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Pathway programmes that prepare international students to study abroad in China

Are you planning to study abroad in China? The country has been bolstering its efforts to woo more international students to its shores, facilitated in part by the stellar performance of its universities in recent world university rankings. The recent Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021, for instance, lists Tsinghua University, Peking University and Fudan University in the top 100.

Academics aside, China is the world’s second largest economy, growing in its appeal for foreign investment and interest in doing business in the country. China is also attractive as a destination itself, from its modern cities to rural farmlands that offer visitors a unique look into the country’s development and natural offerings.

No doubt, studying in China will indubitably prove to be an experience of a lifetime, but have you ensured that you meet all the academic and language requirements to enrol in a Chinese university? Many universities offer pathway programmes to help students who don’t have the right qualifications for direct entry to a degree programme.

The importance of pathway programmes — which are also known as foundation programmes — cannot be understated as it will help international students enjoy a smoother transition into their university life abroad.

They can help students bolster their language and academic skills, in addition to help students ease more easily into a new culture that may likely differ greatly from where they come from.

Pathways programmes if you’re studying abroad in China


Pathway programmes help students build the skills, knowledge and qualifications to match the degree requirements, and many Chinese institutions offer related programmes to better prepare foreign students for their life on campus.

Mandarin is the national language of China; not all institutions offer English programmes at their universities. There are academic Chinese language pathway programmes to help foreign students ensure their language skills are up to scratch, either in preparation for their university or for life in China in general. 

Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), for instance, offers a Chinese Language Preparatory Program which is designed for students who would like to acquire or improve their Chinese language skills. Core modules include Academic Chinese, Practical Chinese, Chinese Culture and Business Electives.

The university also offers an International Foundation programme which prepares students who may not have the appropriate qualifications for direct join in an English instructed bachelor programme. Some core modules include Academic English, Business Mathematics, Business Studies, Chinese Language as well as elective courses.

Successful completion of a foundation programme can mean guaranteed university placement.

Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ (NUAA) Pre-University Foundation Program offers international students a pathway into NUAA’s undergraduate degree. The university notes that the programme is ideal for students who are waiting for their high school degree, those with more than two years gap after high school graduation and students who studied in a country with fewer than 13 years of school, and have not taken a High School Diploma or A-levels or the International Baccalaureate Diploma, to name a few.

Many Chinese universities offer their own versions of pathway programmes or foundation programmes, but ultimately, they aim to help students meet the requirements to continue with a bachelor’s or master’s programme. 

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