Commentary: International Students in China—What We Know, What We Don’t, and What Next

  • Peidong Yang
Part of the Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective book series (CEGP)


While China is often noted for being the world’s largest source of international students, it has in fact in recent years also emerged as one of the top destinations for mobile students globally (Hvistendahl, 2008). As the editors point out in the introduction to this volume, in 2015, China hosted close to 400,000 international students from more than 200 world countries. This represented a remarkable growth from a modest number of 14,000 foreign students in the country in 1992 (Kuroda, 2014, p. 448). Furthermore, the Chinese Ministry of Education (2010) has set the target of hosting up to 500,000 international students by the year 2020—a target that seems well on its way of being realized. Thus, there is now an increasing need for more research attention to be paid to international student flows into China. Despite evidence of emerging scholarly efforts at this—to which this volume represents the newest addition—there is still a dearth of research on China-bound student mobilities when compared with the Anglophone literature on international student mobility (ISM) in general which remains largely focused on ‘West’-bound forms of study abroad (see Brooks & Waters, 2011). In this brief commentary, thus, I hope to sketch out some general contours of this nascent research field of international students in China, focusing on what we already know, what we don’t know yet, and what could be on the research agenda next.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peidong Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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