Around 2,800 undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduate students are awarded Chinese government scholarships every year
China is becoming a popular destination for Bangladeshi students pursuing higher education as expenses are far lower than in other countries.
In addition to tuition fees and living expenses being comparatively lower than in North America, Europe, and Australia, China also offers a significant number of fully funded scholarships for international students. Furthermore, there are ample job opportunities for graduates.
Bangladeshi students and alumni of universities in China recently spoke to Dhaka Tribune about the opportunities on offer in the country.
According to the Bangladesh China Youth Student Association (BCYSA), around 12,000 Bangladeshis are currently studying in China. The first three Bangladeshi students went to China on scholarships in 1976.
Around 2,800 undergraduates, graduates, and postgraduate students are awarded Chinese government scholarships every year. A significant number of students pursue higher studies with their own funds as well.
Maruf Hasan, PhD candidate at the College of Public Administration of Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) in Wuhan, China, told Dhaka Tribune that Chinese government scholarship programs are the most popular options among Bangladeshi students for studying in China.
He said the scholarships usually cover tuition fees, living arrangements and living expenses for the students.
China Scholarship Council (CSC), entrusted by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, is responsible for the enrolment and the administration of Chinese government scholarship programs.
Scholarship programs in China include the Belt and Road Scholarship, Silk Road Scholarship, Provincial Scholarship, and President Scholarship.
There are around 289 designated Chinese universities that offer a wide variety of academic programs in science, engineering, agriculture, medicine, economics, legal studies, management, education, history, literature, philosophy, and fine arts for scholarship recipients at all levels.
Maruf told Dhaka Tribune subjects related to science and technology are most in demand, followed by medicine.
He said recommended that applicants take the IELTS before applying for CSC scholarships as they are competitive and a good IELTS score will help applicants stand out.
Dr AAM Muzahid, lecturer at the department of electronic information engineering at Shanghai University of Engineering Science in China, said job opportunities for international students in China are plentiful.
He completed his MSE in information and communication engineering at Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunication, Chongqing, China, and his PhD in the same subject at Shanghai University in 2021. He found a job almost immediately.
He told Dhaka Tribune students in China usually get job offers a year before completing their degree, but it is not guaranteed to get a job offer in the final year.
International students are not allowed to work in China, however, they can undertake paid internships if their university permits.
“The salary for interns varies from company to company, but a student of science and technology can earn around 6,000 RMB with an internship,” he said.
Learning Mandarin could be helpful for prospective students, but it is not a requirement for many universities in China, said Dr Muzahid.
Tsinghua University, Peking University, Fudan University, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, University of Science and Technology of China, Nanjing University, Tongji University, Wuhan University, Harbin Institute of Technology are a some of top ranked universities in China as per the QS World University Rankings 2022.
Tuition fees depend on the subject and ranking of the universities.
Dr Muzahid told Dhaka Tribune it costs around 20,000 RMB per year for subjects related to science and technology.
Maruf Hasan said transport, house rent, and grocery costs vary from city to city. A student needs around 750-800 RMB for grocery shopping each month, and universities usually offer single or shared rooms in their dormitories for students.
Students can make living arrangements outside the campus as well.
The main means of transport are usually buses or subways, although ride-sharing services are also on offer through various apps.