fredag 20. mai 2022

Is Studying Overseas Losing Its Allure for Chinese Students?

Nanjing, a city 300 kilometers away from Shanghai, has been only mildly affected by China’s recent Omicron outbreak: high schools resumed in-person classes on April 7, two days after the city reached zero COVID.

Two years ago, when the epidemic started in central China’s Hubei province, Nan Zhaojin was in the middle of her first year in the international department of a local school, where she took classes in English to prepare to apply for universities overseas. But as the virus spread around the world, her family urged her to rethink her plans.

“We’ve found a school for you to attend,” Nan was told by her grandparents. “You could try to keep up with the 10th graders there; if not, start high school afresh.” Older members of her family insisted that it would be safer to stay in the country.

It was a difficult decision. At 15, she had already made big commitments to going overseas. China’s college entrance exam, the gaokao, is one of the world’s most competitive, and high school students frequently spend six days a week for three years to prepare. Nan’s international program, taught mostly in English and targeting the American college admissions process, would make her ineligible to take the test, and inadequately prepared. Changing tracks would mean going back to the beginning of high school and starting again.