U.S. colleges working to integrate growing number of Chinese students

Global Business

The number of Chinese students studying in the United States has risen rapidly in recent years, accounting for more than 30 percent of all international students at colleges and universities. The large numbers are raising new issues in the culture and management at American universities.

CCTV America’s Daniel Ryntjes reports from Washington D.C.

Leixin Zhu is a graduate student at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. She’s been studying in the U.S. for more than five years and completed her undergraduate degree here.

“When I first came to the women’s college which I attended in 2009, I didn’t see a lot of Chinese students on campus. All the American students were very curious, like ‘why do you come to the U.S.’ Nowadays, I guess they don’t ask such questions because they are used to, there are so many Chinese people around,” Zhu said.

Source: Open Doors via Statista.

In 2015, the U.S. hosted just under one million international students at colleges and universities, and of that total, more than 300,000 were from China, representing nearly a third of all foreign students, according to the nonprofit Institute of International Education.

Students from India were the next largest group at 130,000, or 11 percent of all international students, followed by South Korean students which made up 6.5 percent of all international students.

Source: Institute of International Education via Statista.

As a result of the influx of students from China, universities are getting more creative about how to help integrate Chinese students such as mixing up the makeup of residential dorms and making sure group assignments are more heterogenous, said Peggy Blumenthal, Senior Counselor to the President at the Institute of International Education

“I think the challenge has been very large numbers of students who then tend to huddle together a little bit more than if there were just a few on campus. And so the challenge really has been to make sure that they integrate with the rest of the campus rather than just stay among themselves,” Blumenthal added.

Students said it’s easy to stay within known boundaries.

“The thing happens to me that when I came here I feel less passionate about English. I used to love English so much. But the scariness, keep me away from it. And also here when I’m stuck with Chinese friends, I don’t use English that much. So I don’t make any progress,” Georgetown University graduate student Han Bao said.

But others students also said that they are working to broaden their social circles and that professors often encourage them to express their own perspectives.

“I believe it’s a good thing for more Chinese students to explore the world and I also think that Chinese students are actually changing the stereotypes now,” Georgetown University graduate student Yixuan Huang said. “What I observe is that we are changing stereotypes and we are socializing with people so I would think it’s a good thing that we have a larger Chinese student body here now.”

But despite any challenges, there are enormous benefits to U.S. universities. Chinese students who pay the full tuition help universities provide scholarships and continue to run their operations.


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