Pathway programmes that prepare international students to study abroad in China
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Pathway programmes that prepare international students to study abroad in China

Pathway programmes that prepare international students to study abroad in China

Are you planning to study abroad in China? The country has been bolstering its efforts to woo more international students to its shores, facilitated in part by the stellar performance of its universities in recent world university rankings. The recent Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, for instance, lists Tsinghua University, Peking University and Fudan University in the top 100.

Academics aside, China is the world’s second-largest economy, growing in its appeal for foreign investment and interest in doing business in the country. Plus, nothing beats travelling within China — from its modern cities to rural farmlands, visitors often come away wowed by the country’s breakneck development, natural wonders, and a culture unlike any other.

No doubt, studying in China will prove to be an experience of a lifetime, but have you ensured that you meet all the academic and language requirements to enrol in a Chinese university? Many universities offer pathway programmes to help students who don’t have the right qualifications for direct entry to a degree programme.

The importance of pathway programmes — which are also known as foundation programmes — cannot be understated as it will help international students enjoy a smoother transition into their university life abroad. They can help students bolster their language and academic skills, as well as ease more easily into a new culture that may likely differ greatly from where they come from.

Top pathway programmes to study in China


Pathway programmes help students build the skills, knowledge and qualifications to match the degree requirements, and many Chinese institutions offer related programmes to better prepare foreign students for higher education there. Mandarin is the national language of China; not all institutions offer English programmes at their universities. There are academic Chinese language pathway programmes to help foreign students ensure their language skills are up to scratch, either in preparation for their university or for life in China in general. 

Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), for instance, offers a Chinese Language Preparatory Program which is designed for students who would like to acquire or improve their Chinese language skills. Core modules include Academic Chinese, Practical Chinese, Chinese Culture and Business Electives.

The university also offers an International Foundation programme which prepares students who may not have the appropriate qualifications to join an English-medium bachelor’s programme. Some core modules include Academic English, Business Mathematics, Business Studies, Chinese Language as well as elective courses.

Successful completion of a foundation programme can lead to guaranteed university placement. Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ (NUAA) Pre-University Foundation Programme offers international students a pathway into an NUAA undergraduate programme. The university notes that the foundation programme is ideal for students who are waiting for their high school degree, those with more than two years gap after high school graduation, and those from a country with fewer than 13 years of school, and have not attained a high school diploma or taken the A Levels or International Baccalaureate exams.

Many Chinese universities offer their own versions of pathway programmes or foundation courses  aimed at helping students meet the requirements to continue with a bachelor’s or master’s programme — check them out and you could soon be on your way to this emerging superpower’s top-ranked universities. 

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