BEIJING — Nearly 610,000 Chinese students attended schools and colleges overseas in 2017, an increase of 11.7 percent, said the Ministry of Education on March 30.
China remains the world’s largest supplier of international students, the ministry said in a news release.
A majority of the students went to European and North American countries. Countries included in the Belt and Road Initiative (B&R) became new destinations, with student numbers rising by 15.7 percent to 66,000 in 2017, the statement said.
At the same time, about 480,000 graduates returned to China, up 11.2 percent, including nearly 230,000 with master’s degrees or higher.
Since 1978, about 5.2 million Chinese have studied abroad and among those who graduated about 83.7 percent returned to China.
Meanwhile, a total of 490,000 foreigners from 204 countries and regions studied in China in 2017, the largest amount in Asia. Students from the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Pakistan were the most numerous, while the United States ranked fourth.
Students from B&R countries accounted for 64.9 percent of the total.
About 59,000 international students in China were supported by Chinese government scholarships.