Monday 26 February 2007

China's "Brain Drain": Education as a gateway to the West

An interesting piece on the BBC website that interviews 4 different Chinese ex-pats.

China's lost talent overseas
A report by the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing suggests that China suffers from the world's most severe brain drain.

About two-thirds of Chinese who have studied abroad since the 1980s have chosen not to go back home, according to state media.

There is one example of a Chinese student who went to the UK for postgraduate study. Li Feng makes some excellent points - from an economics perspective it is all about supply and demand. For the UK, we are getting academically excellent students who are well motivated. In years to come informal networks between people will help the UK prosper in the globalised world.

We will post more on immigration and globalisation in the coming weeks.
I am from south-east China, not far from Shanghai. I came to the UK to do my Masters in 2004. After graduating a year later I got a job as a planning policy officer at a local district council.

I didn't leave China to find a better life abroad. To be honest, the life quality I had in China was much better than here. The reason for me to be here is to get knowledge and experience in a developed country.

Universities in China produce loads of graduates each year, the competition is very strong and it is very difficult to get a good job straight after university. You have to offer something more than the other graduates and it's all about wider experience.

China's growing integration with the rest of the world means that the need of multi-culturalism is more important than ever. Once equipped with experience and knowledge I plan to go back.

Many of those who started leaving from the 1980s until the late 1990s have chosen to stay abroad. The reason is that China used to be poor, whereas a foreign country could provide them with better career opportunities or at least a better life style.

Many people in China became rich in the last decade and unlike during previous decades, many can afford to go abroad now. Studying and working abroad is no longer just about fortune hunting, it's about life style.

If you read some reports on this, you will find that more and more overseas Chinese are continuously going back to contribute to the rapid economic development. China has never been so hungry for educated people and has started a movement to bring them back.

I think most of the Chinese people who live abroad would like to go back, at some point. The reason they keep on staying is perhaps of a more human nature - for fear of change, fear of losing what they've already got, fear of failure.

Life in the UK is very different from China. It's peaceful and there are fewer pressures. But there is a barrier - mostly because of cultural differences. It's difficult to make friends and belong to a community and I would find it difficult to make it a home.

Hat-tip: China's Brain Drain

No comments: