How to get a scholarship to study in China?
May 4, 2022
Number of foreign students studying in China in 2018, by selected country of origin

Nearly half a million students were studying in China pre Covid. Thats 1/1115th the world’s population! 60% of the international student population was from Asian nations that trade heavily and have strong socio-political relations with China, including South Korea which made a majority of the Asian population. African students also contributed largely to the community, with 16% of the China’s international students originating from the African continent.

Students come to China to study medicine and do their Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in a country that’s fast paced, the diamond of the orient and to witness first hand soaring GDP, high speed technology advances and network in a nation thats setting the trend for the future. However a majority of International students in China come to study Mandarin, the national language of 1.5 billion people. They come from all over to immerse themselves in the language, soak in her culture and learn from native Chinese teachers.

However studying in China is expensive, with tuition fees, living expenses thrown in, many students seek scholarships to study in China. In fact, the Chinese Government is so keen to get foreign students to come to China to learn that the money allocated for scholarships for foreign students more than doubled between 2012 and 2019 jumping from RMB 1.55 billion USD 2.25 million) to RMB 3.92 billion ( approx USD 6.2 million) in 2019.

Since Inchin Closer has been helping many pf our students gain a scholarship to study Mandarin in China, we thought we would provide a snapshot of the different kinds of scholarships available for China and how to go about thinking about where to apply.

First off, know that there are many scholarships available, state sponsored and private. The competition is high, so apply as soon as the dates are released and have done your homework beforehand.

By homework we mean, think about whether you would like to study in a large city like Beijing or Shanghai or if you would like to be in a smaller city like Hangzhou or Tianjin? Be aware that many smaller Chinese cities are also quite large compared to Indian standards. Decide where you would like to be also based on your personality, goal in life and predisposition. For example, if you are an outgoing person, like to party and also need to make work connections for a family business back home, then select to study in Shanghai. If you more inclined towards policy and international relations, select Beijing.

Next, know the different kinds of scholarships on offer:

  1. Chinese Government Scholarship (including Chinese Embassy + Confucius Institute)
  2. Chinese Local City Scholarships
  3. Private University Scholarships
  4. Chinese universities have scholarship information on their websites

Chinese Government Scholarship or CSC

An initiative of the Chinese Ministry of Education to promote education, cultural exchange, political cooperation and mutual understanding between other countries and China. There are many different websites with information about CSC scholarships, but the official website of the Chinese Scholarship Council is: https://www.chinesescholarshipcouncil.com CSC scholarships can be partially or full-funded and are available for different time lines ie 6 months or a year.

Chinese Government Scholarship programs sponsor undergraduates, postgraduates, general and senior scholars. CSC does not cover MBA programs or MBBS programs.

Additionally, also check with your local Chinese Embassy or Consulate for scholarships offered by them. Many such as the People’s Republic of China Consulate in Mumbai offer scholarships to deserving students and will often write recommendation letters to support your application.

Chinese Local City Scholarships

Many Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and larger provinces such as Zhejiang etc offer scholarships to attract foreign talent to their shores. These scholarships are usually given for one year and are a great stepping stone into uncovering the world of Chinese language.

Private University Scholarships

Distinguished alumni, big companies and charitable institutions like the British Council also offer scholarships to study in China. While these are much harder to find, private scholarships are usually awarded to international students who have an exemplary academic record.

Chinese universities

Once you have narrowed in on which city you would like to study in, look up the better known universities in the city / region. Most of these universities will have an English language page which will enumerate all the new courses they offer. Select the course you would like to enrol for a write directly to the university for a scholarship. Most large Chinese universities have a quota for students who genuinely want to enrol.

Lastly, if you are serious about applying for a Chinese scholarship to study in China, keep all your documents in order so you aren’t running around last minute. Because of the sheer number of students worldwide that apply, it is imperative that you have all your papers ready to submit. Most Chinese universities will ask for the same documents, these include copies of your – passport, resume / CV, your highest diploma, transcripts, study plan, completely filled in scholarship application form, a recommendation latter from the consulate or a Confucius Institute head in your country, a health form (easily obtained from a local hospital) and a non-criminal record.

Important notes:

Chinese Government scholarship’s usually offer tuition fees; free university dormitory or accommodation subsidy; a stipend for daily necessities including food. The stipend can vary based on the degree you are enrolling for, for undergraduates: expect RMB 2,500 per month; and for Master’s students/general scholars expect about RMB 3,000 per month. Additionally, medical insurance is also included for most students.

The HSK or Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì certificate from your home country is recommended for students applying for an HSK 3 and above level program so that the authorities know what your level is and why you are applying. It is also highly recommended if you are applying to study how to teach Mandarin as a foreign language. Applying for a scholarship to study HSK 2 or below is slightly more challenging due to the numbers of students applying. Regardless, it is most prudent to have completed HSK 1 and HSK 2 in your home country, give the exam and then apply for further studies in China. This not only ensures your commitment to the language, but also will help you make a more confident and informed decision.

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