An investigation of the reasons why Chinese students choose colleges in Ireland as a place to study.
This study was devoted to find out what can attract the Chinese students to study in Ireland as an increasing number of Chinese students choose to study abroad. To find this out, it focused on current Chinese students in Ireland in terms of what were the reasons for their choice. This study used a combination of surveys and interviews to collect data on a research sample of 96 Chinese students in Athlone Institute of Technology. Through the study, it was found that Chinese students attended colleges in Ireland to enhance their chances of working within a global workforce, to get better jobs and attain higher social prestige. They also believed colleges in Ireland to have high quality degrees and that studying in Ireland enhanced their cultural competence. Chinese students used different sources for their information search which later determined their decision making. The leading source of information was the Education and Career Fairs in China, followed by parental and relatives influence, then friends and finally, the least source of information was the online information search and Athlone Institute of Technology’s website. These results implied that Irish colleges should try their best to deliver high quality education, maintain their social prestige in China and pay attention to participation in Education and Career Fairs in order to attract more Chinese students. There are other necessary practices for Irish colleges to do, which though not directly affecting students’ choices, can encourage students to choose them if they are done. First is to address any challenges for Chinese students. The obvious challenge is that some of the students noted that being in Chinese interaction groups limited their opportunities for interaction with other students from different countries. The students were more desired for interactions and relations with other international students from different nationalities than they were with the Irish and European students since the students interacted more with other Asian and international students, not just Chinese, than they did with the European students. So regarding this disadvantage, the practice this research suggested for Athlone Institute of Technology, is to form intercultural groups in class and include institutional support to Chinese students, such as having Chinese student involvement in the Student Union.
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