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Exclusive: US and UK top the charts for Chinese parents

The US is the best-loved study abroad destination by Chinese parents, closely followed by the UK and then Australia, a new dataset from HSBC’s The Value of Education research revealed.

The report analysed parent's perceptions in the Asia Pacific region. Photo: Pixabay

The US was selected as the favourite destination by 27% of respondents, the UK by 20% and Australia by 15%

Released exclusively to The PIE, the new data zooms in on the Asia-Pacific region to understand how parents perceive various study destinations.

More than half of the 550 Chinese parents who responded to the survey said they would consider sending their child abroad to study. According to the global survey HSBC conducted in 2017, the percentage of parents thinking about an international education for their children was 42%.

“The UK maintains a leading reputation amongst parents for its welcoming of international students”

Exposure to new experiences, ideas & cultures, and gaining independence were rated by parents as the main reasons for choosing an international education for their children, but also mastering a foreign language and gaining an edge in the job market.

The US was selected as the favourite destination by 27% of respondents, the UK by 20% and Australia by 15%. But destinations were favoured for different pull-factors.

“There’s an increasing appetite for the universities on offer in the UK. Job prospects, quality of education and the opportunity to learn foreign language skills mean that parents and students in Mainland China increasingly consider the UK a great place to study,” James Hewitson, head of wealth & advice at HSBC said.

Incorporating responses from the whole Asia0-Pacific region, the report gives a further insight into the features parents value in a study abroad destination.

Click to enlarge table: via HSBC

Out of the top three, the UK topped the chart for quality of education, fared better than the US for perceived friendliness, but fared worse than both US and Australia for job prospects. While its score for job prospect was still higher than that of other destinations, the UK was rated as the most expensive country out of all the top-10 countries.

The UK maintains a leading reputation amongst parents for its welcoming of international students. While not the determining factor, job prospects rank highly in the UK, making it a much sought-after destination,” a spokesperson for HSBC told The PIE.

“The cost of living is a particular consideration for all highly-ranked education destinations and so parents looking to send their child overseas to study will need to carefully consider their financial options in order to support this move.”

According to an earlier HSBC report, international students experience a substantial funding gap between their spending and their family’s contribution. However, it’s all money well spent: about 81% of international students interviewed then said that university was worth the money, compared to 66% among their domestic counterparts.

The US fared better for Asia-Pacific parents on job prospects than the UK, but worse for perceived friendliness towards international students.

“We know that 85% of Chinese parents who are interested in a US education…are following the news out of the US”

Commenting on the findings, Intead CEO Ben Waxman said this is not surprising, based on a research Intead conducted with Vericant on Chinese parents’ perception of the US.

“Based on our 2018 research we know that 85% of Chinese parents who are interested in a US education for their child are following the news out of the US. It is not surprising to see HSBC’s data showing the US is perceived as the least welcoming country right now,” he said.

“Still, the US is ranked in the top 3 destination options more than any other country because of its brand strength in China.”

Australia fared higher than the US and the UK for jobs prospects, but it was behind Japan, Germany and Singapore in the top-10.

Parents in the Asia Pacific gave China the highest mean score for welcoming attitude towards international students, followed by Canada and Australia.

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