Demand for Foreign Education

Double-feature post!

This post is on Chinese parents with upper-middle class incomes and above sending their child to the U.S. and Australia for education.  Both articles offer different reasons for having their child educated in a foreign country.  From Bloomberg, parents send their children in private schools where the experience of being in American society as well as classes with American students will help them with business relations later on.  American private schools working with Chinese schools are having trouble keeping up with enrollment.  These are a couple of reasons among several in the article.  From ABC News in Australia, they say that parents see the benefits of learning the foreign language earlier is better, in addition to Australia being attractive by Australia’s currency dropping and relaxation of foreign students entering the country for education.

*Please keep in mind that these articles are relatively old.

The article from Bloomberg is more in-depth, which is why I placed it first.  Visit the sources for pictures.  The Australian one has an audio clip.

U.S. Private High Schools Accommodate Influx of Chinese Students

High schools draw affluent students from China

Heads turned when a limo pulled up to Hartsbrook School on the first day of orientation this August. The Waldorf school in rural Hadley, Mass., is known for its alternative curriculum, based on the teachings of Austrian mystic Rudolf Steiner—not for flashy displays of wealth. Chickens roam the schoolyard. Pigs, sheep, cows, and oxen are fenced in nearby, part of an agricultural arts program. Classes are small, ranging from 8 to 20 students.

The limo’s elegant occupant had traveled from China to drop off her son Neil. The ninth grader is one of eight students from China and Taiwan who recently moved to America to attend the 265-student private day school. The newcomers are part of an enormous influx of Chinese students clamoring to enroll at U.S. boarding schools and, increasingly, day schools such as Hartsbrook.

5,927% Growth in the number of Chinese secondary school students in the U.S. since 2005

From 2005 to 2014, the number of Chinese attending American secondary institutions grew almost 60-fold, from 632 to 38,089, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program. A cottage industry of consultants has arisen to help place them at institutions in the U.S. “Last summer, eight agencies contacted us all at once,” says Leslie Evans, Hartsbrook’s enrollment director.

Hartsbrook’s administrators, who thought adding Chinese students would enhance the school’s diversity, teamed up with Shanghai-based Burgeon Education. To create a home away from home, Burgeon leased a sprawling house with a pool, hot tub, and basketball court. It hired Hartsbrook’s art teacher and her partner to serve as house parents, and English tutors to provide eight hours per week of extra language help. Burgeon also arranged for a local restaurant, Amherst Chinese, to cater two meals a day. “We asked them to try and do something more authentic,” says Hao Wang, a director at Burgeon, explaining that Chinese cooking, at least during the first months, helps ease the kids’ social and digestive transition. The eight students each pay $20,000 in tuition and $38,500 more for room, board, fees, and extra services, such as drivers to chauffeur them to the mall.

Burgeon’s mini-dormitory setup, while unusual, is the next logical step toward accommodating the seemingly endless demand to place students from China, who account for almost 50 percent of America’s international high school population, according to DHS. Wealthy parents want to bypass the mainland’s high-pressure education system and boost their children’s chances of getting into an American university. Many also see the move as a “sound business investment,” Wang says. “Parents simply feel the continuing success of their businesses will be predicated on the linguistic skills and the network of international connections that their children will build while studying in the U.S.” Clean air and water is another draw.

Some boarding schools pile in as many Chinese students able to pay full tuition as they can fit, often to the detriment of the English-language-immersion experience. “When we first started working with boarding schools, they had … virtually no Chinese enrollment,” Wang says, noting that Burgeon sends about 300 Chinese high school and university students to the U.S. annually. “Over the years we started to see Chinese students taking up 30 percent, in some cases even 70 to 80 percent of the total population” of some institutions. Hartsbrook’s Evans says two of its students transferred from schools in California and Maine where their parents thought they had too many Chinese peers, diluting the American experience. “It’s really impossible for boarding schools to accommodate the interest [from China],” says John Green, former headmaster at Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., who is working on plans to set up a campus for international students at New Jersey day schools. “I know of boarding schools where the application-to-acceptance ratio for Chinese students is more competitive than Harvard.”

The hotel’s ballroom is now a study hall
The hotel’s ballroom is now a study hall Photograph by C.T. Kruger/Wauwatosa Now

Burgeon began working with day schools to create new opportunities and “sustain the size of our [recruiting] operation in China,” Wang says. Small alternative schools such as Hartsbrook, he adds, are particularly attractive to Chinese parents specifically because they tend to have “a very modest appetite for foreign students and want to maintain their American character.” Hartsbrook, for example, doesn’t plan to admit any more Chinese students for a few years, or until the current enrollees have been successfully integrated. “It wouldn’t be good for the students,” Evans says. Burgeon has set up a similar pilot dorm for 12 students attending Cathedral High School in Springfield, Mass., and says it wants to make housing available for up to 300 day students within five years.

Others are organizing much larger room-and-board operations for day schools. Fairmont Private Schools says there are more than 325 students from China this year at its preparatory academy in Orange County, Calif. That’s 75 percent of its international high school enrollment. Most live in homestays. The Wisconsin International Academy houses about 140 Chinese students in a former Days Inn in Wauwatosa and sends them to five different high schools for classes.

