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The International Buddy Program for Chinese Students

Current estimates say that almost 32% of international students are Chinese. The number has increased steadily over the years and it is expected that more Chinese students will enroll in the coming years. Chinese students have different reason for studying. Regardless of the reasons, for many Chinese students in American universities, studying in the United States can be a blessing and a curse.

Freedom from Demanding Parents

It is a blessing in the sense that many Chinese students are finding ways to carve their own path and obtain freedom from their demanding parents. They want to make decisions on their own and live their own life which is not possible if they stay in China. If they stay in China, they are aware that their parents will be planning everything for them. They will not be allowed to take part in the decision making.

The decision to go to an American university gives them freedom. It also allows them to live as far away as possible from their demanding parents. It also allows them to live their own life and make decisions as adults. Far away from their parents, they can be independent.

Sacrifices of Living in Foreign Country

The decision to study in a foreign country, however, comes with great sacrifices. In many cases, the Chinese students fail to appreciate the gravity of these sacrifices until they have landed in American soil and actually studied in the college or university.

The greatest problem confronting Chinese students is the issue of integration and assimilation. Living in a foreign country can be stressful in the student’s mental and emotional health. Many say that the problem can be attributed to the language barrier. However, we stress that it is the totality of the living in a foreign environment with little or no support system that can cause stress and anxiety to the students.

They Chinese students are not comfortable socializing with the Americans. They have difficulty living and learning in the United States. Since they are outside of their comfort zones, the Chinese students prefer to isolate themselves for fear of embarrassing themselves.

Chinese students' decision to isolate themselves is a cause for the further separation between the local students and the Chinese students.  The local students interpret the action as a sign of disinterest or arrogance which creates negative stereotypes and attitudes towards the Chinese students.  On the other hand, the Chinese students feel that the lack of support from the university and the warmth from the domestic students are causing them to isolate themselves.

The International Buddy Program

Fortunately, there are various program established within the school campus seeking to help the Chinese students adjust to their new environment. In many universities, the Student Buddy Program allows the international student and the local student to form meaningful friendships. The friendship helps the international student to learn the English language faster, experience American culture and to be assimilated in the American way of life. At the same time, it allows local students to learn the Chinese culture which is essential in building global community.

The international buddy program exists in many universities. It is essential for the Chinese students to check out their own university and find out what programs are being offered by the university.

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