While more and more Chinese are going abroad for education, an unprecedented number of foreign students are coming to China to study. And they are not just here for the language. An increasing number of international students in China are going through rigorous 4-year or 2-year programs studying for degrees in fields such as business, management and medicine.
Finally back from a long summer holiday, German student Maike Spiekermann is excited to be reunited with her teachers at the University of International Business and Economics.
A major in Business Administration, Maike hopes her China experience will not only make her bilingual and bi-cultural, but enable her to gain her business degree with excellence.
Maike said, "Well, the world is opening to the east. Chinese is a languge you should know and China is a culture you should know."
Maike is among more than 2-thousand international students at this university. While some are here for the first time, others have been around for quite for a while.
25 year old Abdol is winner of a Chinese government scholarship and a senior in international economics. Fluent in business Chinese after just 3 years' study, Abdol says with sincerity that much of the credit should go to his teachers.
Abdol said, "Before I couldn't really speak Chinese. Now I wouldn't say my Chinese is perfect but its okay for someone who learned Chinese for four years. So I would like to say "Wo Tuo Lao Shi De Fu".(I owe my achivements to my teacher")
Around Beijing and across China, more international students are pouring in.
CCTV reporter Wang Guan said, "Merely 15 years ago, only 40 thousand foreign students studied in China. Now the figure is a quarter of a million. The Ministry of Education estimates that by 2020, China will have the largest number of international students anywhere in Asia. "
According to the Ministry of Education, currently, nearly 70 percent of China's foreign students come from South Korea. The United States has surpassed Japan to become the second largest exporter of China-bound students.
And they are not just here to study the language. In 2009, the number of students studying for degrees increased by 17 percent year on year.
More and more international students are coming to China to study subjects and careers that they wouldn't be attracted to a few years ago.
Sarah and Adam came to Peking Union Medical College for their doctor's degree in epidemiology with a focus on the treatment of cervical cancer. They are content with the research facilities here and they say they are excited to work with the research team led by Dr.Qiao Youlin, one of the most renowned doctors in cervical cancer treatment in China and around the world.
Adam said, "China and the U.S are going through a similar process of cervical cancer in that they are both starting this national campaign to reduce cervical cancer by aggressive vaccinations. So hopefully through Sarah and my research here, we can take the result back to the US to start this bi-national cancer research project."
Experts say,this influx of students with diverse backgrounds and career objectives,is creating new dynamics in China's higher learning institutions, making them more pluralistic and more in touch with the world.