Thesis statement: Although the emergence of international students stands for the globalization education, because of young age, juniors’ studying abroad has many adverse effects on adaptability, culture and ideology, for instance, on both individuals and the whole society.
School of Foreign Languages, CWNU, Nanchong, China, 637002
Abstract: With globalization of education having providing many students with appropriate opportunities to study abroad, the topic on whether juniors should finish their high school study in our mother land is hit in some forums. The thesis mainly discusses the advantages of juniors’ study abroad for both individuals as well as the society. To make the thesis more believable, the author make some questionnaires for the personal factors, and some statistics on some institutions.
Key worlds: juniors’ study abroad, disadvantages, individual, society
“Let there be a small country with few peopleâ€¦Neighboring communities overlook one another and the crowing of cocks and barking of dogs can be heardâ€¦” described by Lao Tze, the famous ancient Chinese philosopher. From Lao Tze, the wheel of human history has moved forward into a totally new era in which globalization has become the prominent characteristic, permeating in nearly every field of all our social life. In the environment of globalization, communication technology and transportation technology have achieved rapid and explosive progress, which has facilitated people from different cultural background increasingly and inevitably coming into contact with each other for various reasons. The massive power of globalization has overwhelmed the field of education, so globalization of education gradually becomes a kind of necessity and possibility. It has developed to be a crucial phenomenon affecting everyone related to education including juniors from the worldwide sharing of higher educational approaches to the international exchange of educational resources. Recent years, studying abroad, has been one of the popular choices for the students to further their education in China. As the largest developing country in the world, China has achieved great progress and improvement in the past few years. As the data released by Chinese Ministry of Education and China Scholarship Council show, more and more juniors choose to study abroad annually since 2005. Besides, it is said as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, that according to the statistics, China has the largest number of international students in foreign countries with accounted for 14% of the global total. The statistics is published by UNESCO in Montreal, Canada, UNESCO Institute for Statistics, which released the 2006 Global Education Digest.
It is obvious that the annual total of Chinese juniors studying abroad has increased much in the past few years, from 1 million to about 1.5 million in 2007. It is predicted that the number will increase. Many students choose to study in more than 100 countries all over the world to pursue their foreign study. Among them, the U.K., the U.S., Australia, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, Japan etc for various reasons. All the data have been represented in our daily life. Some of our friends, classmates and relatives choosing study abroad have not been a dream, however, a reality occurring upon us very often. They have their own ideas for studying abroad, some for seeing the world, broadening their views, some for gaining new insights and outlook through new relationships, some for learning new languages or to improve the knowledge of the language you already speak, and others for shaping their own future. Does the hot phenomena only contain those positive and beneficial aspects?
Among them, they choose to study abroad just because of the social trend. As mentioned before, the number of students studying abroad becomes larger and larger. When some students couldn’t make decisions by themselves or they did not have a goal or motivation, they try to intimate what others do and choose to go abroad to follow the social trend. Besides, many students are afraid of the entrance examinations for key high school. According to the statistics released by Chinese National Radio (CNR), nearly 20 million candidates for study abroad and chose to leave the college entrance examination in 2010, in the same year, all the students studying abroad in the following high school education students accounted for 19.75%. The proportion is supposed to grow in few years. With the increasing number of studying abroad, those international students make this kind of decision for different reasons. Leaving behind the glory in the eyes of folks at home, those Chinese international students begin a completely new sojourning journey in another alien and unfamiliar culture.
So what is their new life in foreign countries? Are there any difficulties in their daily contacting with natives and locals? Have they experienced any emotional upheavals and psychological confusions? How do they deal with the influence of both cultures now? What is their ultimate motivation for choosing study abroad? All of the ordinary and superficial questions frequently appear and are often discussed during the communication with the author’s acquaintances studying abroad. It is hoped that the study can provide a platform fro all Chinese international students to share their common or different experiences. On the one hand, these valuable experiences can help those who are studying abroad learn from others’ strong points and offset ones’ own weakness to finally achieve the uttermost outcome of proper success and accomplishment. On the other hand the precedent experiences can help those who are now planning abroad study at home make a full and sound preparation for their future sojourning from both behavioral and psychological perspectives.
