Data shows more than 540,000 Chinese students studied overseas

Updated 2017-03-03 11:05:44 CGTN

Rising numbers of Chinese students studying overseas, nicknamed "sea turtles", are returning after graduating, according to a report released on Wednesday.

According to figures released by The Ministry of Education, in 2016, there are more than 540,000 Chinese studied overseas. The number of returnees was over 430,000 last year, up almost 160,000 from 2012.

The figure suggests that nearly 80 percent of students overseas went to an English-speaking country. The US, the UK, and Australia were the preferred destinations. Over 90 percent of students studying abroad had no financial support to cover their tuition fees.

However, the Ministry also says the number of foreign students studying in China continued to rise. Last year saw more than 440,000, making the country the most popular destination in Asia. More than 200,000 students from 64 countries along the Belt and Road Initiative were studying in China last year, up 13.6 percent from 2015.

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