China sending more Students to the US: Liberal Arts becoming an increasing focus

Dad, I need to bring a check to the SAT prep class orientation!

Chinese students hunt for educational opportunities abroad at an education expo

The Daughter needed to secure a spot at an SAT prep course that she had found.  The point of the prep course is to find the one right answer to each SAT question in order to increase the chances of getting into the college of choice.  But there isn’t always one right answer to many questions in college and in life.  For Chinese undergraduates who are increasingly attending colleges in the US, getting used to the fact the professors don’t expect that there is only one correct answer is an adjustment.

Coming from a culture in which a “standard answer” is provided for every question, I did not argue with others even when I disagreed. However, Bowdoin forced me to re-consider “the answer” and reach beyond my comfort zone. In my first-year-seminar, East Asian Politics, I was required to debate with others and develop a habit of class engagement. This sometimes meant raising counterarguments or even disagreeing with what had been put forward.

This is a quote from Yongfang Chen during an interview with the authors of “A True Liberal Arts Education,” a book on liberal arts education that is said to be getting a lot of play in China.  It highlights the education at small liberal arts colleges, which are much less known than the Ivy’s.

Maybe there should be a book in the U.S. for Asian American parents too on this subject!

John’s comment came during an internal 8asians discussion of this subject, and it really rings true.   The Daughter gets a lot of flack from our relatives when she suggests that she wants to go into something other than a medical field, business, or engineering.   It’s also ironic that as liberal arts sectors in the US are under to pressure to justify their own existence, these areas are starting to get exposure in China.  With far more demand than available undergraduates slots in China’s colleges and universities and the increasing ability of Chinese families to pay the tuition, demand for American educations, including those at liberal arts colleges, is expected to continue.

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About Jeff

Jeff lives in Silicon Valley, and attempts to juggle marriage, fatherhood, computer systems research, running, and writing.
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