The Trump administration's hawkish policies toward China and its serious COVID-19 pandemic situation are pushing more students reconsider their studying plans in the US.
Many students are turning to the UK instead, Bruce Zhang, CEO of international career consulting agent Wall Street Tequila (WST Career), said. "Though there's no exact data, Chinese students attending IELTS related training courses have obvious increased recently," Zhang told the Global Times.
The numbers of Chinese students studying in the US and the UK in 2018-19 academic year were 369,548 and 120,385 respectively, according to data from the Institute of International Education and Universities UK.
Zhang explained universities of the same level in the UK and the US are similar in terms of their academic capabilities and prestige in China, making it relatively acceptable for Chinese candidates to make the shift.
The possible ban on China's popular mobile apps including WeChat and TikTok by the Trump administration is a concern for the Chinese students of US schools, Zhang said. This is nonetheless not a big problem to the students, as they can "use these apps with a VPN in the US," he said.
Besides, US' disappointing response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its unreasonable visa restrictions are pushing its international students away. Foreign enrollment at US universities could fall by 63-98 percent in the 2020-21 academic year compared with the 2018-19 level, estimated non-profit organization National Foundation for American Policy.
It is regrettable that the US higher education system, once able to consistently attract global students with its competitive teaching quality and academic atmosphere, is paying for the wrongdoings of the Trump administration, Zhang said.
"It's a pity for both the US universities and Chinese students," he said.