Millennials Worried About America’s Future, Harvard Says
And international students feel much the same way.
Harvard’s Institute of Politics (IOP) released a poll of 2,150 citizens of the United States who are 18- to 29-years-old. The biggest finding was that young Americans are 51 percent more fearful about the future of the country.
What is the source of this fear?
“Lack of faith in Washington to solve challenges of financial, personal, and national security,” the poll stated.
International students in the United States say they feel the anxiety.
“I think this election is really good for highlighting how, in a lot of ways, how pessimistic, disenfranchised, or disenchanted a lot of the American people are with the political system,” said Alaura Hulewicz, from the University of Alberta in Canada, after the final debate between candidates for U.S. president, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
That sentiment about America has grown beyond U.S. borders.
Jana Goyvaerts, from KA Keerbergen in Belgium, told Student Union after the second presidential debate that “especially for me a foreigner, it was weird for me to watch it [the debate] and think of it that this was the actual presidential debate leading up to the election of the President of the United States, which is one of the most important people of the world . . . and it’s crazy that Trump is a real candidate.”
Clara Nogueira, a student of Faculdade de Direito da UFBA in Brazil who is currently studying in the U.S., said she felt "horrified," when Trump said he would not accept the outcome of the election.
"He doesn't trust democratic institutions," Nogueira said.
Newly naturalized English and Ugandan-American citizen Amanda Lugg is a first-time voter, and she told Voice of America her feelings about the election, comparing it to the Brexit earlier this year.
“The disparity in this country between the haves and the have-nots has just grown wider and wider, and with that breeds, breeds so much animosity and fear and results in something like we’re seeing in, in the U.K. right now.”
There appears to be a silver lining, however, to the negativity and worry about what this election means for the nation.
“What we’ve seen among the most fearful of Americans, we see that by a margin of 2-1, they are more likely to vote in a general election, more likely to vote in a primary, and more likely to follow the news,” said John Della Volpe, polling director of the Harvard Institute of Politics.
Volpe said that Millennials “want to be united” and are willing to do their part if they are inspired and engaged.
International students saw some silver linings, too. Watch the video below to find out where they think America is going. And let us know what you think, too!
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Yvonne Shi, director of Offer Education Consulting in El Monte, California, said study tours offer children authentic American courses, the experience of living with American families or in school dormitories, a variety of extracurricular activities, English classes and visits to schools where they could enroll full time.
Shi told VOA Mandarin that this year, despite the simmering tension between Beijing and Washington, "the number of inquiries we got has increased exponentially compared with that during the pandemic."
She added, "We have also noticed that the age of the children studying abroad is getting younger. In the past, the main market for study tours was in high schools, and in recent years, it has gone into junior high schools and even elementary schools."
Shi and others who help Chinese parents to plan overseas study tours said most of the children are sent to study abroad so that they can experience the education methods and systems in the U.S. to broaden their horizons. Some parents hope the summer experience will serve as the first step to future full-time studies in the U.S.
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Faith Li is a mother from Hangzhou, in China’s Zhejiang Province. She decided to send her son, Caleb Lu, to an American high school after he participated in a summer program at San Gabriel Christian School in San Gabriel, California, in 2016.
Today, the school’s website offers information for international students who want to enroll fulltime with a tuition of $24,750 plus fees as, well as information about the 2024 summer program.
"I [was] really not interested in the education methods in China," Li told VOA Mandarin. "When my son was a child, he went to an elementary school with a good reputation. The class was overcrowded, with more than 40 students in one class, and we had to give the teachers red envelopes with money on various holidays.
"Sometimes, at parent-teacher meetings, the teachers were not direct with what they meant, and you would have to guess what they really wanted to say. … The school's education method was not diverse, just like cram-feeding. They only evaluate students with test scores," she said.
Now, Lu is enrolled at Pacific Union College, a private liberal arts college in Angwin, California. He’s pursuing a double major in pharmacology and business at the school, which is affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He wants to pursue a doctorate in pharmacology from nearby Loma Linda University, which is affiliated with the same Christian group.
Li said, "We made a plan for him to study in the U.S. in 2016. Because only private schools in the U.S. could issue F1 visas, we applied for a private high school."
After Pacific Union College accepted Lu, Li said she and her husband moved to the U.S., where the family attends church every week.
Lu said that the education methods and learning environments in the U.S. are very different from what he experienced in Hangzhou, where he attended primary school before coming to the United States to attend high school and college.
"In China, when teachers teach, there is only one correct answer, which is what the teachers tell you,” he told VOA Mandarin.
"In the U.S., we can have free discussions," he said. "Usually, my classmates and I will read articles together and have group discussions, and everyone will have the right to speak.
"Even when the teachers are teaching, we can ask questions, and the teachers encourage us to actively participate in class discussions to find answers," Lu said.
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