There is a clear difference between the U.S. and China when it comes to education, according to one of the world's most famous pianists - the amount of free time.
Lang Lang arrived in the U.S. in 1997 to attend the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, having previously studied in Beijing. He told CNBC Meets' Tania Bryer that it was a culture shock, especially the way students approached studying.
Describing his initial interactions with U.S. students, he said they would tell him, "Shall we take you out for party? We have a lot of clubs we can go. Of course, we can't buy drink but we can have some fun, some chill-out time."
Lang's reaction was: "And I thought, 'Oh wow, this is cool.' I mean, back in high school in Beijing we never had chill out time, you know, it's always working."
But in the U.S. Lang said things were different. "I kind of fell asleep in my class and nobody would know about it...The teacher's like, 'Let's watch this movie. American Pie.' So the whole afternoon we did nothing. We just watched movies. And I'm like, 'Wow, this is very relaxed being in an American school.' I said wow, this is really nice. I enjoyed it very much."
(Read more: China is obsessed with winning awards: Lang Lang)
According to the Institute of International Education (IEE), 235,597 Chinese students enrolled in U.S. colleges in the 2012-13 academic year, up from 194,029 in the previous year. Chinese students represent 28.7 percent of all international students enrolled in U.S. colleges.
"Chinese students and their parents are looking for high quality education, get the importance of international education, and it's making America the number one destination because we actually have the capacity to absorb international students,"said Allan Goodman, president and CEO of the IEE.
Chinese students are attracted to the U.S. despite the education on offer in high schools in their own country. The recent results of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) – which measures literacy of 15-year-old students in three subject areas – highlighted the gap in the academic performance among pupils in Eastern and Western nations.
(Read more: This country has the world's smartest students)