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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Student exchange gets friendlier

By Yan Shuang (Global Times)

08:33, January 12, 2012

Chinese and overseas students may share the same dorm and have the same school arrangements in the future, according to the municipal Education Commission yesterday, who issued a 10-year plan aiming to improve Beijing's international education and exchanges.

Foreign students of all ages will be encouraged to join their school's student organization, normally for Chinese students only, have similar class schedules and content, and share a dorm with Chinese classmates, the plan reveals.

"All universities in Beijing and several primary and middle schools participating in the pilot programs will start making adjustments to their policies toward foreign students," said the commission's media officer Zhao Guowei, explaining that no details or timetable for the plan is available to the public yet.

There were over 90,000 foreign students from more than 184 countries studying at 81 Beijing universities and 95 primary and middle schools in 2011. The number of overseas students in Beijing will reach 180,000 by 2020, according to the commission's statistics.

"Sharing a dorm sounds nice. It'll give Chinese and foreign students more opportunities to communicate so that we can understand each other and our culture better," said Yvonne Gao, an American student at Communication University of China (CUC).

Many foreign students are willing to make friends with Chinese, she said, but language will be a big problem, and there may be problems living together, with different living habits developed in different cultures.

"I'd love to have a foreign roommate, but I'm afraid living with someone from a religious country or who doesn't speak Chinese at all could be difficult," said Wang Longyang, a student at CUC.

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