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Studying in the UK Vs China: What’s the Difference?

Being a student in the United Kingdom is very different from being a student in China. The UK is the second most popular study destination in the world for international students, behind the United States. Over 600,000 international students go to universities in UK for variety of programmes.

On the other hand, China is the second largest economies in the world, and is fast become a choose study destination for international students. Interestingly, more Chinese universities are gaining recognition in the world rankings because of their quality and educational reforms. If you are contemplating between studying in the UK and China, this video is a side by side comparison that would hopefully help you make a decision. If you are new here, consider subscribing to After School Africa for more educative videos like this.

*Please note that this video is for information purpose. We advise that you seek professional advice and do your own research to make your choice according to your objective.
  1. University Ranking Comparison

Going by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2019, the UK and China are not in the same leagues. Three universities in the UK are ranked in the top ten; The University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and the Imperial College London rank 1st, 2nd and 9th respectively.

The closest Chinese university is the Peking University (the numero uno in China) at the 31st position. A closer look at the world rankings also reveals that there are much more UK universities in the top 200 rankings than there are Chinese ones. If ranking is all that matters, UK easily wins. But there is more to choosing a study destination than some online ranking.

Listen to Studying in the UK Vs China: What’s the Difference? in the video below:

Teaching Style Comparison

In China, if students are taught the number 1 to 100 in class, they would be expected to try and remember as many of these numbers as they possibly can. But, they would only be subjected to an exam that tests, maybe 20 random numbers, out of the original 100.

This is different in the UK. In the UK, professors might only teach the numbers from 1 to 50. But students are then expected to explore further and learn the numbers 50 to 100 by themselves. And when they are subjected to tests, the content will cover all 100 numbers.

In other words, in the UK, students are expected to take initiative in their studies. The UK education purpose seems to be more focused on honing the skills to learn and the passion for knowledge. Whereas the Chinese education system focus on passing as much knowledge to the students as possible, with little student engagement.

Tuition Fees Comparison

If you choose to get undergraduate education in the UK, expect tuition fees starting from 14,000USD for lecture-based courses and scaling up to 54,000USD for a medical degree. At the postgraduate level, classroom-based programs could start from around 5,600 USD and peak at 45,000USD. Laboratory-based programs range from 17,000USD to 38,000USD.

Compared to the UK and US, studying in China is far less expensive. The average tuition fees in public universities in China range between 3,300 – 10,000 USD/ year. While degrees in medicine, engineering and business cost between 24,000- 50,000 USD/year. There is also the opportunity to study at American and British universities with a campus in China. Tuition fees at such institutions cost from 8,000 to 14,000USD a year, with the average bachelors degree at 11,000USD and average masters degree at 12,500USD a year.

Cost of Living Comparison

Living in UK is generally more expensive that in China. As an international student living in the UK, your yearly budget for living expenses can amount to the equivalent of about 17,200 USD a year (if you live outside London). If you are living in London and other major cities, you may need a budget of at least 21,500 USD every year.

The cost of living in China also differs according to your location. The living costs in metropolitan areas like Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai would be slightly more expensive than other locations. On the average, international students spend around 4,000USD for accommodation and about 2,000 USD for other living expenses per year. But this can go upward when you move to bigger cities like Shangai, Beijing, where you’ll need an average of 13,000USD to cover your yearly expenses. Overall, cost of living in China is a lot cheaper than the UK.

Scholarship Availability

Both countries offer substantial amount of scholarship opportunities for international students. The UK offers a lot of prestigious scholarships since as far back as 1902; from the Rhodes Trust, Cambridge Trust, to the Commonwealth and Chevening Scholarships. Majority of the UK scholarships are targeted at the masters and PhD level, with fewer undergraduate scholarships.

In comparison, China also provide large amount of scholarships. The largest scholarship in China is the Chinese Government Scholarship which is managed by the China Scholarship Council. These full or partial scholarships are available for undergraduate, masters and PhD students. See the description below for links to our videos on top scholarships in UK and China.

Ability to Work While Studying

As an international student, you can work while studying in the UK if you study at a university or college that is listed on the official UKVI Sponsor list and the list of ‘recognized bodies’. You are able to work for up to 20 hours a week during term and full-time during holidays.

Previously, most international students were not allowed to work in China. But recently, the Ministry of Education announced that China will now allow international students in Chinese universities nationwide to take part-time jobs during their studies to make the country’s higher educational system more attractive. Since China is a booming economy, you are also likely to find more opportunities here. But there could also be limitations due to language barrier.

Language Comparison

English language is naturally the official language in the UK. So you don’t have to worry about language barrier. Typically, you will be required to provide TOEFL or IELTS score to prove your proficiency in English language. However, depending on your country and the university you are applying to, you may be exempted from providing this requirement, if you can prove that English was your language of instruction in your home country.

Conversely, in Chinese universities, it helps to be fluent in Chinese because the language of instruction is mostly Chinese. This is changing though, as more courses are being taught in English these days. One way around the Chinese language barrier is to choose universities that offer language options that suit you.

In summary, you have to decide what factors are most important to you and choose the country that win along those lines. Will you prefer to study in China or the United Kingdom? Let us know in the comment section. If you found this video helpful, thumb up and share with someone. If you are yet to subscribe to our channel, this is likely a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!

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