Italian Overview on 2nd Generation Chinese University Students born from Immigrants

Over the span of many months, the Italian Chinese Professional Network has collected 172 completed questionnaires from university students, born from Chinese immigrants, in Italy. The majority of these students has an Italian citizenship and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree or, in a few but growing number of cases, has already earned it and has started a professional career.

Let’s start by looking at graph 1 where it is reported the chart pie of the attended type of high schools. The data shows that the most attended types of high schools are the istituto tecnicocommerciale (39%) and the liceo scientifico (37%). The first one focuses on accounting and law studies; it prepares students to the understanding of the accounting principles and related areas of application such as finance and law. It is found that the majority of students that received this education will continue at the University following an economics’ track. On the other hand, the second type: liceo scientifico, gives solid mathematical and scientific basis. Its plan of studies comprehends mathematics, physics, chemistry and bio-sciences together with the study of Italian and Latin grammar and literature. At present, it is considered as the best type of high school in Italy as it provides the tools to choose from a wider range of majors at the University. Most of these students continue their path by studying mostly hard-science subjects such as engineering or also medicine and economics.

As predictable from the previous graph, the overview on the types of major at the University shows a large share of students in economics and engineering disciplines, followed by languages studies. The category other represents the long-tail of heterogeneous disciplines taken by a small number of people such as: biology, chemistry, bio-sciences, literature, etc. Students studying economics specialise in management, economics, finance, or social sciences. For engineers, their specialisations are more diverse as we report: mechanical engineering, management engineering, automation engineering, computer engineering and mathematical engineering. As for the remaining categories, they are more homogeneous in terms of majors.

Here follows another pie chart, with the most frequented Universities by Chinese students of second generation in Italy, graph 3. The leading university attended is Bocconi University (36%); this result can be correlated and partly overlaps the 53% of people studying economics in graph 2. In any case, an assumption that needs to be taken with care is that the our Italian Chinese Professional Network was born from students that attended Bocconi University, and thus the number of social ties can be over-indexed in the final result of the questionnaires. For proximity and social-ties factors it has been easier to collect questionnaires from students in Universities based in Milan. On the other hand, it is also true that Milan hosts some of the best University programs in Italy and therefore attracts much more talents than any other Italian city or region. Nonetheless, results were collected also from Universities located in the Central and Southern region; with the exceptions of cases of attended Universities based in London, United Kingdom and Switzerland. In the graph 4, a picture that shows the geographical concentration of attended Universities.

At last, but not least the Chinese students population is also interested in international experience during their studies. Out of the overall collected sample, 17% have studied abroad during their bachelor’s degree. The top options are Asia and United States, few of them decide to complete a study experience in another European country (graph 5). In Asia, the most relevant destination is China (41%) followed by Singapore (2%), Hong Kong and Taiwan. Here below the list of the main Universities attended, the majority of which by Bocconi University’ students:

To conclude, since not many students replied about their Master’s or PhD studies for reasons such as not having yet completed the bachelors or because they did not continue with their education: we believe that the gathered data are still insufficient to have a clear picture of the situation. Anyway, we are indeed at a turning point as a growing number of students is considering to pursue an advanced degree like a Master’s degree in Italy or abroad.

Data Source: 172 collected questionnaires, April 2018. Our estimated number of 2nd Generation Chinese University Students currently in Italy is between 400-500. Author: Matteo Hu

Download File