Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mainland China Students Irk Some At American Universities

A recent blog article I read grabbed my attention today.  It highlighted the complaints many local American students have with foreign Chinese undergraduates* studying at U.S. universities.  Complaints such as:
  •  "They don't come here to learn. They just come here for the grades."
  •  "They are killing class discussion. They never contribute."
  •  "You will never see any of them at any school function. Never ever ever. Unless it can  help them with a grade."
  •  "They never make any effort to talk with anyone other than those who are also from China."
  •  "They cheat all the time. It is pretty unbelievable how often"
  •   "This is a great way to ruin relations between China and us."

    * The article noted these were complaints concerning students from Mainland China and not ethnic Chinese from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, or Singapore.

I was intrigued and immediately asked some of my Hong Kong Chinese peers about their thoughts on this.  One responded to me that the reason is that maybe ten years ago very few students from China went to the States for study and those that did were the best and brightest.  He mentioned there was often great sacrifice incurred for it to happen and the students made the most of their opportunities.

"Now", he explained, "there is so much 'new money' in China that all these corrupt businessmen and officials are sending their spoiled brat kids to the States not because they are the best educated, but because they can afford the big dollars." 

Essentially he was saying was that the best and the brightest are being replaced with a "less than stellar" representation of China.

That's a lot to digest but consider the following statistics:

Number of Chinese undergraduate students at American universities

 2006 - 2007 academic year - 9,955 students
 2011 - 2012 academic year- 56,976 students

Such an explosion of population lends credence to the notion that less strict criterea is being used.  In fact, an MSNBC article noted 90 % of  Mainland students submitted false recommendation letters on their college applications and 70% of them had a professional write their entrance exam. 

Worrying to say the least!
I can say my own experience with Mainland Chinese students in America has been limited but very positive.

In 2006 my family and I attended the "Mid-Autumn" Festival celebration at the University of Colorado hosted by the Chinese students association.  Tammy and I were missing Hong Kong and thought we would take advantage of a little piece of it on display 10 minutes from our Boulder home.  When the students found out our connection with China and the fact that Gabriel was born in Hong Kong they really went to great lengths to make us feel welcome and at home.  They were a wonderful group of young people who were a very positive representation of China.

Of course that was 2006...I wonder if it has changed any?

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