Although the emergence of international students stands for the globalization education, because of young age, juniors’ studying abroad has many adverse effects on adaptability, culture and ideology, for instance, on both individuals and the whole society. About studying abroad, there have been a number of reports, documents or novels which recorded the life and study of those international students, of which are the negative feedback. The writing of this thesis is an analysis of disadvantages of study abroad for Chinese junior students who are studying or had studied in different foreign countries.
First and foremost, study abroad for juniors has many disadvantages in each individual. Many students do not have a tangible motivation for studying abroad, just study abroad for the sake of study abroad. In their eyes, study abroad is a glorious road which leads to the land of success. They are wondering when they return from their study abroad experience, they will be considered an authority on the area they visited, and will probably be asked to help the CIE promote your program to others. Further more, they will be one of the elite members of their class who has been adventurous enough to go abroad. They will be able to serve as an ambassador for their school, their town, their state and their country, as they introduce others to a way of life they have never experienced. Some of them even obey their parents’ advice to go abroad or just interested in the target country but know little about the teaching style, lifestyle and culture well in their mind. And they ignore the most important significance of study abroad, to learn some useful and beneficial knowledge to serve our motherland and our parents and even ourselves, not just for the sake of doing that or living in others’ envious eyes.
Second, a number of Chinese international students can not get used to great shock of foreign culture so that they feel themselves like aliens. For those students, we can say they are not good at the intercultural adaptation. Adaptation, originally a biological concept, means an alteration or adjustment in structure or habits, often hereditary, by which a species or individual improves its condition in relationship to its environment. Adaptation enables lining organisms to cope with environmental stresses ad pressures. Adaptation manifests the natural human instinct to struggle for an internal equilibrium in the face of adversarial environmental conditions. All creatures on the earth, including our human beings, have the essential and innate capacity to adapt to the outer environment. The understanding of adaptation beyond the biological sense cannot be separated from culture, so culture adaptation is the extension of biological adaptation.
Apart from the culture difference, the education concept of China and western countries is quite different. Chinese students, even their parents, focus on utilitarian educational goal more than practical one, for example, diplomas of foreign countries are much more popular than domestic ones.
The emphasis of education in China is to struggle for the future, for a brighter future. Study is a kind of struggle of the youth. In ancient China, the so-called poet, “Within books, one can find houses of gold. Within books, one can find ladies as fair as jade”, has been spurring the students studying. While in recent years, China’s advocating Quality Education, it is quite hard for all the school to put quality education into practice. Consequently, Chinese students care more about the scores in exams but not the ability of doing things whenever in elementary school and middle school. Students, teachers and parents, they all use one standard to evaluate or define success and failure. Someone who didn’t enter key university is defined as loser, which shifts the stress of our education. Especially in urban area, most families has only one child and no parent do not expect their children could be elites. It is the pattern of the education in China that decides the way of thoughts of the students. Diploma is everything. On the contrary, when students are in foreign countries, especially in western counties, they have to learn from what they did or what they experienced. Nobody cares about the score as much. Sometimes, they have to work with others to figure out a project. As for those students, they only learn something from what their teachers and parents told them to do. They have no concept of learning something from what they did. From the questionnaire, we can know that about 43% students do not have the ability to do self-study, about 39% students do not have the ability to control their learning time, about 17% students even do not have the concept of self evaluation. However, when they are in another totally different country, they are forced to master all these abilities. Perhaps for some of them, this is a beneficial challenge to chasten themselves, but for most of them, they are still in a young age. How can they focus on their study when confronted with so many unfamiliar and relatively difficult mental problems. Different sense of life and values makes them feel themselves like aliens and can not get along well with the environment. With their frustrating and uneasiness accumulated as time goes by, and can not find a person or place to speak that out, some of them get hypochondria when they get much stress. Therefore, the author supposes that it is better for the juniors to study abroad after they have finish middle school.
Third, juniors do not have firm ideology. An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one’s goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things, as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies, or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of this society. The main purpose behind an ideology is to offer either change in society, or adherence to a set of ideals where conformity already exists, through a normative thought process. That is the definition of ideology in wikipedia. As juniors, they are quite curious and they have a strong sense of global participation and the desire to make great progress to the whole world. While they do not have formed a relatively right valuation of life and the world, so they are vulnerable to the impact of foreign education as well as the life style in foreign countries. Sometimes, the impact could stimulate their passion to know more about different culture and learn more about other countries. But they would face some conflictions on the second or, as we said target culture. The great threat to culture lies in the identity of different cultures, which could make the youth groups forget who they are, where do they come from and what kind of people they will be in the future. Some of the youth’s cultural values is focus on a strong western culture, where westernization thoughts are quite popular in those adolescents. Nowadays, China has a long distance to go to catch up with western countries no matter in economy or technology skills. Youth could not satisfy themselves in both physical and mental aspects, therefore, they worship and hope to study abroad. If they worship foreign culture blindly, how can they form their own patriotism and ethos?
