They’ve become a boom industry—but are study abroad agencies really necessary?

Eleven years ago, Ms. Jia made up her mind that her 7-year-old daughter, Taotao, would go to university overseas—ideally in the US, but alternatively, Europe or Canada.

As the time draws near to put those plans into action, though, Jia has discovered that for most parents, the more important decision is not which country or major their children should pick, but whether an agency should shepherd them through the process.

For Chinese parents and students with little knowledge or experience overseas, study abroad agencies have long been an attractive solution, and services are becoming increasingly sophisticated. For the right price, they can oversee every step of the process beyond the college application itself, from helping students choose a major to arranging visas, finding student accommodation, and even career counseling.

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author Sun Jiahui (孙佳慧)

Sun Jiahui is a freelance writer and former editor at The World of Chinese. She writes about Chinese language, society and culture, and is especially passionate about sharing stories of China's ancient past with a wider audience. She has been writing for TWOC for over six years, and pens the Choice Chengyu column.

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