【留學馬拉松-留学梦的意识形态-05】 “我们不是外星人”:中国学生融入美国大学 续

在一起的一千零一夜 (XPLUQD3BXC邀请码减18)
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发表于:2015-05-08 11:00 [只看楼主] [划词开启]


Darren • 2 days ago
This is a real problem, and I feel for the Chinese students.
I recommend some of the other videos, because [E03], the one provided here, may turn you off. In particular, I thought it was ill-considered to make fun of America's monolingual culture in support of an otherwise valid point: Chinese students find it more natural to speak Mandarin among other Chinese.
BUT, I also think the [E03] video reveals a fundamental truth. Just as Chinese are primed to enter US universities to get good grades rather than earn English fluency, so too are they primed to enter US universities to earn a degree and return to China to pursue career success (or attain a more favorable hukou) rather than get an authentic American experience.
Those Chinese who really desire to get the authentic American experience should be encouraged, and in this regard, as an American, you will be able to pick up on the difference. All of the Chinese in these videos are working really hard to meet American college students half-way. That will not be true of all American-based Chinese in college.
Also, who cannot feel for the Chinese freshman who finds the American College party scene either confusing or inane. The Chinese would be pretty much right. Its not obvious that the American habit of self-destruction becomes a means to connect with others.
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Kingandrew Darren • 2 days ago
There's a sizable number of American students who find the college booze scene confusing and pointless, too.
Maybe they and the international students could connect and create their own social scene.
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Ashley Flinn Kingandrew • 11 hours ago
At the University of Kansas, my friend (who was head of the Japanese Student Association) and I frequently hosted dinner/movie parties for the international students. It provided them a very different American experience. They'd get to meet Americans who weren't into the party scene, but weren't just interested in Japan for the Anime/Otaku stuff. We'd cook American food or traditional Japanese dishes that they couldn't get here in the states. It was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.
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erictan Darren • a day ago
I'm pretty sure that Chinese who go to study at universities in the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are the same, in that they don't really integrate by speaking the local language and making lots of friends who come from diverse backgrounds. I'd say that their basic knowledge of the English language is nothing but a requirement for entering whatever university will accept them, and after that's taken care of (TOEFL and other exams), they will choose to concentrate on their major or specialized discipline, which will not very likely be English Literature... Many universities require that English courses be taken and research papers be written once or twice during their two or four years of study, and that requirement is probably the one thing they dread, so they cheat or get others to write said paper(s) for them.
I didn't care much for the partying when I attended university in the USA (in the early 90s), couldn't afford it anyway, but my fluency in English made it easier for me to be more socially active and to have friends from many nationalities, backgrounds and walks of life, and I did my best to enjoy this diversity unlike other Chinese students I knew... But it's also unreasonable to expect such people to do these things. They're basically paying quite a lot of money for their education, and not for socializing and so on.
By the way, one thing I never was able to get into was American-style football, and there were those Chinese students who wanted to partake of all things American, like Spring Break, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl, things they found "interesting", and I never understood their seemingly "forced" integration. I guess these arrived never intending to leave.
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tomfiore • 2 days ago
A relative of mine had a roommate from China her first year at college. My niece isn't a part of the drinking or hookup culture and she herself places a high value on studying and academic achievement. She is also a very friendly person and very approachable.
Her roommate came to the US to study with an expressed intention to learn to communicate in English as one of her goals. Unfortunately instead of trying to communicate the roommate had very few conversations with my niece and spent the time either with her head in a book or with other students from China. This was for a full year.
It isn't odd for roommates to have nothing in common, what is odd is that they don't develop some sort of bond over the school year. I don't know if this is the typical experience, but what seemed to me happened was that the roommate only felt comfortable in her alien group and stayed there.
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Paxmelanoleuca tomfiore • 2 days ago
My post-graduate cohort at a major university in the Southeastern United States was 13 Chinese scholars and me. I encountered similar dynamics. They would take all the same classes and spend all of their time interacting with each other (even speaking in nothing but Chinese while in the classroom and waiting for class to start). Outside of the classroom, it was similar, with many preferring to spend time eating only at a few local Chinese restaurants or at home and socializing only through the multiple Chinese student oriented groups on campus.
