Going abroad for study at younger age#Phoenix Weekly#-Sino-US

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Going abroad for study at younger age

During this summer break, many Chinese children have travelled abroad to take part in the summer camps in Europe and the United States, which is part of a growing trend of sending children abroad for study.

According to a report released by Chinese travel agency Ctrip in April, the number of overseas study trips made by Chinese students this year will reach about 1 million, a 50 percent increase in the number of overseas study trips compared to last year.

Leaving parents at a younger age, Chinese children study at a foreign kindergarten, primary school or high school with different cultural background and learn how to do things themselves.

In its 657th issue, Hong Kong-based Phoenix Weekly magazine ran a cover story on the trend of younger Chinese children studying abroad, the factor behind the trend, and the advantages and disadvantages.

Below is an excerpt of the article.

“I will not take the high school entrance examinations, and I will go abroad,” said a student from a middle school in Beijing. About half of students at the school did not take the exams since they chose to study abroad.

In order to let children enter at famous foreign universities, Chinese parents have spent a lot in recent years to send children to study abroad from high school, or even from primary school period.

A report from the Center for China and Globalization showed that the number of Chinese students accounted for a high proportion at foreign schools worldwide.

There were 33,275 Chinese students at high schools in the United States in 2016, contributing 41 percent of the foreign students at these schools, about 48 percent increase from the school year of 2012 and 2013, according to a report from the Institute of International Education.

Chinese students also contributed 55 percent of foreign students at high schools in Canada, 23 percent in Britain and 54 percent in Australia, the most foreign students in these countries.

Some education experts said that China’s increasing economic power, deepening globalization and the demands on international talents are behind the increasing number and proportion of Chinese overseas students.

“First, going abroad for study is a cultural phenomenon, not because of dissatisfaction with China’s education. It is because the various choices for education after having material conditions,” said Chen Zhiwen, editor-in-chief of China Education Online.

The education spending is the most important part of a family, and parents would like to provide children the best education, Chen said. There were similar trends of studying abroad at a low age in South Korea, Japan and Singapore when their economic development started to enter a rapid period.

Chen reminded that there was a wrong perception that students could easily become creative while just playing around in the US schools. He said students still have to work hard and follow regulations in schools in the Western countries.

These young overseas students would enjoy “freedom” for a short period, and they will realize that there is no absolute freedom. Some children might not get the key to the world.

Pros and cons

Starting from saying good-bye with parents at the airports, the young overseas students would start their independent life. They have to worry more about how to rent a house, how to choose lessons, how to spend holidays and how to use their money.

They might grow up quickly after randomly spending money, missing the last bus, dealing with the conflicts of different cultures. They have to make earlier own decisions for their life than their peers.

The language barrier is the most concerned for parents. But after “explosions” of writing assays, making representations and reading hundreds of pages of books in history and religions every week, students will be able to think of things in an English way, paving roads for future studies in universities.

Ding Wanning, a member of Independent Educational Consultants Association, would persuade Chinese parents to follow children’s choices, since the US education is featured of recognizing a people’s success is pluralistic. And more Chinese parents accept the view.

A Chinese boy, who studied in the US high school, likes cars very much, and he usually drove to dealers to take photos of different cars. His photos on social media collected more than 600,000 views. A counselor suggested him of entering a car engineering university.

These students in a foreign country have to start from zero in building a circle of friends, and when they take part in parties and social activities, they could not get help from their parents.

Chinese students can take part in the summer camps with children from US elite families and make friends with them.

Ding Wanning said an example was when some Chinese children took part in a summer camp, children from a famous opera producer from Chicago also took part in the camp. They took same lessons together and made friends.

Besides, talking with teachers and children at the summer camps, doing services at shops and restaurants, telling stories to elderly and contacting with the society, will help build their social responsibility.

Ding said students would achieve maturity of their mind in doing the services. “While doing services, students would prove what they study in schools and break the mind of they are God’s favored ones.”

Without accompanying by parents, these students could only get contacts with them through Wechat, videos and phone calls. Parents have little chance to negotiate with schools on the education.

In the free environment, students have to form their moral standards themselves in daily life.

Ling Jie, founder of a service center for overseas students, said that some students with moral demerits going abroad will have a new start in their life, but they are easy to get bad characteristics.

Favorite to military schools

Ling Jie’s son Lu Lingming studies at the Carson Long Military Institute in Pennsylvania, about 4 hours drive way from New York. The school is a small one, having 80 students in total and the faculty-student ratio is 7 to 1.

Ling said that she chose this school because the school is much suitable for Chinese students, sine its education mode is between the Chinese strict controlled education and the US “free” education.

For a spoiled only child from a Chinese family, they will first know that “to do what chief tell them to do.” It needs long time hard training and cooperation for the students to taking part in the formation exercises.

The militarized management will behave their performances and foster their spirits, said Ling.

Another key word for military school is leadership. A motto is that to be a good leader, one must first be a good obedient.

The military schools would not have corporal punishments, but US teachers have found that taking away students’ electronic products would make them more unpleasant.

Some military schools have PASS tickets to award those students having good performance, and they use the tickets to get use of mobile phones for some time, or getting home at the weekends.

Many Chinese entrepreneurs would like to send their children to US military schools, since they themselves used to serve in the Chinese military. They want their children to receive such military training but not serve in the army.

Invest foreign schools

In 2015, Chinese businessman Mo Tianquan, founder of Soufun, an online real estate website, spent money to acquire the New York Military Academy, a school that the US President Donald Trump ever studied in.

In May, Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Co said that its subsidiary has completed a non-binding intent agreement to purchase the Westminster Choir College on February 14. Students of the college took part in the movie Fantasia.

When Dalian-based Jiahui Education bought a school that went bankruptcy in 2012 at Chester town in New Hampshire, 50 miles away from Boston, the Boston Globe reported that as the first school run by a Chinese company, it represented a frontier of the future education industry, meeting Chinese demands to receive US high school education.

“A Chinese family’s world and an international school’s world have their own biology and philosophy,” said Ding Wanning. Teachers and parents have little possibility to work together to push ahead one thing.

Chinese students and parents might not know the meaning of studying abroad, and it is not just changing a school and a country for these young students to study. They have to adapt to new teachers, lessons and appraisal system, and values and behavior patterns in Western society.

Ding Wanning said that Chinese students should improve the self-advocacy that US students gained, an awareness and ability for gaining rights and interests, from telling the reason for a late schoolwork to gaining other opportunities.

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