Taipei, Melbourne, Tokyo share place in Sea Turtle Index

Staff writer, with CNA, LONDON

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 - Page 4

Taipei ranked alongside the Australian cities of Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, as well as Tokyo, to tie for 21st place on a list of cities offering the best overall return on investment for foreign undergraduate students, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) yesterday.

The “Sea Turtle Index” factors in the cost of education, the potential for returns on financial and real-estate investments, the availability of work experience opportunities for overseas graduates in the respective cities, as well as the depth of cultural experience they can offer.

Montreal came out on top among the 80 cities in the world that were surveyed, followed by London and Hong Kong, according to the results of the index.

The other cities in the top 20 were: Toronto, Cambridge, Oxford, Boston, Sydney, Zurich, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Vancouver, Lausanne, Seoul, Berlin, San Francisco and Edinburgh.

The index said that Hong Kong’s high overall ranking reflects its openness to investment, soaring real-estate returns and increasingly high-quality education.

In contrast, despite the many high-quality education institutions in the US, the high costs and limited work experience after graduation counted against some US cities, resulting in their lower rankings in the index, the EIU said.

The index is named “Sea Turtle” (hai guei, 海龜) because it is a homophone for the phrase “return from overseas” in Mandarin (hai guei pai, 海歸派) and is commonly used in the Chinese-speaking world.

The phrase refers to overseas students who return to their home countries after reaping the benefits of a top-rate global education and who are typically coveted by employers, the EIU said.

The EIU said the index was commissioned by China’s Bank of Communications, one of the top five Chinese commercial banks.