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中国留学生的“小清新”生活——选择美国文理学院的别样趣味

(2011-09-27 09:13:57)
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分类: 凯斯名师指导

By Sabrina Frometa    科尔盖特大学(美国顶尖文理学院)学士

I recently had an insightful conversation with a Chinese graduate student from Columbia University who had a lot to say about her experiences as a Masters student in New York City. As the conversation went on, I realized how different her experience would have been if she studied in a small college town with only 20 Chinese students. I’d like to focus on the other side of the coin: a Chinese student going off to a liberal arts university or college that is not in New York City, Chicago,or San Francisco. This Columbia graduate mentioned that attending university in a big city takes off some of the pressure for these students because the city populations are large and the Chinese communities have long been established. Now for those adventurous students who choose liberal arts colleges like Williams, Swarthmore, Bates,or Clareton, the challenge is greater. International students have to take initiative and nurture their own communities, and this is what creates exceptional leaders.

So how does the Chinese student body prosper in a small college town? I interviewed two Colgate students to get a sense of the Chinese student community at a small liberal arts school. Although I attended Colgate University, hearing the voice of a Chinese student from Changzhou No.1 School will give a better depiction of life abroad.

 
Yuzhou "Alex" Jiang stated that the 5 hour distance from Colgate to New York City was a positive factor in his college decision-making. Being that there were no other local outlets, Chinese students had to often collaborate with other clubs including: the Korean Student Association, the Latin American Student Organization, Greek society, etc to hosts grand events and promote Chinese heritage. Although being far from a big city may seem like an obstacle, Yuzhou quickly realized that this was an opportunity to grow and step out of his“comfort zone”. Colgate's location fostered collaboration amongst cultural clubs, creativity with event planning, interesting performances, and allowed for a “close-knit society” to flourish. I found this point especially powerful because we both agreed that attending a liberal arts college and living away from a big city, really fostered more inter-cultural friendships and collaboration. In my experience, the best part about college was building relationships with people with different points of view, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, etc. When asked why he chose Colgate, Yuzhou candidly replied,

“How I chose Colgate? Hmmmmm it's been a long story. I realized that Liberal Arts College is a great fit for me. Colgate, in particular, enjoys a good reputation for having a beautiful campus (ranked No.1 on Princeton Review, yayyyy), close-knit community, strong alumni network, and rigorous academic training. These factors all contributed to my decision to choose Colgate. I also spoke to several Chinese students in Colgate and I never regretted my choice.”

It brightens my day to see how open-minded and insightful Yuzhou has become throughout his career at Colgate University. As you can see, like many Chinese students, he still cares about rankings ( i.e. Colgate was ranked #1 beautiful campus), but he still appreciates the liberal arts approach which provides rigorous academics, fulfilling extracurricular activities that foster leadership skills, and strong alumni support for top career aspirations. For Yuzhou, it was at this small town, farm-surrounded college where he found his passion for philanthropy, excelled in economics, and developed lasting friendships. And so, when thinking about colleges, just take a deep breath, ask questions to those who are knowledgeable on the matter, and know that there are many Chinese students like Yuzhou who prosper in these “small places” and go on to be successful.

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