While on the one hand I can certainly commiserate with the difficulties of "finding a fit" in a host culture (I spent several years working and living in East Asia after undergrad), its odd how frequently the blame for the cultural separation is squared at the host culture, and not the visitors. Multiple students complained about stereotyping of Chinese students by Americans, but would avoid American students based on Chinese stereotypes of Americans. The end result was that many rarely, if ever, bothered to reach out to the non-Chinese community. Inclusion is a two-way street, and although there are certainly things that host universities can do to enable visiting Chinese scholars to make non-Chinese connections, it's inaccurate to pretend the failure is purely the fault of host institutions or American rejection of Chinese attempts to integrate.
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Flatley Paxmelanoleuca • 11 hours ago
I go to Madison, the school profiled in the article, and I can verify that many of these students will clique together in a way that guarantees a sort of desired alienation. An interesting dynamic at play is that many of the students have families who are either politically well-connected or otherwise wealthy, and it shows in an affected air of superiority. Couple this with the general notion that American students are inferior to all others, and you have a recipe for non-interaction between the two cultures.
On the other hand, exceptions do exist. I had the privilege of getting to know a recently-graduated Chinese PhD student in my research group very well, and he is someone who I hope to maintain connections with for a very long time. He was even nice enough to introduce me to the Chinese tea tradition, and gave me a tin of tea leaves from his home province when he left.
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erictan Paxmelanoleuca • a day ago
Agree completely. I went to the USA for university back in the early 90s and had a great time. I knew about life in the USA before going, and I chose to go there, so being there, there was no reason not to interact with locals and other students from other countries as well. Otherwise, why go there at all?
There are foreign universities (mostly Australian) here in Hong Kong that offer degree courses for locals, in Chinese, so they are able to obtain university degrees from accredited foreign (Australian) universities without ever learning a foreign language (English). I find it odd, but it works. It is a business, after all.
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CzChick23 tomfiore • 2 days ago
I had a Chinese roommate while I was studying in the UK. Her father sent her to the UK when she was 16 and ordered her to graduate from Cambridge. Her English was pretty poor, she was taking English and chemistry classes mostly during those 6 months. She was driven and studied a lot but didn't mind socializing either - movie nights with pop-corn, some art exhibitions...
And no, she would not make the first step...I had to suggest and invite but she was very happy to accept. Many women from this culture are extremely shy and also embarrassed by their strong accent. Sometimes we just need to reach out.
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RandolphOfRoanoke • 2 days ago
I came to America for college without any previous exposure to an English-speaking country. Admittedly, coming from Europe is much less of a cultural adjustment than coming from China, and there's also less of a temptation of sticking with your own because European countries have fewer students at American schools and typically don't form distinct social groups there.
That being said, the problem with students from large Asian countries, in particular India and China, integrating into campus life seems to have as much to do with them as it does with the Americans. Two anecdotes:
- I was randomly assigned to a quad room for my first year with three Indian students. It was separate rooms with a connected living room, so everyone would have a good level of privacy no matter what. The three Indian students regularly explained to me that theirs was an Indian-only room, and they went to the housing office repeatedly to find another room for me, eventually with success. One of them apologized privately, and I think sincerely, to me when his buddies weren't there, but behaved the same when they were.
- An American friend of mine learned Cantonese and had lived for some years in China. He wanted to join a Chinese student club for language practice and cultural immersion. At the first meeting, he was asked "Are you white?" in a tone that he interpreted as a clear signal of not being desired there. I don't even want to image what would happen if a typically white student club, say a frat or maybe a golf or sailing club, did the same with a non-white student wanting to join.
Obviously, these patterns by no means hold for all students from these countries. Many hang out with peers from outside their home culture, join students clubs, and some even pledge Greek organizations. But a substantial share of Chinese and Indian students plainly seems to have no desire for any contact with American students, doesn't get any spoken language practice outside of the classroom, and seems not to want any cultural enrichment from the experience other than the diploma and possibly a path to a Green Card.
As for the unusual dropout rate, I hate to say it, but the well-known prevalence of fraud with credentials in the countries in question might also have something to do with it. Some students from these countries arrive with such abysmal language proficiency that it's hard to believe that they properly earned their TOEFL and SAT scores.
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NonnerDoIt RandolphOfRoanoke • 2 days ago
I generally agree with your perspective, but I think your unpleasant experience with the Indians might be a little unusual. At least your experience was not mine. The Indians I knew did stick together somewhat, but individuals were open to communication and once you befriended one the group would warm up. In return I was sometimes used, willingly, as leverage into the American world. Language facility is probably a big part of it. India is pretty saturated with English - at least among the upper classes. Not so China.
