Many Chinese parents dream of sending their children abroad for university, and in some ways, I am thankful because, after all, this is the reason I'm able to live and teach in China. But I must say I do not understand their reasoning.
As a graduate of an American university and a parent, I question why anyone would rush to send their child to the US for college. Working in China has shown me that Chinese schools are better than American schools on so many levels. I think Chinese society recognizes this, yet they still work so hard to send their children to college abroad. Why?
I posed this question to some Chinese parents, and their answers all seem the same - vague, and slightly incorrect. Many of them claim their children can get a better education and a better job with an American degree.
I have a hard time believing that one cannot get a good education at a Chinese college. I also think the idea that attending college in the US guarantees their children a better future is slightly off. What I can guarantee is that studying in the US will take a massive amount of money. Colleges are often criticized for becoming too much like big business rather than institutions of higher learning. Many charge outrageous fees for simply being an international student.
Sometimes people see me with my children and ask why we are in China. I tell them I want my children to attend school in China.
Chinese students are far ahead of American students, and this is widely accepted to be true. I'm one of the rare few who will openly say I don't want my children to attend an American university because I believe their money can be better spent. Many American students spend upward of $20,000 a year to attend college in hopes of landing a job with a starting salary of $30,000 after graduation. It would take around three years to recoup what they spent. Some students will get paid more, but not all.
I think, in the future, we will start to see more people looking into universities in other countries to get more for their money. Parents and potential students need to weigh their options. I think the idea of the US being "the" place to attend university should be examined more closely.
This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.
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