Based on a survey of 355 international students studying at seven universities in Chengdu, China, this article analyses the reasons for their choosing to study in China. The main methods employed are factor analysis and associated nonparametric tests. Results reveal that the quality of Chinese education and Chinese specialities are the most important reasons. In addition, personal referral sources, tuition and living costs, bilateral relations between China and home countries, and policy incentives at the destination, are also important. There are differences between students from developing and developed countries. Students from developing countries placed more emphasis on the quality of Chinese education, suggestions from relatives/friends, and geographic proximity. Those from developed countries referred more frequently to costs and policy incentives. Students who chose courses focusing on Chinese culture, society and language tended to be attracted by human interest, while students who chose courses on other subjects paid more attention to the quality and content of the teaching.
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