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In 2015 about 7.5 million Chinese graduated from higher education programs. In the same year more than 9.4 million high school students took the National Higher Education Entrance Examination (Gaokao). Millions struggle to get one of the limited places in Chinese universities and only a degree from the top ranking institutions is a guarantee of finding an adequate job after graduation.
In this environment, international experience is seen as one way to distinguish oneself from millions of other students and graduates. In order to escape the overcrowded Chinese system or in the search for excellence at an internationally renowned university almost 460,000 Chinese students went abroad in 2014.
These numbers will continue to increase over the coming ten years: Chinese students enrolled in postgraduate programmes in leading education nations like the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Japan, and Germany alone will rise from 227,000 to 338,000.
It is expected that there will be 111,000 more Chinese headed for postgraduate programmes abroad in 2024 compared to 2012.