China vs USA: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination?

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china vs usa

International students frequently opt for China and the USA as their study-abroad destinations because of their world-class universities, employment opportunities, and top-notch education. Students often face confusion while choosing between China and the USA to pursue education, as both countries are ideal destinations for studying abroad. If you are also confused between these two options, then keep reading this blog as we will remove all your doubts regarding China vs the USA. We will compare China and the US and finally conclude which nation is best for pursuing education. 

Parameters ChinaUSA
Area9.597 Million KM²9.834 Million KM²
CurrencyChinese Yuan (¥)United States Dollar ($)
CapitalBeijingWashington, D.C.
Total Higher Education Providers3,0124,313
Total Indian Students Studying23,000211,930 
Average Cost of Living¥4,047.3$2,500 – $3,500 Per Month
Average Cost of Studying¥18,249 – ¥72,996 Per Year$7,000 – $55,000 Per Year
Popular Job SectorsTechnology, Accounting and Finance, Teaching, Medicine, Marketing, and ManufacturingTech and IT, Energy, Marketing/Creative, Life sciences, Healthcare, Retail, E-commerce, and Business Services 
Permitted Part-Time Working Hours24 Hours Per Week Up To 20 Hours Per Week During School Sessions and Full Time During Holidays

Top-Ranked Universities: China vs USA

If you want a bright career, then choosing the right university becomes crucial. Studying in a good university allows you to acquire high-in-demand skills and offers placement security. The tables below show the top universities in China and the USA. Towards the end of this section, the country with the higher-ranked universities will be awarded +2 points. 

Universities in China

Here are some of the top universities in China:

Top Universities in ChinaQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024
Peking University1714
Tsinghua University2512
Zhejiang University4455
Fudan University5044
Shanghai Jiao Tong University5143
University of Science and Technology of China13757
Nanjing University14173
Wuhan University194164
Tongji University216185
Harbin Institute of Technology256168

Universities in the USA

Here are some of the most prestigious universities in the US:

Top Universities in the USQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1
Harvard University42
Stanford University53
University of California Berkeley (UCB)108
University of Chicago1113 
University of Pennsylvania1214
Cornell University1320 
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)156
Yale University169
Princeton University177
Columbia University2311
Johns Hopkins University2815
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)2921
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor3323
New York University (NYU)3824 

Which Country is Better?

The above tables show that the universities in the USA have a higher rank than the universities in China. Hence, we will award +2 points to the USA in this round of China vs USA.

china vs usa top universities

Also Read: Top Universities in China

Admission Requirements

Please ensure that you are aware of the admission criteria in both China and the USA before you make a choice between these two countries for studying. In this section, we will see the admission criteria for the universities in each country.

Admission Requirements For China

Here is a list of documents you need to submit to become eligible to take admission to a Chinese university: 

Admission Requirements For USA

Here are the eligibility requirements you need to meet to become eligible for admission to the universities in the USA: 

  • You need to have a minimum TOEFL score of 55 to 79, or equivalent for programs of bachelor’s level. 
  • You need to get a TOEFL score of 55 to 89 or the equivalent for programs of master’s level. 
  • Candidates need to have a GPA of 2.5 to 3.5 or more in their previous studies. 
  • They also need to have a minimum SAT score of 1500-1600, a PTE Academic score of 50-70, an ACT score of 25, an IELTS score of 6-6.5, and an iTEP score of 3.7.
  • The students must have finished high school or the equivalent. 
  • The applicants need to have a four-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent if they are applying for a master’s degree course. 
  • You also have to submit resumes, recommendations, an essay, and a copy of your current passport. 
  • Students also need to give proof of financial support, which is required for the I-20 Form

Which Country is Better?

The above comparison shows that the admission process for American universities is easier than for Chinese universities. As a result, the USA will receive +2 points in this round as well as China vs the USA. 

china vs usa easier admission requirements

Also Read: Scholarships in China

Tuition Fees

In this section, we will compare China and the USA in terms of educational expenses. The country with the lowest tuition cost will be awarded +2 points. 

