I have worked in the study abroad industry here in Beijing for over a decade, both as an instructor and as an administrator. Recently, there has been a lot of soul-searching at study abroad centers around Beijing about why numbers at so many programs have fallen dramatically when compared to just a few years earlier.
Some of the reasons seem obvious. The 2008 Olympics generated a lot of buzz for China and Beijing and, for a few years, China was the place to be. Dozens of new programs opened in Beijing and around China by universities and independent study abroad providers in the United States eager to get in on the trend.
In November 2009, President Barack Obama announced the “100,000 Strong” initiative, a national effort designed to dramatically increase the number and diversify the composition of American students studying in China.
The number of US students studying in China peaked in the Academic Year 2011-2012. That year, there were 14,887 students from US-based colleges and universities studying in China, according to the Institute for International Education. But since 2012, those numbers have fallen 14 percent in just three years.