STORY BY SIYUAN LI
Racing with due dates, reviewing textbooks and preparing for quizzes are routine for most sophomore students.
But Jiayi Cen, an international student from China, also needs to organize the etiquette team, arrange the seats for audiences and manage the financial affairs for the 2015 Chinese Night at Drake, which are a few of the real reasons she chose to study in the United States.
Cen is one of a growing number of Chinese students who is studying in the U.S. Between 2012 and 2013, 235,597 Chinese students came to the U.S. for higher education.
Thirty one percent of international students in the U.S. are from China and their reasons for studying here varies.
“I came to the U.S. when I was in high school, ” Cen said. “I just thought I could have more opportunities here to participate in extracurricular activities.”
Cen also admitted that the fee she paid to a study abroad agency for getting into a U.S. high school is almost equal to one year of tuition at Drake. Weizhou Wang, a Chinese student studying at the University of California, Davis, spent a whole year preparing for the TOEFL and SAT exams in order to study in the U.S.
“At first, the reason I want to come here is because I didn’t get into my dream college in China. So I started to consider about the universities in the U.S. ” Wang said.
He took the TOEFL exams seven times and finally was accepted to UC Davis.
“Although it was my failure of the college entrance exam that brought me to the U.S., during my preparation for studying in the U.S. I found it was not that easy especially when I was trying to get into one of the ‘Top 50s,’” Wang said. “The high quality education is the real reason I want to study here.”
Cen added that the development of the economy in China, a more open-minded generation and the ambition to get a better education has brought more Chinese students to the U.S.
“But it can’t be ignored that there are some students who are not so good at studying, they come here just because their parents want them to,” Cen said.
“More and more Chinese students come to the U.S. But only a few of them can get into the ‘Top 50s,’ I think this means most of them didn’t care about the high quality education that much but just in order to avoid the stressful Chinese college entrance exam,” Wang said.
Graduate school in the U.S. is also attractive to many Chinese students, though many of them complain about the sky-high tuition.
Xiaoyan Liu, a student from the South China University of Technology, is preparing for graduate school in the U.S.
Her aunt has been working and living in the U.S. for several decades and studying in the U.S. was Liu’s dream.
She spent six months preparing for the TOEFL and GMAT exams.
“I’ve heard a lot about America since I was a little girl, and I was looking forward to this kind of study experience all the time,” Liu said.
“I’ve heard the price for graduate school there is probably the highest over the entire world. It could cost more than half of my parents’ savings to get my master’s degree in the U.S., but my parents and I all think it should be worthy.”
The U.S. government extended the visa for Chinese students after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November 2014, which made it more convenient for Chinese students to study in the U.S.
It might also galvanize the trend of studying in the U.S., although Chinese students find there’s more to gain by studying in the U.S. than academics.
“During my time studying here, I have joined several different student’s associations,” Cen said. “And I think through all the activities I really get a good progress in my practical ability.”