Furthermore, my wife is at a major high tech company. A large percentage of the employees are Chinese. The majority of the Chinese hang around with the other Chinese only. They'll get along ok with their co-workers and may share lunch with them on the road, but there is almost zero socializing outside work with non-Chinese. There are lots of Indians too. While they do hang around each other quite a bit, the friendly non-Indian can sometimes get an invite to a Diwali celebration. More to the point, one of the best ways to get a job at this big company is for somebody already inside to refer you. It is well known that Chinese NEVER refer non-Chinese. Indians will mostly refere Indians too, but its not so uncommon for them to refer non-Indians.
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erictan NonnerDoIt • a day ago
See? That's why San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York had (and still have) Chinatowns in the mid-nineteenth century. As racist as having these communities appears to be, it's logical that they exist. Same thing with universities and Chinese students. Can't blame them for doing that, and can't blame others for disliking or criticizing them for doing it. Unfortunately, it does breed suspicion and contempt. Hm, how many are spying for China, and so on.
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RobertSF RandolphOfRoanoke • a day ago
It's only bigotry and xenophobia when we do it. When people from the Third World do it, it's "their culture" and we must accommodate it.
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matthewhubbard • a day ago
I work at several colleges in the San Francisco Bay Area and I see the problem from a different perspective. A lot of Chinese have a hard time understanding English and their problems are not with slang but with the structural differences between the languages, like plurals and verb tenses.
As someone who has tried to learn other languages (I can speak a pidgin version of Spanish, French and Italian, with Spanish being my strongest), I don't want to judge them. But I would NEVER go to a country where my language skills were sub-par and try to be a student at the college level. Even if China were the absolute pinnacle of my field (mathematics), I would not go there to learn, even if my Chinese skills were my best current second language. I know I'd be missing too much.
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MikeJake • 2 days ago
Just my personal perspective here, but at least with regards to east Asian students, I didn't experience any of the supposed diversity benefits from having them attend my university. They seemed to keep to small groups of compatriots, they didn't seem to socialize much outside of these small groups, and their grasp of English didn't seem strong. They may as well have been assigned to separate classrooms, as nonexistent as their participation was. All of this contributed to the pervasive suspicion that they were helping each other cheat on assignments.
Again, just my anecdote.


erictan MikeJake • a day ago
Nope. Not your fault. You're not a bigot. Chinese students are like that. I'm Chinese; I know this. And I wasn't your typical Chinese student (thank God). I would have met you and spoken to you.
I'm gonna use the R word, so don't freak out. Yes, it's a kind of racism too. Chinese, good and trustworthy; Caucasians, African-Americans and fratboys, no way.
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theAmericanist • a day ago
A few observations:
1) Pretty much all groups of foreigners will speak their native language to each other whenever they can in a foreign country. If anybody thinks this is a unique characteristic for Chinese students on American campuses, they need to hang out in more restaurant kitchens. Comprende?
2) To be precise, Chinese students ARE -- literally -- an "alien group", in the sense the word alien is used in the law: they are foreigners here, just as Americans are foreigners THERE. One significant conceit that Americans need to get over -- it is genuinely xenophobic -- is the idea that everybody in the world is really an American in values and principles, except Americans who recognize that's not true.
3) It is NOT true that Chinese students in the United States are an enormously diverse group. They are overwhelmingly Han, almost exclusively the privileged children of privileged parents (the grandchildren of party cadre who were lucky enough to prosper in the Deng transition to capitalist Communism) who did not get here by rocking the boat, and they are ALL the culled pick of the smartest, most academically competitive youth from a nation of 1.4 billion people. If you think that's a diverse group, you must be utterly astonished that NBA players are taller than most of us.
4) Speaking 普通话 is not the most important disconnection that typically exists between Chinese students in the US and Americans. Nor is it cheating.
What is arguably far more important, is that Mao largely succeeded in his half-century long purge, intended to create a new political culture in China which is entirely distinct from the civic ideal that Americans sometimes imagine is universal.
Generally speaking, an American has been brought up to recognize individual and collective contributions to the common good.
America has a characteristic dynamic between economics and civics -- somebody invents a better mousetrap, and they 'share' it by getting rich selling it. But if somebody has a better idea for governance, we would be appalled if it ONLY benefited that guy and his allies -- no matter how hard a small group had to work to make it happen, we'd think it was wrong to exclude people. That's not a contemporary Chinese political cultural trait.
I once explained Jonas Salk giving away polio vaccine to a group of Chinese students: they ALL thought he was a sucker.
