British educational system has great reputation among Chinese students, however British universities shouldn’t be complacent, or just see Chinese students as revenue, a new report by Glasgow University’s Media Group for the British Council suggests. Chinese students are becoming more sophisticated in choosing schools, demanding better value for money, and increasingly take words and suggestion from their friends and relatives, which forms a kind of ‘unofficial league table’.

One of the findings of the report seems to confirm that cultural stereotyping is universal. The popularity of some classical British literature and TV series in China means some of the Chinese students have a Jane Austen theme park image of Britain when they arrive, before being stunned by the reality.

John Grace of the Guardian writes:

Imagine a chocolate-box Jane Austen theme-park Britain, where the poor are kept safely out of sight and the gentle-folk heave their bosoms with repressed emotion. Don’t laugh. That’s precisely the image that many Chinese students have of modern Britain, according to a new report carried out by Greg Philo, head of Glasgow University’s Media Group, for the British Council. Cultural stereotyping isn’t the preserve of Brits, and many Chinese students come to this country with their expectations framed in a 19th-century gentility.

No wonder, then, that so many students have their preconceptions shattered when they get here. Most say they feel unsafe out walking on the streets and are shocked at the behaviour of young people, whom they describe as drunk and out of control. More than half also felt they had suffered discrimination - including abuse and physical attacks. So why, even given all this, would most rather study over here than in a university back home?

Read the full report.