Did you know that education is a highly profitable export industry?
The U.S. Denver Post reported that education is the seventh largest export industry for the United States.
Normally in international trade, money flows into one country while products flow out. But in this case, the product never leaves the country. In this respect, China is actually running a huge deficit compared to the U.S. in terms of the exchange of international students, as the number of American students on exchange in China was only about 12,000 in 2018.
Statistics from Open Doors report shows that in the 2017-18 school year, more than 360,000 Chinese students studied in U.S. higher education institutions, the largest among all countries. These Chinese students contributed $12 billion to the U.S. economy. That is equivalent to the U.S. selling 3 billion Big Macs, 15 million iPhone Xs, 300,000 Ford Explorers, or 120 Boeing 737 aircrafts.
More importantly, these Chinese students helped create 150,000 American jobs.
For various reasons, some top-performing Chinese students have stayed in the U.S., causing a talent deficit for China.
What’s more, many countries agree that international students and scholars are one of their greatest foreign policy assets, helping them to stay in touch with future foreign leaders and business tycoons.
Cooperation between Chinese and American universities is in the interests of both countries, Rick Dunham, Co-director of the Global Business Journalism program at Tsinghua University told Beijing Review. “It’s in the interests of the world, whether it's economic or for social progress in the world, to have American and Chinese universities working together, exchanging ideas, teaching each other students about best practices,” he added.
Dunham said Americans have a lot to learn from China, while the Chinese have a lot to learn from America. “Being in a college environment is one of the best ways to have that exchange.”
On March 20, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the visiting President of Harvard University, Lawrence Bacow, in Beijing and expressed his hopes that China-U.S. cultural and people-to-people exchanges could produce more positive results. China was the first stop of Bacow’s first overseas visit since he became the president of the world renowned institution.
“Universities can be sources of strength through tough economic, political and social times,” said Bacow in his address to Peking University students in March. More American students are encouraged to study in China to become bridges connecting the two peoples.
Copyedited by Craig Crowther
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