Chinese. With China’s increased engagement in Southeast Asia, student with heritage from those regions may find themselves involved in sensitive discussions about China’s role in the region. For example, China and Japan have had a complicated history marked by armed conflict and even occupation. There is often still some resentment between the two countries.
China doesn’t have organizations directly and actively opposed to LGBTQ rights, but the country remain deeply prejudiced against LGBTQ people and relationships. A major challenge that LGBTQ people have is the concern that their identity might be exposed and harm educational and job opportunities. You may not find support for a homosexual or bisexual lifestyle in many study abroad locations outside of more liberal enclaves like Hong Kong, Shanghai, or other coastal cities and may not meet many (openly) gay peers.
Students with disabilities studying abroad in China will face a special set of challenges. In China, as in other parts of the world, there are often prejudicial attitudes towards individuals with disabilities. Also, inadequate medical care and stigmatization remain a common problems. The government made strong laws protecting the rights of the disabled, but Chinese cities make little concessions to disabled people in reality. For example, you will find wheelchair access to be extremely limited, especially outside Beijing or Shanghai and guide dogs are effectively forbidden from most public spaces.
Although most Chinese do not practice a religion, the majority of religious Chinese are either Buddhists or Confucianists. Northwest China, is home to a Muslim minority and a number of Islamic mosques. There are also practicing Christians and churches in China, although you will find most services conducted in Chinese. Students of faith who study abroad in China should be aware that it’s generally frowned upon for professionals to be overtly religious. There is also a growing wave of Islamophobia, as in many countries. You are free to practice your religion but not to proselytize to the Chinese, as it is against the law. Most younger Chinese are non-believers, although this is changing, and students should not be surprised if their Chinese classmates are skeptical of religion.
China is still in many ways a very patriarchal society and significant misogyny exists in professional and academic settings. More than 90 percent of female graduates have encountered gender discrimination in the job search process. Also, women make up only 35% of the urban Chinese work force. Despite the outward appearance that women are equal to men in China, women still struggle to be treated as true equals in the workplace and on campus. The crime rate is generally low, but students should be aware that domestic violences is prevalent, especially in rural areas. Also, pickpocketing, credit card fraud, and various financial scams, often target foreign women.
Hear from a Diversity Abroad Alumni who studied abroad in China!
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