Italy vs China: Which is a Better Study-Abroad Destination in 2024?

9 minute read

Italy and China are renowned for their top-ranked universities with a reputation for offering world-class education. So, it is unsurprising that international students frequently choose these countries as their study destinations. In case you are confused about which one of these study-abroad destinations you should choose, then you have landed on the right blog. Here, we will end the debate of Italy vs China by making a comparison between them. We will grant +2 points to the country every time it is found to be better in a particular aspect. Towards the end of this article, we will tally the total scores of both countries and the one with the highest score will be deemed a better study-abroad destination. 

Parameters ItalyChina
Area301,340 KM²9.597 Million KM²
CurrencyEuro (€)Chinese Yuan (¥)
Total Higher Education Providers973,012
Total Indian Students Studying5,89723,000
Average Cost of Living€1,600 Per Month¥4,047.3
Average Cost of Studying€400 to €4,000 Per Year¥18,249 – ¥72,996 Per Year
Popular Job SectorsMarketing, Healthcare, IT, Banking, engineering, and educationTechnology, Accountancy and Finance, Teaching, Medicine, Marketing, and Manufacturing
Permitted Part-Time Working Hours20 Hours24 Hours Per Week 

Also Read: Cost of Living in Italy

Top-Ranked Universities: Italy vs China

A university plays a key role in shaping the future of a student, and hence, you should be very careful while selecting a university. So, let’s compare Italy and China based on their universities. 

Universities in Italy

Here are some of the highest-ranked Italian universities: 

Top Universities in  ItalyQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024
Sapienza University of Rome=134 181
Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna=154=155
University of Padua219201–250
University of Milan=276351–400
University of Naples Federico II335351–400
University of Pisa=349401–500
University of Turin=364 401–500
University of Trento=429351–400
University of Florence=358351–400
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart=505301-350

Universities in China

Have a look at some of the most prestigious 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

Which Country is Better?

The tables above show that the universities in China are ranked higher in comparison to Italian universities. Hence, we will award +2 points to China in this round of Italy vs China. 

top-ranked universities

Admission Requirements: Italy vs China

You can gauge your chances of success in getting admission to your desired university by looking at its eligibility requirements. So, let’s compare Italy and China based on how simple their admission criteria are. 

Admission Requirements For Italy

The admission criteria for an Italy university are given below: 

  • Ensure that you are above the age of 17 years and have completed high school. 
  • Moreover, you must submit the documents listed below during your admission process:
  1. Proof of financial resources
  2. High school diploma or equivalent transcripts for undergraduate programs
  3. Language proficiency test scores (IELTS)
  4. Proof of admission to an Italian university
  5. A valid passport
  6. Bachelor’s degree or equivalent transcripts for graduate programs
  7. Statement of purpose
  8. Medical certificate and health insurance
  9. Letters of recommendation
  10. Curriculum vitae (CV)

Admission Requirements For China

You will be asked to provide the necessary documents listed below to be considered eligible for admission into Chinese universities: 

  • Personal statement
  • Physical examination form- medical results
  • A photo (passport size)
  • Official transcripts
  • 2 recommendation letters (should be written and signed by your teachers/professors and contain their contact details)
  • Bank statement
  • Graduation certificate (s)
  • Passport copy

Which Country is Better?

The above comparison shows that getting admission to universities in China is easier than in Italy. As a result, China will get +2 points in this round of Italy vs China. 

admission requirements

Tuition Fees: Italy vs China

The cost of education is a major factor that you need to consider when selecting a study destination. So, let’s look at the average tuition fees in Italy and China. 

Tuition Fees in Italy

The average annual tuition fees in the universities in Italy as per their websites are as follows

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate €900 – €4,000
Postgraduate€400 – €3,500

Tuition Fees in China

The table below shows the average tuition costs charged by Chinese universities according to their websites:

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

Which Country is Better?

The average tuition fees are lower in Italy than in China, and hence, we will give +2 points to Italy in this round of Italy vs China. 

tuition fees

Living Expenses: Italy vs China

Your decision to study in a country is hugely affected by how affordable its cost of living is. 

So, let’s compare Italy and China based on their cost of living.  

Cost of Living in Italy

The living costs in Italy as per Numbeo are given in the table below: 

Monthly Rent €581.36 to €1,438.80
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)€2,605.39 to €4,346.36
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal €15.00
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) for Transportation €35.00
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)€238.94

Cost of Living in China

The living costs in China as per Numbeo are given in the table below: 

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

Which Country is Better?

The living expenses are lower in China than in Italy. So, we will award +2 points to China in this round of Italy vs China. 

living expenses

Also Read: PhD in Italy

Work Permit and PR

This section is important for you if you plan to find employment and settle in the country you completed your graduation from. In this section, we will compare Italy and China based on how easily they grant a work permit and PR. 