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t_lhrh • a day ago
I studied in a Chinese university for a semester last year. Good to know that the Chinese I learned did not just fly the rusty old coop that is my brain. I was able to understand around 70% of the Chinese writing in the subtitles in their videos! (The fact that these phrases translated English speech helped, obviously.)
That being said, I noticed something curious in China that is reflected in these videos--how Chinese women are the ones much more willing to strike out and make friends with foreigners than Chinese men. Though I had a very shaky grasp of Mandarin (especially spoken Mandarin, which I still find incredibly difficult to speak or follow) I went well out of my way to pierce the foreign-friend bubble when I was in China--because, really, I didn't fly halfway around the world to end up talking all the time to a bunch of Americans, Canadians and Europeans. Curiously, the only people willing to take me up on my offer of friendship (and informal Chinese language lessons) were Chinese female students at the host university I was attending. Only one Chinese male student did this, and he did so half-heartedly.
Also, when I was doing my master's in an English-speaking country, there was this Chinese woman living in our little dorm hallway with a shared kitchen. One day, when we bumped into each other in the kitchen, I learned that she was having a hard time befriending people, so I invited her out to meet my friends. She very enthusiastically took up my offer. Later on she floated into a Chinese circle of friends (it was obvious that she still felt befuddled by Western customs and modes of socializing, with her broken English making her feel very self-conscious), but at least she was game to pierce her bubble. No Chinese man was ever that open to meeting new people, at least at the university where I completed my master's.
From these interactions and anecdotes, I concluded that Chinese men are far less likely to stick their necks out and get to know you as a foreigner, whereas Chinese women were for the most part enthused by the idea of making international friendships (with foreign men and women alike). Maybe Chinese men are socialized to like subject matter which leads to little or no interaction with foreigners whereas Chinese women go into subject matter--like foreign languages and literature--that necessitates flexible thinking and an international component. So I find it bemusing, and not at all surprising, that the foreign students who came up with these videos trying to analyze and partly fix the acculturation problems were Chinese women.
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blackylawless • 2 days ago
At places like Cal Tech, USC, UC Berkeley, MIT, UC Irvine, & UC San Diego, they (Chinese Students) definitely are not an alien group. It's everyone else that seems out of place.
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RandolphOfRoanoke Bluestocking • 2 days ago
Well, the Chinese students are seeking out American campus culture. If I were to apply to a school in China, I'd fully expect that I'd have to learn both the language and the culture to make the most of my experience there.
If someone comes here as a foreign student, I'd very much recommend football games, frat parties, and such. That doesn't mean you have to paint your face in school colors or get drunk beyond reason if that's not your cup of tea, but having seen what it's like does a lot more for understanding future American business partners than just taking an engineering course in America than one could just as well have taken in another country.
Are all elements of our campus culture totally healthy and constructive? Certainly not. Is it worthwhile to learn about them first-hand when one comes here as foreign student? Absolutely.
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SDtriton RandolphOfRoanoke • 2 days ago
"If someone comes here as a foreign student, I'd very much recommend football games, frat parties, and such."
Has it occur to you that this is something you enjoy, and that most people wouldn't enjoy them as much as you do?
I thought one of the benefits of being in an American campus is "each to their own". I don't share your interests and I don't find things that interest me in your culture, hence I move on.
I don't have to conform to your expectation of a perfect exchange student.
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rithipol KoeniginLuisevonPreussen • 2 days ago
Whoa, someone has a beef with the Chinese! China is an immensely large country, and Chinese students in the States come from diverse regional backgrounds and varying socioeconomic situations…and they come to study in the US for a multitude of different reasons. Perhaps before alleging that an entire country is doing one behavior, you may want to consider the fact that you're making sweeping generalizations about a very complex situation. Evidence of your xenophobia is quite obvious here.
…And I've also been a graduate student instructor at the University of Michigan for the last 6 years, and of course a college student in years prior, and I have to say that I've witnessed a very active culture of cheating, plagiarism, and general academic dishonesty among college students in the US! It's just not brought to the attention of the American public. So could you please stop blaming ethnic minorities for behaviors that significant parts of the US population already does itself?
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dagSeoul KoeniginLuisevonPreussen • 2 hours ago
LOL. White supremacist Trolls.
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Tigg SDtriton • 2 days ago
Do you think these students suddenly stop cheating when they reach US universities?
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SDtriton Tigg • 2 days ago
Do you think American students will stop cheating if there were no Chinese students?
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