“Jyrgal” from Kyrgyzstan and I sat on our couch talking about why he was studying in China, the beauty of the Kyrgyz mountains—and the claims of Jesus. I could do this with no Kyrgyz visa, no extra language, and no flight to Bishkek—he came to me.
My friend “Lalit” from Indian Kashmir and I are reading a gospel together. “Tesfay” matured in his faith while in China and returned to a persecuted church in Eritrea. Portuguese-speaking students from Mozambique, Angola, and Brazil meet together to study the Bible. These are some of the almost half a million international students in China, arriving from every corner of the globe.
Hardly anyone knows that China is the third largest destination for international students worldwide, after the USA and the UK. With 442,733 international students in China during 2016, this number has grown rapidly over the past ten years, up 11.4% on 2015. Beijing attracted the most students with over 77,000 (17%), followed by Shanghai (14%) and Jiangsu Province (7%). With such high (and growing) numbers and such diversity, is China the “hub of hubs” for impacting the world through international students?