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Chinese overseas

When Chinese students overseas going back home is not a sad event

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 August, 2018, 6:01pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 August, 2018, 6:01pm

I refer to the letter from Stephen Ling, about many Chinese students in US universities choosing to go home after graduation (“Why are Chinese students in the US keen to go home? Blame their English”, July 30)

Mr Ling cited the lack of English-language skills as a major reason for this, and I agree, because fluency can affect daily exchanges and thus fresh graduates’ rate of success in job hunts. However, I think many students also choose to return home to China because they fail to assimilate into American society or get used to the American way of life.

Befriending and confiding in their peers can seem a very natural thing to do for a new boy or girl in town. This is also part of the assimilation process into a place with a different culture.

But if this process lasts far too long, for example, even after they have graduated, then it simply indicates that they have failed to adapt. In such cases, the lack of communication and interaction with locals may leave them feeling like outsiders in a strange land, thus fuelling a desire to return.

What makes or breaks the fortunes of Chinese students returning from abroad?

Whether or not a student chooses to return to their native country, they must use the time spent in the foreign land to learn about its culture and language. This will help them enrich the culture of their own country when they do go back, in addition to the academic knowledge they acquire and bring back.

It may not be a sad story if Chinese graduates choose to go home to fulfilling lives and careers. What would be sad, though, is if they go home empty-handed in terms of soft skills, with nothing to show for the years spent in a foreign land.

Randy Lee, Ma On Shan