Thai embassy warns against using brokers
The Thai Embassy in Beijing has warned parents and students wishing to study in China or apply for scholarships to avoid brokers.
The warning follows complaints by an increasing number of Thais who have been asked by brokers for a commission with the promise of finding a school or university but who have failed to do so.
In many cases, the ill-fated students travelled to China but had no place to study, or discovered that the brokers had not paid the tuition fees. Many of them ended up being fined and deported. In some cases, the brokers did not inform students in advance that if they were under 20 years of age, they needed to have a guardian in China. Such students travelled to China only to find that if they did not meet this condition, they would be sent back.
Many Thais sought help from brokers because they could not communicate in the local language and this opened an opportunity for the broker network.
The embassy also emphasised that Thais wanting to study in China must have the proper visa or they would be fined Bt2,500 per day and deported.
Scholarships are not provided through brokers, the embassy emphasised. There are two scholarship providers - the Chinese government's China Scholarship Council, and private companies. The Council provides scholarships to Thai students through the Office of the Higher Education Commission. Students wanting information about scholarships should directly contact the university where they want to study.
The Thai Embassy also suggested that students and those who plan to stay in China for a period of time take out health insurance, as medical expenses in China are relatively high. In Beijing, there are many hospitals and medical clinics that are popular among foreigners. These include Beijing United Family and Clinics, Hong Kong International Medical Clinics, IMC Beijing SOS International and Vista Clinic.