Demand grows for UK summer programs

Updated: 2016-07-29 08:01

By Chen Yingqun(China Daily Europe)

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Chinese students can gain language skills, meaningful insights

Wang Haiyan has been busy all summer trying to find the right summer program in the UK for her son, a high school freshman.

"We're wanting to send him to attend university in the UK, so it's better if he can have a chance to experience the education and culture there first," says the Beijing mother. "It's also good timing because the value of the pound has fallen," she adds.

 Demand grows for UK summer programs

Students taking part in an overseas summer program organized by New Oriental visit the United Kingdom. Provided to China Daily

Overseas summer programs have seen tremendous growth in the past few years, as more Chinese parents are sending children abroad to study or simply broaden their horizons.

Wang Yin, marketing manager for New Oriental, a Beijing company that places Chinese students in overseas study programs, says its business is seeing steady growth.

And as the number of children heading to schools abroad has risen, so too has demand for short-term summer programs.

"One reason for those heading to Britain in the summer is the attractiveness of its culture," Wang says. "During summer programs there, students not only experience an English-speaking environment, but also the country's long history and cultural heritage.

"We think the trend will continue, and that the depreciation of the pound means more people will choose Britain in the future."

New Oriental provides eight standard summer packages in Britain, with most lasting two to four weeks. Prices range from 20,000 yuan ($3,000; 2,720 euros) to 40,000 yuan. Last year, about 5,000 students signed up for its summer programs.

Demand grows for UK summer programs

"It's popular for students at middle and primary school who want to experience a real school class alongside British students or live with local families," Wang says. "Some of the popular packages include visits to well-known universities and student leadership training.

"Summer programs are positioned as a kind of education that has the characteristics of tourism. It's not simply international travel," he adds. "It's life experience that can enrich a student's insight about the world, and this value is being recognized by more and more families."

He Chugang, general manager in the South China region for Amber Education, an overseas study consultancy, says the demand for summer programs in the UK has grown about 15 percent a year in recent times.

There is also a trend of people wanting tailor-made packages, as well as those designed for entire families or several families, so that they can experience the educational activities with their children.

The students also have varying demands, He says. For example, younger students want to spend half of the time learning English and the rest socializing and visiting scenic spots and museums.

Amber Education, which charges 30,000 to 60,000 yuan for programs lasting three to four weeks, also helps older students apply for summer programs at colleges and is a partner of more than 100 universities.

"People will ask for particular activities; some want a trip that is for learning music, some want one that focuses on performance, or art and design," He says.

"Britain has a natural advantage for English learning, and its education resources are of high quality and diverse," he says, adding that the depreciation of the pound could also boost demand.

(China Daily European Weekly 07/29/2016 page7)