“We’d love to study in China,” said Hoang Thi Lien, a Vietnamese student whose aspirations to study in China seemed to be realized with Peking University’s publicity event. Hoang is a sophomore in the Department of Oriental Studies at VNU’s Humanities and Social Sciences College.
Wang Fengjuan, Liu Jianmin
As China has intensified policies of opening up over the past several decades, foreign students have increasingly found opportunity to pursue degree programs in China. Tran Quoc Hung, a Vietnamese national and graduate student majoring in Solid Electron and Microelectronics at Peking University, is a prime example of the kinds of opportunities foreign students can find at major Chinese universities.
“I’ve studied in China for more than five years,” Tran said. “I’ve learned a lot, and I expect to see more Vietnamese students in China.”
Tran received an undergraduate degree in Precision Instruments at Beijing’s Qinghua University. Recently, he participated in an event with Peking University in Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, to introduce the Chinese education system to Vietnamese students. Within two days, the Peking University publicity team had set up faceto-face exchanges with students from three major educational institutions in Hanoi– the Hanoi Amsterdam High School, the Affiliated High School of Vietnam National University (VNU) Foreign Language College and the University of Humanities and Social Sciences. Efforts made by Chinese universities to educate and inform foreign high school students about educational opportunities in China are one of the key driving forces behind the increased influx in foreign students looking to China for educational opportunity.
‘We’d Love to Study in China’
“With this publicity event in Vietnam, we understand that although China and Vietnam are neighboring countries, Vietnamese students do not have a good understanding of the applications procedures for studying in major Chinese universities, as well as the Chinese way of life,” said Guan Haiting, the vice provost of Peking University.
In the future, Peking University plans to organize more such events in Vietnam, including presentations by experts and lectures on the majors that Vietnamese students are typically interested in.
“We’d love to study in China,” said Hoang Thi Lien, a Vietnamese student whose aspirations to study in China seemed to be realized with Peking University’s publicity event. Hoang is a sophomore in the Department of Oriental Studies at VNU’s Humanities and Social Sciences College. She said she intends to study tourism in China to prepare for a career in her hometown in Vietnam. Her university classmate Le Thi Trang intends to study economics in China before applying for jobs with Chinese-invested enterprises in Vietnam.
“Peking University is a high-end comprehensive university with a sophisticated educational program and abundant educational resources,” Tran said. “The academic atmosphere is fairly relaxed, where students are expected to try different areas to find their own points of interest for further study and research. Peking University is also sophisticated in student care. The Overseas Students Office provides us will all kinds of services and information, including tips on lectures, employment and scholarship. We are quite at home far from home.”
It is estimated that Peking University enrolls an average of 3,600 overseas students each year. There are various scholarships available to foreign students, including the Peking University Overseas Students Scholarship and the Confucius Institute Scholarship.
According to Chinese government officials, exchanges in education are a vital part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam’s development strategy of Two Corridors and One Economic Circle. If current trends continue, Vietnamese students will make up a large part of foreign students who choose to pursue university degrees in China each year. The total number of Vietnamese students in China has averaged around 13,000 during the past few years.
“I came to China to pursue my dreams,” Tran said. “I’ve enjoyed Chinese
movies and TV plays since childhood. I’ve been attracted by Chinese culture.”
Chinese and Vietnamese cultures are similar in many ways. Both champion the influence of Confucian thought in education, leading many students to find Chinese traditional culture very attractive. Vietnam’s social system, too, is very similar to that of China’s. China’s experience in its development can provide valuable lessons to those managing a growing Vietnamese economy.
“My study in China offered me the opportunity to personally experience the development of the Chinese economy and the Chinese society. Mobile payment platforms, for example, has made life much easier,” Tran said.
Because of intensified globalization during the past few decades and explosive growth in China, China has achieved full integration into the world’s economy. In recent years, China has become a place to see how the world economy is evolving.
Studying in China tends to give Vietnamese students an exciting new perspective on the world. Many students from Vietnam come to China to master a particular trade which is well developed in China but in its early stages of development back home. After graduation, they use their new skills–many of which are technology-based–at their new jobs.
“I chose to study Precision Instrument, Solid Electron and Micro-electronics for the purpose of gaining high-tech skills,” Tran said. His career plan is to work in Beijing for a few years after graduation to gain further experience before returning to his hometown.
As the Chinese economy has developed, it has turned into a place where students can learn about the world’s most advanced, cutting-edge industries. Apart from the strong reputation enjoyed by many Chinese universities, the prospect of being at the very center of an industry has been a factor in attracting ASEAN students to study in China. Vietnamese students typically do well studying Chinese language in addition to other areas of academia.
Inheritance of Strong Bilateral Friendship
In recent years, a number of Vietnamese Universities have set up Departments of Chinese Language and Literature. Some Vietnamese primary and secondary schools have begun offering Chinese language lessons, in addition to the numerous foreign language training centers teaching Chinese that have opened.
By offering attractive educational opportunities, China is set to play an important role in Vietnam’s economic development. Students like Tran will graduate from Chinese universities having gained new skills that will do much to increase economic output back home.