Notes from a Chinese student in the USA
Author Eunice Hu has just completed her first year of study in the United States.
Rich kids with bad grades! Spoiled students who can’t face the college entrance examination! These are the labels that are affixed to people like us.
No one ever knows that in the freezing winter, when others were having fun at home for for the holidays, we had seven and a half hour long SAT Intensive classes. No one knows, we could only sleep from midnight to five in the morning, using all the time, morning and night, to self-study and recite crazy sheets of words. No one knows that when we took the exams in Hong Kong, the tension made my stomach hurt, but I still had to write as quickly as I could and see every exam as the last straw to cling to.
People only thought, “Oh they are just a group of rich children, looking for an agency to help them and then pick a random university in a foreign country that will be easy to get into!” So our efforts that we put in for our dreams are in vain and are being drowned by the furious sound of jealousy and misunderstanding. Going to the U.S. had always been my dream, because I thought that the foreign education system is more humane. Now after one year there, I find out that I miss a lot of things. School days in the U.S. are a very stressful. We have to stay up until three am in the library for higher GPAs. As ‘rookies’ we did not know anybody when we arrived, and had to do everything on our own.
Now I can do almost anything, no matter how heavy the work load. Swallowing the medicine silently, my foreign roommate asked me to cover my mouth because she didn’t want to be infected by my cough. The life in the United States is repetitive and dull: studying every day, dealing with secretary duties in the fraternity, traveling. Studying is the only and most important thing in our life there because school work is very tight and attendance is checked very strictly each semester. Only straight As comfort us, making us feel that our new lives in America are worthwhile.
During the winter holiday, when I came back to Guangzhou, my friends told me about their lives at home. There was a friend who said that her attendance at university is rarely checked and that the final exam is nothing more than testing the ability of collecting data. Some teachers even take the initiative and give out information to ensure their own class’ good grades. Hearing this, I was very glad that I am studying in a foreign university; at least I really learn something there.
But this summer, when I chatted with several friends studying in Beijing, I found out that I actually missed a lot of things. Riding a bicycle to Tianjin; going to Tibet; participating in the school news agency and interviewing celebrities; managing micro blogging for the school, and much more.
Looking back on the last year in the US, my head is full of ideas for perfecting my resume. Seeing all the Americans have a pile of internships and work experience on their resumes, I feel ashamed of my myself. But my head is utilitarian and full ways I can try to succeed. This is the difference between a Chinese university and an American university. A good friend of mine said to me before, “You need not be so materialistic now and do not let your head become full of work.”
At first, I thought that studying in a foreign country would make me really mature, but now it seems I miss the lost things that belong to our age. 19-year-old youths should do the things they want to do. Like going cycling, going abroad to volunteer, rather than just being seated very early at office doing an internship. Maturity will also make me, like everyone, lose a lot of innocence and good things. Now there are more and more people abroad, everyone feels good, but that is just a beautiful bubble. Maybe you will get a lot out of it, but at the same time you lose a lot. Studying abroad is not as good as imagined, and studying in China is also not as bad as we had imagined.
Image from Asians Sleeping in Libraries