The number of African university students in China has escalated over the past twenty years, surging from under 2,000 students in 2003 to almost 50,000 today. And this is because China is giving out generous scholarships to young African students.
China has leapfrogged the UK and US and is currently second only to France as a destination for African students. In Beijing, Shanghai and Fudan college campuses, you can feel the presence of a lot of African students.
This has raised questions on what happens to these students after graduation as it is relatively challenging to find a job and settle permanently in China.
Upon graduation, the Chinese strict visa policy require them to leave the country within a month of completing their studies, so majority go home while a few remain.
For young professionals, what is it like to make a transition from being just an African student to being a working class in China?
A growing number of African graduates are successfully landing jobs with Chinese companies or starting their own firms in China, allowing them to work and remain in the country.
For example, the Ghanian-native Zahra Baitie has lived, worked and studied in China for a number of years. Last year, she graduated from the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing with a Master’s of public policy and will soon begin working in China’s booming e-commerce industry. Zahra has also been active in the African student scene in China, organizing workshops and various events.
According to Zahra, there are definitely fields that makes you more employable in China. If you happen to be in sciences, you might relatively find jobs in tech companies and there are also opportunities in consulting companies.
By far, globalization is the motivation behind China’s hiring more international professionals. The Chinese economy is slowing down down and a lot of Chinese companies are expanding overseas. As a result of globalization, the trend for Africans is changing. There are a lot of tech companies seeking to recruit Africans to work with them in China or in other expanded firms in Africa.
These young professionals employed in China are going to be playing a massive role in Africa’s future and connect Africa to China. The social network and influential relationships acquired will facilitate business and political dealings in the future.