Growing numbers or Japanese who study abroad see their future linked to a Chinese university. But US educators are fighting back, citing better schools and the ability to learn all-important English.
Peter Ford/The Christian Science Monitor
Beijing and Tokyo
"My teacher in high school told me China is developing so fast that it will overtake America, Europe, and Japan one day," she explains. "China and Japan are neighbors, and I think it is more important for me to study Chinese than English."
Ms. Sakane is emblematic of a trend worrying US educators. As the number of Japanese students at US universities drops year by year, the number coming to Beijing and other major Chinese cities is growing by leaps and bounds.
In 1994, 78 percent of Japanese choosing a foreign school went to a US college. By 2007, that percentage had dropped to 46 percent, according to Japanese government figures. The proportion of those heading for Chinese universities, meanwhile, climbed from 9 percent to 24 percent – more than 18,000 students.
This was still only half the number going to America that year. But since then, the flow across the Pacific has dried still further, according to the Institute of International Education, dwindling to fewer than 30,000 in 2009.
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