Australia was the second most attractive country for studying abroad, behind only the US, in results from a recent survey of Chinese students and parents commissioned by Austrade China. The UK placed third.
The survey, conducted by consumer research advisory firm China Skinny, asked 400 Chinese students (planning to go abroad or currently abroad) and parents from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu about their international education preferences and decision-making influences.
Australia’s key advantages, such as high-quality education, high standard of living, safety, visa policies and job opportunities, resonated most with surveyed parents. Soft or indirect advantages such as our natural environment, acceptance of Chinese students and Australian lifestyle resonated most with surveyed students. This indicates students are viewing their overseas experience in holistic terms and are not solely focused on the educational aspect.
The two biggest disadvantages for Australia identified in the survey were the bilateral relationship and high-cost issues. The overall influences on a destination decision identified in the survey were the respective COVID situations and policies, geopolitical tensions, accessibility, and safety/gun violence.
The survey revealed a general lack of confidence in China’s domestic tertiary education, with factors cited including a lack of exposure to group work, creative learning and problem-solving – rendering graduates less competitive when moving into the global workforce. The survey also identified a broadly consistent view that studying abroad will make graduates more competitive in China’s graduate employment market.
While video content is increasingly popular for marketing in China, the survey respondents indicated they most sought clear and practical information about career paths and how to get there – including study options, university information and statistics, visa information, new academic developments, and educational resources.