Forth, most international students have strong stress of high expectation. International students have always been the top students in the eyes of common people. They have to pass each kind of tests as IELTS and SAT with a higher score to enter their ideal high school. In fact, juniors learned only little knowledge in history, literature, politics, math and so on. The most important, their language level is not as high as they could be able to master other subject. Are they really the elite among their peers? Let’s cite the accident happened on April 12, 2011, in Shanghai Pudong international airport. An international student, returning from Japan, stabbed his mother because of the tuition problem. According to a web investigation, mental health of international students is not so healthy. About 26% international students have nothing to do when they are free, so they surf the internet or watch DVD to kill time without parental supervision. About 17% students cannot find confidants and ways of abreaction. And the proportion of those who live with stress on study and economy so that they are sleepless takes up 16%. Besides, some of them always feel lonely, homesick, and become separatists. While only 7% students are satisfied with their life abroad. As to the problems, lowering age would be one of the main reasons. Some of the students, especially juniors, they have never handle problems independently in their life. Instead, they can only confine to their family. Further more, most international students, in wealthy family, with vainglorious and predominant mind, are more likely to have depression and autism when they are in setbacks.
Fifth, juniors loose our national essence while absorbing foreign culture easily. Our world is a pluralism society where every kind of culture has its own position, such as our China, one of the oldest countries on the earth. According to history, China has more than two thousand years of history of cultural exchange. While today after reform and opening, foreign culture can be found in every corner in our country, which has great impact on adolescents. In fact, our profound traditional culture should be in our mind. However, when adolescents faced with two totally different culture, the problem of how to balance it becomes the main trouble. There is only little time when foreign culture grew in our country. However, in such a short period of time it can have a considerable number of favored groups, and even challenges to the local traditional culture. A simple example, in recent years, Valentines’ Day has been quite popular in both young people urban areas and students. As is known to us all that our Double Seventh Festival is also for love but less popular than Valentines’ Day. We can take American culture as another example, in 1990s, with the development of economical globalization, American culture becomes the main trend to influent the whole world culture. Almost all countries on the earth are forced to receive the unilateral output and influence of values and way of life. Until now, the U.S. cultural industry has become the largest cultural exporter. All kinds of American cultural products have beyond geographical, temporal and spatial constraints, to reach every corner of the five continents. Among them, Coco Cola, Mcdonald, KFC, Disneyland, CNN, MTV, Hollywood, all these trademarks, one the one hand, are the symbols for the popularity of American culture, on the other hand, they are they spokesman of the youth, which let they forget the bad effect of those culture. Every nation has its own culture, loss of the cultural foundation for this nation can only be destroyed! Either it will be annexed by another nation, or will have it own demise, so we say that the nation is ourselves. In contemporary culture for the development of an individual has great value. Young people are the future for a nation. If one losses his national culture, then not only the development of a nation fell into a loss but also may lose the spirit of a nation’s culture, support, and that will make the disappearance of the cultural identity of a nation, and ultimately will be detrimental to the development of a nation.
With the development of China’s economy and social communication, China was linked with other countries closely, and study abroad is supposed to be an organized and disciplined career. International students were regarded as exchange for information and culture. Of course, we have thousands of beneficial reasons about study abroad. However, we also found several adverse aspects about study abroad except for individuals. We mainly talk about three of them in this thesis, great loss of funds and talents, the formation of undesirable social trends and shrinking of domestic higher education.
