Testing time for study abroad (6)

10:53, July 07, 2011      

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<center class="t091105">(Source: China Daily)

It's expensive

This kind of training doesn't come cheaply.

Muazzem Hussain, 30, is a British teacher in the international school at a public high school in Changshu, Jiangsu province. He said all 24 of his students come from rich families that own private businesses. The cost of the full curriculum each year is 200,000 yuan (about $30,940), he said.

Like many schools, Hou's training school (the one high school student Yin attends) offers SAT classes of various lengths, from one week to one year. A weeklong intensive training session costs about 4,000 yuan (about $620), and a yearlong class costs almost 20,000 yuan (about $3,200).

In addition, Hou said, the cost of pursuing a bachelor's degree in the US far exceeds that of a master's. "More than 1 million yuan is the basic."

But Chinese parents see a payoff ahead.

Wang Zhijuan, Yin's mother, expects her daughter will have better job opportunities after she finishes university in the US. But she cares more about the independence Yin gained in just her first year of study abroad.

"She came back confident, with good manners, expressing herself gracefully in front of strangers, unlike other kids her age, who would normally shy behind their parents," she said. "I think the money, about $50,000 a year, is worth it."

Secondary profit

Not only education institutions have determined to seize the SAT training market. Travel agencies have seen opportunity there, too.

Gong Changwu, manager of BTG International Travel and Tours, said the company has begun cooperating with education agencies to send groups of students to Hong Kong since 2005.

"At that time, there were only about 80 students taking part in the SAT test in Hong Kong through our company," he said. "Now the number is over 600. And we are simply a very small share in the market."

The service costs 4,000 to 6,000 yuan, depending on accommodations. The trip usually lasts four days and three nights, leaving a full day before the test day.

Gong said do-it-yourself travel planning has cut into agency business, but SAT travelers are different. Parents call for complete relief of making travel arrangements and are willing to pay for it. Source: China Daily
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