Beijing aims to increase international student numbers

China’s capital city is looking to increase the number of international students choosing to study there by giving foreign students in the city more opportunities to work and even start businesses.

Under a series of new policies announced yesterday, from 1st March foreign students studying in Beijing can be given short-term internships in Zhongguancun, a science and technology area in the city’s Haidian district, while those who are studying at Beijing universities can take part-time jobs or become involved in entrepreneurship in the area.

The news has been warmly welcomed by those in charge of international student affairs in the country.

Li Yong, a director of the student affairs department at the School of International Education at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the China Daily that teachers at universities had been concerned about their international students’ opportunities for internships, jobs and entrepreneurship since late 2013.

“Now with the opening of Zhongguancun to international students, we don’t have to worry about the issue that much,” said Li.

Li’s words were echoed by Kwon Jae-young, director of a support centre for South Korean people who want to start businesses in China.

“It will provide more possibilities and opportunities for international students who want to find jobs or start businesses in China,” Jae-Young said.

In 2013, the British Council has launched a campaign to send 15,000 British students to China a year by 2016, up from around 3,500 a year. The council believes that placing more British students at Chinese universities and in internships with major Chinese companies would ultimately give Britain more of a foothold in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.