Work Permit in Italy

This is how a work permit is given in Italy: 

Eligibility Requirements for a Work Permit in Italy:

When you apply for an Italian work permit, you must possess certain supporting documents that are necessary for an Italian visa application.

Here are some documents you have to submit during your application process: 

  1. Copy of your signed work contract,
  2. Passport with at least two blank pages, valid for at least three months after the duration of your visa,
  3. Completed Italian Long-Stay Visa Application form,
  4. The original and a copy of your Nulla Osta,
  5. Passport pictures are in line with Italy visa photo requirements,
  6. Proof of accommodation in Italy,
  7. Proof of sufficient financial means,
  8. Proof of paid visa fee, and
  9. Diplomas/other certificates.

Application Process for a Work Permit in Italy:

You have to first find employment in Italy, and after that, your employer will apply for a work permit at the immigration office in their respective province in Italy. Then, you have to submit the documents mentioned above to your employer. The Italian work permit processing time is usually about 30 days. 

PR in Italy

You can apply for permanent residency in Italy after you have legally lived there for five years. Also, you will be asked to present a clean criminal record, and you must have sufficient income to support yourself and any dependents you might have. 

Work Permit in China

Now, let’s discuss the process of receiving a work permit in China: 

Eligibility Criteria to Get a Work Permit in China

The applicants will be asked to submit the documents listed below to apply for a Chinese work permit: 

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

To receive a notification letter, your employer will need to submit the documents shown below to the Labour Bureau: 

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

Steps to Apply for a Chinese Work Permit

Have a look at the steps you must follow to be awarded a Chinese Work Permit:

Step 1: First of all, you should have gotten a job proposal in China. 

Step 2: After getting offered a job, gather and prepare all the mandatory documentation.

Step 3: Now, proceed by applying for a work visa at a Chinese embassy, and make the payment of the application fees. 

Step 4: Finally, you will be awarded your work visa after finishing the whole process of application. 

The work permit processing for China typically takes about 4 working days. 

PR in China

You can get permanent residency in China regardless of your employer or job post if you:

  • Ensure the timely payment of your income taxes (¥120,000 or over per year),
  • Earn a salary of more than ¥600,000 a year, and 
  • Have worked in Shanghai for over four years and don’t have a criminal record in your home country.

After you have applied for a permanent residency, you will have to wait about 15 working days for the application to be processed.

Which Country is Better?

The comparison shows that obtaining a work permit and PR in China is easier than in Italy. As a result, China will get +2 points in this round of Italy vs China. 

work permit and pr

Average Salaries: Italy vs China

According to Statista, the average annual salary in Italy is about €31,500. On the other hand, the typical monthly salary in China is ¥114,029 as per Statista. 

Which Country is Better?

The average salary in Italy is more than in China. So, we will give +2 points to Italy in this round of Italy vs China. 

average salaries

Other Major Elements

There are several other significant factors that we often don’t consider while choosing a study destination. So, let’s look at some other elements you should factor in before finalising your study-abroad destination. 


Italy experiences a Mediterranean climate, with cool, wet winters and hot, dry summers. In the case of China, the east, south and southwest are typically warm, humid and rainy. The north, on the other hand, is normally dry and windy.


The crime levels in Italy are usually low and serious crimes such as narcotics and murder are rare in the country. China is similarly safe for the most part and serious crimes against foreigners are rare in the nation. 

Culture for International Students

Italy boasts a unique culture and students can find it to be very different from what they are used to in their home country. Coming to China, the country provides international students with a very gratifying experience. If you culturally adapt and understand the local Chinese culture, you can have an even better student life experience in the country.

Also Read: China Medical University – Colleges, Courses, and More


After computing the total scores of Italy and China, we find that China has scored 8 points while Italy has got 4 points. So, China will be considered a better study-abroad destination as per the score it has received in this Italy vs China contest. However, both countries are amazing study destinations and pursuing your education in either of them will allow you to have a bright and secure career. At the end of the day, your choice depends on numerous factors like your budget and personal goals. 

study abroad showdown

Related Articles: 

UK vs Ireland: Which is a Better Study-Abroad Destination in 2024?France vs Canada: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination?
China vs UK: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination?China vs USA: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination?
China vs New Zealand: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination in 2024?New Zealand VS USA: Which is the Better Option for Studying Abroad?


What is the difference between Italy and China?

Italy is known to be a more individualistic society, while China has a more collectivist outlook on life. 

How big is Italy vs China?

Italy is around 32 times smaller than China.

Is Italy a rich or poor country?

Italy is a rich country, with the eighth-largest nominal GDP in the world, the third-largest central bank gold reserve, and the ninth-largest national wealth. 

So, this was all about Italy vs China. 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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