“There’s a real mix of approaches and not a lot of regulation,” says Jeff Bradley, a consultant with Educators’ Collaborative, a search and consulting company for schools. “They’re seeing that there’s a seemingly limitless supply of full-pay students.” Some schools, he adds, likely offer aid to attract and retain American students.

In Princeton, N.J., Chinese investor Jiang Bairong bought the former American Boychoir School, on a picturesque campus designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, and set up the Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (Prisms), which is 75 percent Chinese. Students pay $43,500 a year for tuition, room, and board. Kevin Merges, the school’s assistant principal, says the students are drawn by smaller classes and “the perception that American schools are better at teaching things like creativity.”

American public schools also want in on the action, both to bring in funds and bolster shrinking enrollment. But they’re up against federal law, which prohibits them from taking visa students for more than one year. John House-Myers, principal of the public Bow High School in Bow, N.H., is lobbying for the Strengthening America’s Public Schools Through Promoting Foreign Investment Act, which would eliminate this restriction. “We’ve got schools [in China] that contact us, and they’re ready to send us 100 kids,” he says. The bill was assigned to a congressional committee in 2013.

On a recent Friday at Hartsbrook High, freshman Neil sits at a picnic table eating lunch delivered from Amherst Chinese. He’s not a fan of the food. “I hate vegetables,” he says in fledgling English. Over the past two weeks, he’s had more homework than in China, but he says that his American classmates are interesting and very artistic and that he likes the Waldorf curriculum, which includes morning singing sessions and unusual subjects like woodworking. Neil also likes Hartsbrook’s location. “My mom knows it’s my dream to study at a U.S. college,” he says. “Here is near Harvard.”

Chinese students favouring Australian high schools as enrolments climb 20 per cent


New enrolment figures show China’s rising middle class is increasingly looking to Australian high schools to educate its next generation.

Last year, there were almost 4,300 new enrolments of Chinese teenagers in Australian public and private schools.

The Australian Trade Commission said it was a rise of about 20 per cent on the previous year’s new enrolments.

The total number of enrolments of Chinese school students rose to 8,386 in 2014, up from 7,447 in 2013.

Dr Minglu Chen, a lecturer at the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, said families were looking for better English education and a pathway to top Australian universities for their children.

“This is what we could expect from China’s growing economy, which is at the moment is the second largest economy in the world, which actually also has a growing middle class,” Dr Chen said.

“Australia is not far from China. They are one of the most important Asia-Pacific neighbours.

“I think parents, wealthy middle class parents in China, would prefer their children to be educated in an English-speaking society.”

One of the reasons for the rise in enrolments of Chinese high school students is a new visa system.

In 2014, visa rules were relaxed to allow international teenagers to come to Australia on a student visa as early as Year 7.

Wealthy parents paying thousands for public schools

In New South Wales, Chinese parents pay about $13,500 a year for their children to study at public schools.

The Australian Trade Commission said students either boarded at private schools or stayed in home-stay accommodation.

Quentin Stevenson-Perks, assistant general manager of international education at the Australian Trade Commission, said Chinese parents wanted to send their children to Australian schools as soon as possible.

“One of the trends we’ve seen is a what we call “go earlier” strategy amongst Chinese parents,” Mr Stevenson-Perks said.

“I think they’re seeing that the benefits of their children gaining English language or foreign language studies earlier.

“Also, the prospects of higher education provide a pretty good package for the Chinese parent.”

Trade officials and private schools recently spruiked the Australian curriculum at an international education exhibition tour in several Chinese cities.

One of those schools is Haileybury, a large private school in Melbourne, which said it was about to open a Beijing campus teaching an Australian curriculum to Chinese primary and secondary students.

The school’s principal, Derek Scott, also said Chinese families were increasingly interested in Australia’s secondary schools.

“That demand has certainly increased as the Australian dollar has gone down,” Mr Scott said.

“Australian education rates very well on all the international testing programs.”

The number of Chinese high school students in Australia is still far below the 90,300 Chinese university students in the country.

But the Australian Trade Commission has projected the number of younger students will continue to grow.

Trade Minister, Andrew Robb said Australia could teach 10 million international students within the Asia-Pacific region within 10 years if new policies were adopted.


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I began writing Elle's Adventure in China (EACh) in June 2014 as a fun summer project, but as obstacles kept interfering with my plans, I forked and forked more options. I took writing this novel much more seriously in mid-July, and want to have it officially published someday in my lifetime. As many artists put their hearts into their projects, so do I. I did not start out liking to read, but a professor suggested a book for me for homework a few years ago, and it was an amazing book. Since then, I read for pleasure, and I hope my novel, Elle's Adventure in China, does the same for as many of you as possible. The same thing goes to writing. I did not like to write until I took a course where the professor and papers made me love to write. I hope every one of you find what makes you happy and dedicated to work. In May 2015, I started my other blog, Read and Write Here (R&WH), as a place to post other things that aren't China- and Chinese culture-related and not EACh. I share some of my memories and experiences from student teaching, irregular participation in Daily Prompts, etc. I'd like to have regular people and bloggers to write book reviews and post it on R&WH someday. Keep reading and writing!

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