News / USA

Chinese Students Flock to US High Schools in Soaring Numbers

FILE - 16-year-old Zhang Kaisheng smiles near Chinese and U.S. national flags at the lobby of Focus Education, a tutoring and consulting agency in Beijing.
FILE - 16-year-old Zhang Kaisheng smiles near Chinese and U.S. national flags at the lobby of Focus Education, a tutoring and consulting agency in Beijing.
Shannon Van Sant

As American high schools start their academic year this September, it is expected to be another record year for enrollments by Chinese students. China's booming middle class is growing wealthier, and many parents and students are taking extraordinary steps to get a unique educational experience - even if it means paying a hefty price.

Grace Liu, 17, grew up in Tianjin, a city of 14 million people on China’s east coast. This year she is a junior at a high school in America’s Deep South.

“The [population] here is very small. The people are really nice and we say ‘hi’ to each other even though we don’t know each other. The people here really help me a lot, and the environment here is really good,” said Liu.

Liu is enrolled at the Rabun Gap Nacoochee school in Rabun Gap, a small town in Georgia. She is one of more than 30,000 Chinese at American high schools, many of whom pay tuition of upwards of $50,000 to attend school in the United States. Anthony Sgro, head of the Rabun Gap School, said the number of applications from students in China is way up.

“We’ve always had international students.  The Chinese students didn’t start to arrive until the 1980s. They have come in significantly, significantly great numbers over the last 15 years,” said Sgro.

Last year American schools welcomed 50 times more Chinese students than they did just eight years ago.   

Many are from China’s growing middle class, who want well-rounded educations and an edge in competition for slots at America’s most prestigious universities.  Studying abroad can also mean an escape from the intense competition at schools in China, where rote memorization is common and students have less time for hobbies or sports.

The rapid growth of foreign students has led to schools in even small towns like Rabun feeling the impact. Sgro said the influx has met with some resistance in Rabun.

“That was the argument when the Chinese started coming in large numbers.  ‘Why are we educating our enemies?’ And my response to people around this is the world in which we grew up in is very different from the world these students are growing up in today. When our students open up The Wall Street Journal or watch CBS News at night, they’ll see a write-up about China, and they’ll see a write up about Shanghai, and they’ll know five kids from there. And it brings it home, it helps them understand that it is not but a plane flight away, and that they have to be engaged in what’s going on around them,” said Sgro.

Yvette Yang, 17, said she and her Chinese classmates are part of a new, very global, future.

“What I am thinking is that things have changed, and the world has changed.  People are looking forward, and they are not looking backwards,” said Liu.

The number of international students attending university in the United States is also reaching record numbers, with 800,000 foreign students studying at American colleges in 2012.

You May Like

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
September 07, 2014 9:19 PM
Bring money into this country and pay for overpriced tuition and help local economy, and local people hate you for that. Make sense, of course.

by: William li from: Canada
September 06, 2014 11:39 PM
Oversea Chinese are more partriotic than those stay in China.
Like me, I hated communist when I was in China but after I came to canada, and have stayed ten years, I realize the west is not as free as from west media propaganda. And west is hostile to China.
Now, I suggest my Chinese families and friend come to canada then they will love China more.
In Response

by: Wangchuk from: NY
September 08, 2014 10:18 AM
I'm not sure William Li's opinion is accurate. I am sure Chinese people love China but I'm not sure Chinese ex-pats love the CCP more than when they lived in China. I've met many Chinese ex-pats who hate the CCP and want democracy for China. Mr. Li has posted CCP propaganda on VOA before so it seems he's just a member of the 50 Cent Party. He talks about "Western propaganda" but says nothing about CCP propaganda so it's clear who is paying for his posts.
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
September 08, 2014 12:49 AM
I have read your comment interestingly. I agree west society is not always as free as eastern people think about. Yet this is my question that if you mean there is freedom in China at least as much as in America. Or freedom does not always bring about happiness?

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
September 06, 2014 3:25 PM
It is a condmenation of Chinese educational system. In China, even kindergarten teachers accept red packets from parents. Ridiculous. Corruption is rampant.

by: happy dave from: Shanghai
September 06, 2014 2:57 AM
As a recent college grad in 2010, I was unable to find work in the United States and went to China to teach English, where I have been teaching for 3 out of the past 4 years. It was through one of my students who said in class one day that, “Americans are not as free as they think they are;” that I was able to see America clearly for the first time. It hit me hard and I wanted to react to him by telling him of all the corruption, lack of democracy and human rights abuses in China where students even bribe their teachers to receive better treatment. Some teachers at my university drive cars that their American counter parts could not afford. When one considers corruption at this level, what can be left?

China is now challenging all its neighbors with borders disputes. Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea and Vietnam are in China’s crosshairs. And by extension, indirectly challenging the US. The now defunct Fisker Auto company was kept on life support by the Delaware tax payers, which is now owned by a Chinese company. It is time for our government, business leaders and ultimately the American people to step back and take an overall look at this “co-dependency.” This co-dependency just like other relationship co-dependencies will only get worst over time. This cold war(?) will be different from the last one, as it seems China makes everything we need. America is sleep walking into oblivion.
In Response

by: Anonymous
September 07, 2014 9:36 PM
It won't be easy to change their minds when you are an outsider. People are naturally defensive about their own situation when there is little they can do.

by: tom from: chicago
September 05, 2014 10:53 PM
The Chinese are invading Chicago.
Every country is invading America.

by: TonyManero from: Silicon Valley, CA
September 05, 2014 5:51 PM
In the 1980's, manufacturing was outsourced for low prices & higher profits (Barbie dolls cost $4 to make in China and sell for $20 at retail). Consumers became addicted to cheap prices & producers had higher margins from cheap manufacturers. Now, these foreign students pay "full price" and US schools are addicted to the money. Like US kids, many can handle the work, but some are there because they pay their way in and are academically unprepared. At colleges, some or many have inflated records to get in, and the colleges ignore it to keep the money coming in.

by: Kam from: DC
September 05, 2014 3:21 PM
China has a grand strategy to use as many of these students as possible as the eyes and ears for China. The more pro- Chinese nationals in the US, the more opportunities the Chinese gov will have to exploit this to their advantage.
In Response

by: tom from: US
September 05, 2014 7:55 PM
You should be the US. Education Ministry since you are very smart and can see the real problems. Hope the stupids principles of the US schools know your point of view.

by: Anonymous
September 05, 2014 7:06 AM
The World changed,Russia didn't.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs