Beijing's aim: More international students in Wudaokou

October 15, 2010 | Posted by Vicky

Foreign students in Beijing's Wudaokou area, above.

Recently, a report from China News indicates the government of Beijing is actively working to dramatically increase the number of foreign students in its Wudaokou area. Presently Beijing has a foreign student population of 71,000 and authorities aim to reach 200,000 in ten years. Called the "Draft Guidelines on Beijing's Long- and Mid-Term Education Reform and Development," the plan released Wednesday by government officials outlines ways to promote Mandarin education in Beijing and improve the quality of local schools.

Most foreign students choose Wudaokou as their favorite place to live and study in Beijing, because of its top notch universities and young and vibrant local culture, the report says.

Why Wudaokou? An account from a student

Each foreign student's experience may vary, but generally Wudaokou has been described as a "global village" with young people from around the world. Walking on the street there, you can see various interesting people: students living simple lives but infatuated with vendor’s stand selling old books, rock-singers shuttling around with their guitar, foreigners practicing their Chinese language while walking or riding a bus or cab, Japanese or Korean students (who are always ahead of the trend) dying their hair green or gray...here we have so many people with different backgrounds and cultures, and everyone is trying to overcome the language obstacle to communicate and enjoy their time living in China.

However foreign students are reported to like Wudaokou not only because of its lifestyle, but also for its unique cultural atmosphere. There are more than ten universities in Beijing's Wudaokou area, and the majority are China's top universities, including Beijing University, Qinghua University, Beijing Language and Culture University. Because of this, when Chinese and world leaders come to Beijing, they offer come to Wudaokou to speak.

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