Tuition Fees in China

As per the websites of the universities in China, the average annual tuition fees in the country are as follows: 

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate ¥15,000 to ¥ 60,000 
Postgraduate¥18,000 to ¥90,000 
Doctoral¥20,000 to ¥50,000 

Tuition Fees in the USA

This is what the average annual tuition fees in the USA look like according to the websites of American universities: 

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate $8,000 – $40,000
Postgraduate$10,000 – $60,000
Doctoral$28,000 – $55,000

Which Country is Better?

The tables above show that the cost of studying in China is lower than in the USA. Hence, we will grant +2 points to China in this round of China vs USA. 

china vs usa lower tuition fees

Also Read: ANSO Scholarship for International Students in China

Living Expenses

When an international student decides to study in a foreign country, one of his or her main worries is the cost of living. In this part, we will compare the cost of living in China with the United States to determine which country has a cheaper cost of living. 

Cost of Living in China

According to Numbeo, the living expenses in China are as follows:

Monthly Rent ¥2,191.31 – ¥7,900.84
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)¥33,742.16 – ¥58,250.61
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal ¥25
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly)¥200
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)¥584.12

Cost of Living in the USA

The cost of living in the USA according to Numbeo is shown in the table given below: 

Monthly Rent $1,382.53 – $3,055.29
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)$3,205.66 – $4,725.85 
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal $20
Average Transportation Cost$70
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)$306.27 Per Month

Which Country is Better?

As the above comparison shows, the overall cost of living in China is lower than the cost of living in the United States. As a result, China will receive +2 points in this section of our China vs USA contest. 

china vs usa cost of living

Also Read: Scholarships for MBBS in China

Work Permit and PR

Almost every international student hopes to find work and eventually seek permanent residency in the country where they are studying. In this part, we will compare the ease of obtaining a work visa and permanent residency in China vs USA. 

Work Permit in China

Here is how a work permit is given in China:

Eligibility Requirements for a Work Permit in China:

To apply for a work permit, you have to submit the following documents: 

  • A completed application form, 
  • A valid passport,
  • A passport-sized photograph, 
  • TEFL/TESOL certificate authenticated by the Chinese embassy or consulate (applicable only for teaching positions),
  • An approval document for commercial performances,
  • Registration Certificate of Resident Representative Offices of Enterprises from Foreign Countries,
  • Issued by the Chinese government authorities for Cultural Affairs,
  • Reference letter,
  • Medical examination report from an authorized hospital,
  • Clean criminal record,
  • Foreigners Work Permit notification letter issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the PRC.

To obtain the notification letter, your employer needs to submit the following documents to the Labour Bureau:

  •     Degree or diploma (legalised and authenticated).
  •     Your resume, 
  •     Proof of at least two years of work experience in the relevant field,
  •     Verification of education or professional qualifications,
  •     A copy of the job contract,
  •     Verification of employment history,
  •     Physical examination record, and
  •     Information concerning any accompanying members.

Steps to Apply for a Chinese Work Permit

Follow the steps given below to receive a Chinese Work Permit: 

Step 1: First of all, you need to secure a job in China.

Step 2: Gather all the mandatory documents.

Step 3: Now, apply for the Chinese work visa at your local visa office /Chinese embassy/consulate, and pay the required amount. 

Step 4: Finally, receive your work visa. 

The processing time for a China work visa is about 4 working days, depending on how many applications the embassy receives.

PR in China 

You can receive a permanent residency visa regardless of your position or employer if you make more than ¥600,000 per year, pay your income taxes on time (¥120,000 RMB or more per year), and have worked in Shanghai for more than four years with no criminal record in your home country.

Work Permit in the USA

Here is how a work permit is awarded in the US:

Eligibility for a Work Permit in the US

The following immigrants are qualified to receive a work permit in the United States:

  • DACA recipients,
  • K-1 Fiance Visa holders,
  • Immigrants with extraordinary abilities,
  • Spouses of some visa holders,
  • Asylees,
  • Immigrants with pending adjustment of status (green card) applications,
  • Certain exchange visitors,
  • Immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED),
  • F-1 students who are experiencing financial hardship who want to apply for optional practical training (OPT), and 
  • Approved temporary workers.

Apply for a Work Permit in the US

To apply for a work permit in the United States, follow the processes outlined below:

Step 1: Apply for an immigration status that allows you to work in the United States. 

