At an international cultural festival held in October at Inner Mongolia University in Hohhot, resident students from the United States talk with a Chinese visitor. （Photo provided to China Daily）
He wanted to know-should he stay or should he go?
That is, should he study in a Chinese or U.S. university? That's the question Wang Yi's parents encouraged him to contemplate during his early high school years.
He did research and took standardized tests. And he eventually opted to enroll in a stateside college in 2016.
"It would have been hard for me to get into top Chinese universities like Tsinghua or Peking," the 19-year-old Beijing native says.
"Studying abroad also presents better opportunities."
Fast forward to today-Wang is a sophomore leading a busy and independent academic life at the University of Washington in Seattle.
He takes classes and works on projects with a diverse student community.
Wang spends a lot of time in the library. He's rarely in bed before midnight.
"College life is supposed to be like this-demanding but fulfilling," he says.
Wang's engineer father inspired his interest in mathematics and physics. He plans to pursue aeronautics and astronautics.
China remains the largest source country for overseas students in the United States and Chinese account for nearly a third of international students there, according to the 2017 Open Doors report released in November by the Institute for International Education, a New York-based organization that focuses on international student-exchange programs.
The report also points out Chinese undergraduates outnumber Chinese graduate students in the US. The States offers few undergraduate scholarships for international students but comparatively more for graduate schools. But Chinese families can increasingly foot the bill for undergraduate education, too.