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Chinese going abroad. No obsession needed

Popularity 4Viewed 1790 times 2014-6-11 17:30 |Personal category:experience|System category:Life| ordinary, Chinese, English, foreign, purpose

Well, over the time that i've been in China i had met many Chinese teenagers through aquite ordinary thing for the foreign students here - teaching English. And i would like to talk here about the purpose of them doing that, to be exact 
about the Chinese high-/middle school students studying English in order to go to study in the U.S. 
Well, i was very far from being happy with how my students were justifying why they want to go to the U.S. so much. 

1. What do you actually want to see there? How do you imagine your life there?
Hmm.. the answer to the both questions hinges on american tv-shows and movies that many youngsters here in China like to watch from time to time. And i don't mean there is anything wrong about it, as i may confess i also watch some of them, and enjoy them a lot or enjoyed when the age was letting me.. The disturbing point is that many of mine chinese students have this "American Pie Dream", so basically they want to go there to see these real big parties, sexy girls, football players flooding one of the houses with themselves and alcohol.. Stop right there! It seems to be ridiculous, as why would i go this distance (learning English, applying for american school, going through the tests, etc.) just to visit a party? Another thing which is actually quite funny, my male students were asking what they should do to get an american girlfriend, as they heard it's very difficult.. and so they're concerned they might screw up. I hardly can comment upon it as my brain just can't digest this at all. Finally, when i'm asking them if they want to do some travelling in the U.S., they just stuck right there.. eeerr, "we didn't think 
about it". Certainly, besides these odd reasons they still want to get education abroad and obtain the ability of speaking English fluently. 
And i don't want to seem harsh or anything.. i just want them to get real, and even if you still want to experience those "american pie things" so much then at least put them under the category "would be cool if happens", certainly don't make it the goal of the trip.

2. Well, here we are!
Here goes my experience when i went to the U.S. as an exchange student, in a few words: it was quite enjoyable time (no sarcasm).. Though i was staying in a really small town, beside me there were other exchange students, most of them from Asian countries. I still remember that somehow the only Asian who was very open-minded and extremely noisy and energetic was a girl from Thailand. And she fit in all right. I must say, other girls and guys were not that happy, as they didn't really have any friends: themselves they were too shy to come up to the american students. And, oh well, those high-school students just could not be bothered to make friends with someone who leaves after a year and requires at least 2-4 months to get their English on a decent level. One girl from Taiwan had the worst luck ever. She got prisoned by her parents as they just had a baby, and basically invited the foreighn exchange student to be a 24/7 baby-sitter. Of course, we were convincing her to consult (well, complain to) her exchange programme supervisor, so she would change the family. After a few months she has finally done it and lived happily ever after.. in a new nice family. There were rumors after about some american families actually picking the asians as exchange students to come to babysit or even to do the housework.. 

Another thing is that right now one of my former students is in Canada already, and i've met his friend who by now has studied in one of the american universities for almost 2 years. Both have same story to tell.. Going their with the dreams of having a lot of friends (Canadians/Americans, of course), hanging out a lot, learn English and etc. In the end, they have a lot of friends (Chinese, of course), sit at home and study (my friend in Canada lives in a town not far from Vancouver and finds it very 
boring, he says: "Nothing to do here, there is even no KTVs" :-p), English is still improving, but not as fast as desirable for the lack of communicating with native speakers.. 

I honestly think well of my students, some of them became my friends, i just want them to be more realistic about other countries' cultures (i was talking about the U.S. as most of the students want to go presisely there, and my friend was really dissapointed when he had to go to Cananda) and pick up the idea from somewhere else.. not the movies.. or if the movies, than not all of them.. be critical.. And once you are there, go out and talk to people, it's a banal advice, but most of Chinese seem to forget it. 
Also remember that you are going to have a totally different lifestyle, and you'll have to put up with that there are no KTVs =)
If you got a chance to study abroad then make it the best experience after all.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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