Step 2: Subsequently, complete the USCIS Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization to apply for a work permit in the United States. 

Step 3: Gather and submit the required documents, which include a duplicate of your original Form I-94 travel record, a duplicate of your passport photo page, and two 2-inch-by-2-inch passport-style images of yourself. 

Step 4: Submit your application by paying the filing fee. The USCIS charges a fee of $410 for the majority of I-765 forms. 

Step 5: After you have completed Form I-765, gathered all supporting papers, and paid the application cost, submit your work permit application to USCIS.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) normally processes Form I-765 in 6.7 months. 

PR in the USA

Green Cards, commonly known as alien registration cards, have a 10-year validity period. If a person has been a lawful permanent resident for 5 years through employment or 3 years through marriage to a US citizen, that person can petition for citizenship.

Which Country is Better?

As you can see, obtaining a work permit and permanent residency in the USA is easier than in China. As a result, the USA will receive +2 points in this round of China vs USA.

china vs usa easier pr

Also Read: The Emile Boutmy Scholarship

Average Salaries: China vs USA

The average salary in China for a fresh graduate is ¥5,990 per month, according to the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. According to Indeed, the average yearly wage after graduation in the United States is $55,260. According to Indeed, the annual pay after completing postgraduate courses in the country is $85,502. 

Which Country is Better?

As apparent from the above comparison, the average salary in the USA is more than the average salary in China. Hence, we will award a score of +2 points to the USA in this section of China vs USA. 

china vs usa better salaries

Also Read: Study a Bachelor in Biology in the USA: A Guide

Other Major Elements

Let’s look at some additional essential factors to consider while deciding where to further your education. Here are a few of these crucial considerations:


China is located in the temperate climate zone. The majority of the country is cool, but the south is hot or humid, and the north is quite frigid. From 1951 to 2017, China had a 0.24°C increase in average global temperature per ten years, above the global rate. On the other hand, the climate of the United States varies greatly, from tropical conditions in South Florida and Hawaii to arctic and alpine conditions in Alaska and across the Rocky Mountains.


Travelling to China is generally secure, as long as you know where you’re going and stay cautious. China is visited by tourists from all over the world and poses no danger to anyone who understands local cultures and follows local rules. While the United States has a higher crime rate than China, the rate varies widely by location and city, and the country is generally extremely safe.

Culture for International Students

International students studying in China might have a one-of-a-kind and gratifying experience. It does, however, provide its own set of problems, particularly in terms of cultural adaption, language learning, and negotiating the practical aspects of living in China. On the other hand, culture shock, homesickness, academic pressures, financial hardship, and social isolation are some of the difficulties that students may endure when studying in the United States. Many universities and colleges, however, provide resources and support to help students overcome these obstacles and succeed.

Also Read: GRE and TOEFL Scores For Top US Universities


When we add up China’s and the United States’ total scores, we find that the USA has 8 points and China has 4 points. As a result, the USA comes out on top.

china vs usa better study-abroad destination

However, please keep in mind that both China and the United States have advantages and disadvantages. So, before applying to any of the country’s universities, carefully select a degree. Consider the educational facilities and financial aid available for the program of your choice to make a more informed decision. Having said that, both China and the United States are excellent study-abroad locations, offering equal chances to international students. 


Q1. Is China’s education system better than America’s?

Ans. Both countries have an excellent education system equipping students with the high-in-demand skills required for the real world. 

Q2. Is China a good destination for international students?

Ans. Students can demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of the Chinese market as well as the capacity to adapt to diverse cultures and situations by studying overseas. For international students, China is one of the most popular study-abroad locations.

Q3. Why USA is better than other countries for study?

Ans. The quality of education, plenty of chances, and the multicultural environment are just a few of the reasons why studying in the United States is a good decision. Every year, a large number of students from all around the world attend American institutions to pursue their desired courses.

Related Reads

China vs UK: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination?Scholarships in China for International Students
Study in China – The Most Influential Economy in the WorldAspirants Guide for Admission Process to Study in the USA
5 Best Cities To Study in China in 2024Things You Need to Know Before Studying in the USA in 2023

So, this was all about China vs USA. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad

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