With Chinese universities now offering courses, scholarships, and other educational opportunities to Indian students, China is no longer just a popular destination for medicine, engineering, chemistry, and economics students. Indian students are becoming increasingly interested in the Chinese language and Chinese studies.
Consul General of China in Mumbai, Mr. Kong Xianhua, who was present at the 22nd Chinese Bridge- Chinese Proficiency Competition, which took place on June 23 at a city hotel, spoke to the Free Press Journal about the opportunities for Indian students, study visas, courses, direct flights, and much more. Excerpts from the interview:
Why should Indian students choose China?
With the cost of quality education in India increasing significantly year after year, neighbour China is being seen as a viable option by many. Chinese education is high quality and affordable. Now China has been the top 3 destination in the world and the No.1 destination in Asia for international students.
As compared to some countries in the West, not just China is more affordable for Indian students in terms of rent and other expenses, but Chinese universities are also as competitive as Western ones while being more economical.
Up until last year, Indian students were facing difficulty obtaining visas, have you addressed it?
The procedure for Indian and other international students to return to China and resume their studies was started in June of last year. Currently, there’s no visa obstacle for Indian students travelling back to China.
The number of visa applications for China has also increased. Since last June 2022, the Chinese embassy and consulates in India issued more than 10,000 student visas this year.
In order to facilitate Indian students going back to the classroom, we have established green channels for applicants seeking student visas so they could submit their applications without an appointment.
3. What other Majors do you believe Indian students pursue most frequently in China, excluding medical courses?
It is true that Indian students are particularly interested in the medical programmes offered in Chinese universities. In fact, many different courses, including engineering, chemistry, and economics, are also highly popular. However, the number of Indian students majoring in Chinese language and Chinese studies has increased.
4. Do you believe the Indo-China bilateral disputes would have an impact on Confucius Institutes in India?
Confucius Institutes serve as a bridge for people around the world to learn the Chinese language, understand China, and strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and other countries. They follow open and transparent operation and management models, and strictly abide by local laws and various rules and regulations of the universities.
Out of ideological bias and political expediency, the US interfered with the normal operations of Confucius Institutes. I hope that the Confucius Institute in India will not be affected by political reasons and continue to serve as a platform that brings Chinese culture to Indian students.
5. How is China planning to collaborate with Indian universities in the future?
Currently, we are working to encourage university partnerships and exchange programmes between Chinese and Indian institutions. Chinese universities are quite enthusiastic about working with their Indian counterparts.
Education collaboration is about the exchange of knowledge between young people, which can both lead to the progress of human society and strengthen mutual understanding. I believe there will be more of these kinds of projects launched soon.
6. Are direct passenger flights between India and China a possibility soon?
The flight disruption turned out to be a major problem for hundreds of Indian students as well as families of Indians working in China and businessmen to travel back and forth through Beijing recently lifted the visa ban after about three years.
Although, the Chinese government has been positive and has been working hard to resume direct flights. I hope that direct flights will be resumed soon.