|2013 China Int'l Education Expo (People’s Daily Overseas Edition)|
"If all I wanted was a stable life or a decent job, I wouldn't need to go abroad to study at all," says a post-1990 overseas Chinese student. Now we are starting to ask ourselves what this new generation is looking for overseas; which of their intentions are different from previous generations?
Decades ago there was a generation of Chinese people who took overseas educational qualifications and found high-paying jobs on their return. They were considered very fortunate people, and dubbed "sea turtles"- returning home to a promising future. Today most overseas Chinese students were born post-1990 – they are more likely to be referred to as ‘seaweed’- left lying on the beach without much prospect of a good career on their return home. But even though they may not be guaranteed the best of careers in future, their curiosity has motivated them to see what is going on outside of China, to meet different people, and to experience a different life abroad.
To learn, to experience
In 2013, 95% of overseas Chinese students were born after 1990, according to client information from EIG group, one of China’s largest education agencies. "Post-1990 college students tend to go abroad," says Jin Ran, marketing director of EIG.
Jin Ran explains that these students come in two groups: one is a group who are going overseas in pursuit of higher education - through their educational qualifications they hope to land a promising job in the near future; the other is a group of students who want to enjoy a rich experience overseas and enjoy their new life abroad.
Shan Shan, A post-1990 Chinese student studying in the UK, thinks that studying overseas is a challenge for her. She says: "Part of me thinks that studying abroad means enjoying a new life in a strange environment, including a new campus and new society; the other part feels that studying abroad is about improving myself, my personality, and my character, and recognizing that overseas students are able to learn about a different culture, learn how to solve problems, how to be independent, how to treat other people, how to make friends and how to make the right choices in a new environment. The process of learning is a twin challenge for the student’s EQ and IQ."