First, study abroad makes great loss of funds and talents. On the one hand, in China, most international students have a wealthy family because study abroad needs large amount of money. The most popular countries for international students are American, The UK., Australia, Canada, Korea and so on. Let’s take a look at their university tuition. In Australia, there are two different high school, one for public school, another for private school. It takes parents 70 thousand to 90 thousand yuan each year only on tuition. If we add 40 thousand to 70 thousand yuan as living cost, each family would have to pay more than 10 thousand yuan for one child. It is said that students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week, although they have work-study program. Each hour, students can be paid less than 10 Australia dollar ( 1 Australia dollar is equals 6.5~6.8 RMB). Thus, one can earn about 60 thousand yuan a year without any rest. But still, they have to pay a lot of money on the cost. In Japan, parents also have to provide more than 10 thousand on the cost on tuition and living cost for their children each year. The U.S. public high schools accept international students, that are F1 students, but students can only learn in the public school for 12 months, and they have to pay tuition although the U.S. high schools do not charge fees for local students. Private high schools accept international students, but most of them are exchange visitor program, which only for 3 months. In public schools, one must pay a few thousand dollars a year while in private schools, a few thousand for each semester. In Canada, only in 2009, even if only on the threshold standard, Canada’s wealth flows from China, at least 23.5 billion yuan, the equivalent of a World Expo China Pavilion. But if they choose to study in our own country, it would only less than 5 thousand each year. On the other hand, few students return to serve our motherland, instead, most of them work at big firm in developed countries. Last year, ministry of education announced that the number of international students in our country has increased by 1.95 million. Statistics show that since 1978, about 106 million Chinese students studied abroad, while only 27.5 million returned. The number of those students leaving overseas is 78.5 million, which is equivalent to 30 times the number of students in Peking University and Tsinghua University. It is not easy to cultivate a talent, let alone how wasteful it is to lose an elite to build our future for our country. Juniors study abroad makes great loss of funds and talents.
Second, study abroad form undesired social trends. According to the statistics of a professional survey organization reported on Xinhuanet, those juniors who even if admitted to key high schools or would be in key universities in the future in China, want to study abroad accounted for more than 70%. Although only 17% of them would not take high school entrance exam, the statistics indicate that domestic education, to some degree, was replaced by study abroad. With the increasing number of students going abroad, a variety of training institutions have come into being in a large number. However, in fact, the number of foreign students in China is increasing in recent years. According to Reference News, NAEI (North America Education International) said that large numbers of American students study in China. From 2002 to 2004, the number of the students who study in Chinese universities has increased 90%, and the total number is the highest. At the same time, during the year from 2003 to 2004, Chinese universities enrolled a total of 4,737 American students in the previous year only 2,493. In the year of 2010, the number has increased to 280,000, and it is predicted that it will be more than 500,000 in 2020. From these statistics, we can safely make a conclusion that Chinese education, at least, higher education is not too bad. However, in reality, students are more serious and concentrated when they are in training institution classes. Sadly, we have been in denial and blind our own things to absorb other nation’s educational style. Even some parents and students believe that study abroad is the best way to be elite. Is that true? Actually, overseas returnees do not have preferential access to employment. In 2005, the world HR lab did an analysis about 1,500 returnees. Among them, 35% of the returnees have difficulty in hunting for jobs and have become temporarily unemployed. These respondents who did not find a job in three months accounted for 30% while 15% of those didn’t find a job in 5 months. They hope to find a career with high salary but do not want to do some basic job with relatively lower salary.
Third, juniors’ studying abroad shrinks domestic higher education. The direct result of juniors’ study abroad is the shrinking of high school, then, candidates for high school may enter some kind of training centers, which we have discussed the large number, for their future language level and basic skills for living abroad. Then high school will enroll less students.
As economic conditions improving, and parents’ anxiousness, many parents start to plan their children for future, hoping they would be elite in the world. So, many of them put their children abroad to make them be stronger and more competitive in the society. Although, we can not ignore the beneficial factors for juniors it is no denying that there are some limitations in studying abroad for juniors both for individuals and for the whole society. Therefore, study abroad for juniors should be put in right attitude, in-depth understanding of the real path selection. Parents should pay attention on two points. First, our patterns for select talents mainly lie in examinations which test students’ ability of accepting and remembering. While in foreign countries, they focus more on learning ability, that is to say, the ability of creating, exploring, investigating. Then, universities in foreign countries give more stress on graduation. Certainly, every coin has two sides. But we should keep in mind that education is a big event, one should analyze both the beneficial and adverse sides rationally, choose to when and where to study according to their family condition and their own ability as well as character. As to juniors, they must be strong enough in their hearts, on the one hand. On the other hand, they prepare whatever in the ability of learning things in a totally different way or the ability of influent communication and facing difficulties. Only when they are well prepared, they would make their life better.