Montreal, London, HK are top foreign study destinations

Updated: 2013-07-16 07:13

By Yang Ziman (China Daily)

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"Real estate investment prospects are positive, with steady growth in prices along with a low-fee, low-taxation environment for foreign investors," according to the White Paper. "Canada welcomes graduates to stay on job-seeking for up to 3 years, though opportunities may be somewhat limited in Montreal due to a fairly high unemployment rate and only modest GDP growth."

Zhao Hong, chief of the colleges sector in Canada at Hezhong, a company which helps students apply for overseas universities, said that Canada is a popular destination for her customers, particularly for undergraduate programs.

"Canadian colleges are mostly publicly funded, which eases the financial burden. Moreover, some families are considering emigrating to Canada, or they have relatives in the country who could take care of their children while they go to college there," said Zhao.

American cities such as Boston, New York and Los Angles, even though they are home to a series of world-class universities, rank in the middle of the list due to high tuition fees and limited job opportunities.

Boston, for example, though it continues to hold great appeal despite the high cost of living for students, has scored only 45.6 in the Work Experience item due to the lack of a job-seeker visa program, which means that many students will take their newly gained skills overseas upon graduation.

Los Angeles' ranking was dragged down by its expensive undergraduate programs and the high cost of living. The city has some of the world's highest rents despite sharp falls in real estate prices since 2007.

Meanwhile, many Asian cities are catching up thanks to their comparatively high quality-cost ratios, with Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Taipei taking up spots in the top 30.

Hong Kong, the highest-ranking Asian city, has an investment environment very open to foreigners, a booming real estate sector, low unemployment and minimal taxation.

"(Hong Kong's) score is also boosted by its status as one of the safest cities in Asia, allowing students to make the most of the social and cultural experiences on offer," according to the White Paper.

Singapore is in the 12th position not only because of its prestigious universities but also due to its reputation as an open financial hub, "offering an open banking system and a generous tax environment, low unemployment rate, and one of the safest places in the world."

Beijing is in the 27th place thanks to its extremely high growth rate combined with low unemployment. However, there are certain policy restrictions on foreigners' access to the capital and real estate markets in the city.

Xue Ning, chief of the colleges sector in the United States at Hezhong, said that parents differ in their choices for education destinations.

"Those who have worked abroad are more open-minded. They often value a creative environment and do not want their children to have too much peer pressure," said Xue. "But for those who have never been abroad, they look at nothing but the ranking of the universities."

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