Why has China become an international student hub?

Borders & Belonging

Jan 24 2023 • 36 mins

For years, many students from China sought to further their studies in countries like the US or the UK. But in the past decade or so, China has itself become a hub for international students. In this episode, two leading researchers will shed light on this phenomenon, and help us understand how and why China has become such a popular destination for students globally.

Hear what it's like to be a foreign student in China from Aya, who fled the war in Syria with her family and sought refuge in China when she was only 13 years old. Then host Maggie Prezyna speaks with experts Obert Hodzi (University of Liverpool) and Ben Mulvey (University of Glasgow) about the advantages and challenges of studying in China.

Maggie is a researcher with the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Migration & Integration program at Toronto Metropolitan University and this new podcast is Borders & Belonging. Maggie will talk to leading experts from around the world and people with on-the-ground experience to explore the individual experiences of migrants: the difficult decisions and many challenges they face on their journeys.

She and her guests will also think through the global dimensions of migrants’ movement: the national policies, international agreements, trends of war, climate change, employment and more.

Borders & Belonging brings together hard evidence with stories of human experience to kindle new thinking in advocacy, policy and research.

Top researchers contribute articles that complement each podcast with a deeper dive into the themes discussed.

Borders & Belonging is a co-production between the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration & Integration at Toronto Metropolitan University and openDemocracy. The podcast was produced by LEAD Podcasting, Toronto, Ontario.

Show notes

Below, you will find links to all of the research referenced by our guests, as well as other resources you may find useful.

Donate or get involved!

China International Student Union, Twitter.


China gears up for return of international students’, by Mimi Leung, University World News (24 August 2022).

Coronavirus forces foreign students in China to choose: Stay or go’, by Alexandra Stevenson, The New York Times (12 February 2020).

The discourse of international student mobility between China and Africa’, by Benjamin Mulvey, Youtube (16 February 2021).

The end of China’s non-intervention policy in Africa’, with guest Obert Hodzi on the China in Africa Podcast (28 October 2018).

Increasing number of Africans preferring to study in China’, by Zou Shuo, China Daily (10 November 2021).

Meet the Author - Interview with Ben Mulvey’, on Podcasts by Network for Research into Chinese Education Mobilities (May 2020).