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Internet disruption threatens Chinese hopes of studying abroad

Internet disruption threatens Chinese hopes of studying abroad

For months, the 26-year-old Shanghai software engineer was agonizing over the quality of his English as he prepared application essays for a handful of MBA programs in the United States.
Now Chen Ke has an even bigger problem to deal with _ the Internet is down and his deadline to file those applications is fast approaching.
"I am really worried, some people say it will take a few days to fix the problem but some are saying it could be half a month," said Chen, who has until next Thursday for some applications and Jan. 10 for others.
All are meant to be filed through two Internet Web sites, Embark and Apply Yourself.
Chen is one of millions across Asia inconvenienced by the rupture of two undersea data transmission cables in Tuesday's earthquake in Taiwan. Because of the quake, Internet speeds remained slow _ and in some areas nonexistent _ in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Singapore and South Korea. It is expected to take weeks to fully repair the links.
Beijing's China Service Center for Scholarly Exchange, a company that helps prepare applications for students looking to study abroad, said that about 300 of its clients weren't able to file applications _ including some facing a Jan. 1 deadline.
Yi Yan, one of the company's consultants, said most couldn't get online at all while others were being stymied by snail-paced connections. He said that Friday, only one or two clients successfully processed their applications.
China had more than 61,000 students in American universities last year, more than any country except India.
The biggest problem was connections to U.S. sites but some European Web sites couldn't be accessed either. Domestic Chinese-language chat rooms, which were available, were buzzing with queries and advice for how to get around the problem.
In the "advanced education" chat room at Beijing's elite Tsinghua University, surfers were suggesting using proxy servers, or trying to get online using CDMA mobile phones, an alternate digital wireless technology.
Chen said if the Web was still down on Jan. 3, he was going to buy an adaptor for his laptop that he heard would let him access foreign web sites. Failing that, he would have to apply for an extension, if he could get access his Yahoo.com e-mail or get phone calls through to the application offices during the New Year holiday.
"I am thinking God will balance my bad luck right now with a good offer later," Chen said.


Updated : 2021-05-18 13:39 GMT+08:00