Studying in China has the potential to open doors across the world. The quality of education in international schools in China is typically very high. As long as you do your research, you’re almost guaranteed a good experience studying or sending children to international schools.
As a general rule, the best international schools in China are in major cities. We’ve handpicked 5 of the best cities for international students based on the quality of education and the standard of student life to be found there.
There’s no way Shanghai wasn’t going to be on this list. Shanghai is China’s largest city, with over 25 million people living here. The city boasts more than 30 universities, with many of them top-rated across the globe. International students typically love Shanghai for its worldly yet firmly Chinese feel in architecture and culture. It’s probably the most multicultural city on the mainland, where all kinds of foods and imported products can be found. Bottom line: Shanghai is one of the best destinations (if not the best) for international students in the world.
Beijing is China’s capital city. It’s rated as one of the safest cities globally as well as one of the most modern, clean, efficient, and busy. As the capital of the country and an ancient city (established over 3000 years ago!), Beijing boasts a rich history and culture and a fantastic educational system. Beijing is another Chinese city that is home to some of the top universities in the world. There are plenty of international schools in the city as well as international students studying at university. On average, the cost of living in Beijing is slightly cheaper than in Shanghai.
You can think of Shenzhen as China’s Silicon Valley. It’s home to over 14,000 high-tech companies, including factories that make over half the world’s supply of Apple devices. With well-educated graduates in high demand in Shenzhen, the city has become home to several universities with world-class facilities like Tsinghua University, Peking University, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The city has a good mix of foreigners but not as many as you would find in Shanghai or Beijing. International students can still find a good quality of education in Shenzhen, although there may not be as many choices, and it may be harder to find imported home comforts here.
Chengdu is fondly known for its more laidback lifestyle than found in the majority of Chinese cities. Saying that, it is still a modern Chinese metropolis with all the perks that go along with this, such as great leisure and entertainment infrastructure. It also has a great choice of outdoor activities, such as visiting several beautiful city parks or seeing China’s famous giant pandas.
Chengdu is also big on culture. It’s where Chinese tea culture originated, and the city in general prides itself on being a rich cultural hub. There are dozens of quality international schools in the city and a huge choice of universities too.
If the thought of a concrete and glass jungle has you worried, then Hangzhou could be the destination for you. Although still a big city, Hangzhou has the smallest population of all the cities on this list (10.36 million). It’s a surprisingly green city with a less intimidating skyline and downtown district than its alternatives.
Along with Beijing, Hangzhou is one of China’s seven ancient capitals and sees a large influx of tourists and long-term foreign nationals due to its cultural heritage, attractions, and infrastructure. International students rank it as one of the best Chinese cities to study. This city is a special mix of traditional and colorful city life with a good dose of nature. International schools in the city are highly esteemed. And it’s home to Zhejiang University, the country’s fourth-ranked university.