[photopress:University_of_Virginia.jpg,full,alignright]The University of Virginia is making a special effort to attract students from China. And is also pushing hard for its students to learn Chinese.
During the most recent academic year, 133 undergraduate students and 272 graduate students from China were enrolled at UVa. (The shortened form seems slightly awkward but it the correct one to use.)
Of the incoming class of first-year students, 76 are Chinese citizens — which is a 46% over last year. And there are possibly a 108 graduate students from China who will be enrolling at the same time.
Parke Muth, director of international admissions at UVa, said, ‘It’s amazing. We’re seeing an absolutely huge increase in the number of students coming from China.’
Last year, for the first time, China was the No. 1 country of origin for foreign students. And it continues in that pace. China is also by far the top foreign country of origin for graduate students at UVa.
Chinese students’ interest in UVa seems to be reciprocated by American UVa students. The number of American UVa students enrolling in Chinese language classes has skyrocketed.
This is not a national trend. While China is the No. 2 country of origin for U.S. colleges and universities, enrollment figures have remained fairly flat. There were 62,582 students from China studying in the United States in 2005-2006, an increase of only 0.1 percent over the previous year.
UVa admissions officials say it is no accident that Chinese students come there. Parke Muth has traveled nearly every year to China with colleagues from Williams, Amherst and Middlebury colleges. On the delegation’s trips to the cities of Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou, they visit the country’s top high schools to tell the students about each university.
Culturally, Muth said, a university’s rankings are of the utmost importance to Chinese parents. U.S. News & World Report ranked UVa the nation’s second-best public university, behind the University of California at Berkeley.
Over the next decade, the number of Chinese students applying to UVa may drop off as more Chinese students decide to attend college within their own country’s borders. In 1999, China launched a multi-billion-dollar, 20-year effort to increase the quality of its higher education system.
For Chinese students at UVa, becoming fluent in English can be tricky, but most have had English lessons since they were in middle school and before.
American pop culture is also increasingly evident in China, several Chinese students said.
Source: Daily Progress.com