American School vs. Chinese School

1031 words | 4 page(s)

Native Chinese students are increasingly choosing to learn and study abroad, often deciding to relocate to the United States of America in order to further their education. The common belief among these individuals is that, as students, they will be able to learn a greater number of thing in America when compared to their home country of China during the course of their pursuit of a higher education. However, I take issue with this assumption. It is my belief that students can learn a great deal in China as well as America. Students should not be so eager to leave their home for an education in the United States since there are things which can be learned in China, as well as in America.

It is true that there is a great deal of information that one can garner from an education in the United States of America. For example, it is possible for Chinese students studying in the United States to learn a foreign language, specifically English. They are immersed in American culture full-time, constantly, and therefore these Chinese students are able to learn the native language of the people of the United States. This also allows the students to gain a more personal understanding of the American culture as it exists within the United States of America. Most of the removed Chinese students are primarily concerned with their education and, as one student currently enrolled in an American college notes, “the Americans, their education is very good” (Bartlett & Fischer, A1).

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Students who study in the United States of America are removed from their comfort zone, China, and put in a position where they are able to make friends with a diverse population at their American school. They are awarded the opportunity to live independently from their families and create their own lives, separate from the confining structure of the Chinese family unit which has a one-child policy currently in effect (Bartlett & Fischer, A1-A2). The Chinese students who are able to study in America are able to effectively and efficiently differentiate themselves from their Chinese counterparts. They often gain a more worldly outlook on life, schooling and responsibility.

However, while students from China are often academically prepared for studies in the United States, they are often socially unprepared to deal with the change in culture and way of life. That is, they do not have the knowledge or cultural perspective to understand exactly what is going on at US colleges and schools. The land is foreign and for students who have never travelled to the United States, it is quite likely that the initial experience will shock them. It can be very unnerving to travel from a land known for its discipline to a land known for the pursuit of one’s own individual dreams, where there is less of a focus on family success and more of a focus on individual success.

Being removed from one’s family and placed, alone, in an unfamiliar setting can be extremely challenging and difficult. Some students have even resorted to breaking academic policy and renting an off-campus apartment with other Chinese students in American colleges (Bartlett & Fischer, A3). This could actually result in the students being removed from the college that they are attending. In some cases, it is likely that these types of students would fare much better by remaining with their families in a culturally familiar environment. It can be imposing and in some cases threatening to be pushing one’s self so hard academically in an environment where the student feels trepidation.

American and Chinese cultures are radically different. Family structure is different, communication is different and lifestyles are different. When adapting to life in the States and trying to fit in with another culture, it is possible that Chinese students will intentionally or unintentionally forget aspects about their own culture. They may begin to adopt the attitudes or characteristics of their American counterparts and, in a way, this can change the core values of the individual.

It is important to understand that Chinese culture and the Chinese way of life is also a productive and formidable one. By attending school in China, students are privy to a comfortable life. They do not have to combat academics with an alien environment. Students who remain in China are able to enjoy a comfortable and familiar learning environment, which allows them additional time to focus on their studies, instead of devoting some time to understanding the culture of a strange environment and potentially suffering from culture shock. China is also known for its “educational intensity” and the country’s desire to inform their students and promote their education in every way possible (Kipnis, 480).

It is also important to note that students who study in China do not have to leave their families. They are free to remain at home with their family unit, which is extremely important in the Chinese culture. In almost all instances, it is expected that the child of a family will grow and succeed, then using their success to take care of their parents. It can be difficult for a Chinese student to take care of their parents to the extent expected of them when they are studying thousands of miles away, in the United States. By studying in China, they are afforded the opportunity of remaining physically close to their family members in case they are needed.

In conclusion, students are free to study in a variety of places around the world. Both the United States of America and China have benefits when it comes to the education of Chinese students. Depending on one’s perspective and preferences, students from China would benefit from a higher education in both the United States and China. Students are capable of enjoying opportunities in each location and it is possible to learn a great deal from either option presented to the students.

  • Bartlett, Tom, and Karen Fischer. “Big Influx of Chinese Students Proves a Tricky Fit for U.S. Colleges.” Chronicle of Higher Education 58.12 (2011): A1-A7. Print.
  • Kipsen, Andrew B.. “Governing educational desire: culture, politics, and schooling in China.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18.2 (2012): 479-480. Print.

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