Students flood in with job prospects

By Mo Jingxi ( China Daily )

Updated: 2013-10-04

Muhammad Taajuddin Muslim is getting closer to his dream of gaining a master's in education economy and management after a year of study at Zhejiang University of Technology in Hangzhou.

"I'm eager to obtain the academic degree because it will bring me more job opportunities back home," said the student, winner of a 2011 Chinese Government Scholarship.

Students flood in with job prospects

Indonesian teachers practice Chinese calligraphy at the Confucius Institute of Al-Azhar University in Jakarta.[JIANG FAN / XINHUA]

In recent years, a growing number of Indonesians have come to study in China because of the soaring demand for bilingual and high-tech talents in their country.

This year, about 300 Indonesians started courses at universities in Beijing, bringing the total number in the capital to 3,000.

Chinese language, international trade, international relations and high-tech majors are among the most popular for these students.

With greater economic and trade cooperation between the countries, more Chinese enterprises are investing in Indonesia and creating jobs for locals.

"Indonesia is really short of people who can use Chinese as a working language, but people in such occupations can earn more money than others," Muhammad said. "That's why I want to seize the opportunity."

Before arriving in China in 2011, Muhammad had worked for three years at the Chinese Cultural Exchange Center in Jakarta.

"My boss thought it would be better for me to improve my Chinese by studying in China, so he helped me apply for the scholarship that enabled me to be here," he said.

Chinese Indonesian Vivi Wiryadinata is a junior journalism student at Peking University, while her twin sister, Vina Wiryadinata, majors in environmental engineering at Tsinghua University.

The 20-year-old said she plans to find a job in the Chinese-language media in Indonesia after graduation.

"I interned at a Chinese newspaper in Indonesia, and I found only a few young people who knew both Chinese and journalism worked there," she said. "I think I can make some contribution with what I have learned here."

She added that science subjects at Beihang University and the China University of Petroleum have also become popular among Indonesian students, as her country has a huge demand for talents who have Chinese experience in economic development and advanced technologies.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government and universities are targeting Indonesian students with attractive programs.

Indonesian students can apply for the Chinese Government Scholarship, which covers tuition and accommodation fees, and pays an allowance.

"Both my sister and I won the 2011 scholarship," said Vivi Wiryadinata. "With the award, I do not need to pay tuition fees, which would have cost me 26,000 yuan ($4,250) a year, and I get free accommodation and a subsidy of 1,400 yuan a month."

Zhejiang University of Technology this year introduced a "Thousand Talents Plan" to provide training for 1,000 teachers and 1,000 students expected to arrive over the next five years.

"The training courses, including Chinese language, calligraphy, martial arts and computing, will be conducted in two to five weeks," said Cai Binbin, assistant to the president of Zhejiang University of Technology.

Indonesia is the sixth-largest source of foreign students in China. The number of Indonesian students in China is about 150,000, with an annual growth of more than 15 percent.

Luo Yongkun, a researcher of Southeast Asian studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the growth in Indonesian students is a sign of a warming China-Indonesia relationship.

"People to people exchanges play a vital role in enhancing mutual understanding and trust," he said. "It lays the groundwork for consolidating the China-Indonesia strategic partnership established in 2005."

Muhammad is considering opening up an agency with his friends to provide overseas study services for Indonesians.

"The demand is rising and I think it's an option for me after graduation," he said.


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