International Educator - May/June 2013 - 80

“It’s not a question of language but of
culture,” says Charles Hou “No one goes to
a doctor for psychological problems. They
go to friends.” Echoes MSU grad Jing Cui,
“There aren’t counselors in Chinese schools.
We’re not used to the idea,” she says, though
she feels that over time Chinese students
may start making use of these resources.

What Can Schools Do?

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR M AY + J U N E . 13

Devoting a disproportionate amount of time
and resources to the needs of Chinese students
can draw criticism for showing favoritism. But
institutions committed to nurturing success
for this population prepare Chinese students
for U.S. campus life before they leave home.
In June 2011 some 500 Chinese students and their parents attended MSU
China-based predeparture briefings. Chinese colleges don’t hold such meetings and
provide few services to students, so families
highly value the chance to meet college officials and ask questions. “It’s great to have
the parents there,” says Peter Briggs. “We
give students confidence that someone’s
caring for them.” The goal is to build trust,
which isn’t easily done at a big state school.
Importantly, current MSU students from
China are also on hand at the briefings.
MSU alum Jing Cui, who didn’t have the
benefit of an in-China briefing before arriv-

80  

ing in 2009, says that U.S. colleges need to
alert undergrads to the very real difficulties
ahead, including language. “I didn’t realize
how hard it would be to talk to my American roommates or to the front desk.”
Mei-Chi Chen Piletz, director of Mississippi College’s office of global education
since October 2012, is in the process of
forming advisory groups in China comprising Chinese alumni who would “explain
our school’s expectations so there are no
surprises.” She envisions multiple advisory
groups, drawing on the alumni dotted
across the country. “We offer predeparture
orientation for our American students going to China. The same should apply to our
Chinese students,” she says.
To address U.S. academic expectations,
the Global Higher Education Academy’s
Charles Hou suggests in-China workshops
that let students experience Western education in context.
“It’s a question of learning in the way
Westerners teach,” says the McGill University PhD. In the undergrad workshops
he used to give in China, he taught “how
to learn”—how to deal with assignments
and communicate with peers and professors. Hou gave them U.S.-style assignments
that required choosing a research topic and
collecting data. He taught them how to com-

pose papers, and he explained copyright.
“Talking about plagiarism is a must,” he says.
Most for-profit language training schools
in China only help students pass standardized tests says Hou. “Very few students are
aware that after they get good TOEFL scores,
they still have a long way to go” to secure a
successful academic experience abroad.

Aligning Goals and
Taking Concrete Actions
Once Chinese undergrads arrive on a U.S.
quad, finding a welcoming environment
where they feel supported requires a larger
effort beyond what any one international
office can do.
U.S. schools, from top to bottom, need
to align their goals in serving Chinese students, says San Francisco State’s Yenbo Wu.
Some parts of campus want them for their
tuition dollars, others for the diversity they
bring. Many institutions don’t speak with
one voice about Chinese students, he says.
Others argue that in order for Chinese
students to better fit into campus life, colleges need to educate students and faculty
about Chinese culture. “Many students may
not even know where China is,” says Christopher Tong, director of the Center for
China-American Business Studies at Westminster College in Salt Lake City.
Mississippi College’s Piletz finds her
whole campus working to support international students (over half of whom are
Chinese)—the writing center; residence
life; student life; the Baptist Student Union;
the Office of Christian Development, which
hosts a free monthly lunch for international students. “Our administration from the
president down—everybody’s on board.
Our office couldn’t do what we do without
all this help,” she says.
Useful approaches to creating a warm
climate for Chinese students involve reaching out, building trust, and being proactive
to preempt problems. Project Explore, an
MSU international office initiative begun in
fall 2010, is an innovative way to do all three.
Project Explore, according to Peter
Briggs, makes Chinese students “insiders to
the issues that affect them.” The project is
staffed by seven Chinese students hired by


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - May/June 2013

International Educator - May/June 2013
Contents
From the Editors
Front Lines
In Brief
Voices: Kofi Annan
Peace Pathways
Shared Solutions
San Francisco State Shines in Long-Term Study Abroad
Education Abroad
Foreign Student Affairs
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - May/June 2013 - International Educator - May/June 2013
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Cover2
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Contents
International Educator - May/June 2013 - From the Editors
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 3
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Front Lines
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 5
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 6
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 7
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 8
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 9
International Educator - May/June 2013 - In Brief
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 11
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 12
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 13
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 14
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 15
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 16
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 17
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 18
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 19
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 20
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 21
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 22
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 23
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Voices: Kofi Annan
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 25
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 26
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 27
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 28
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 29
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 30
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 31
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Peace Pathways
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 33
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 34
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 35
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 36
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 37
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 38
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 39
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 40
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 41
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 42
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 43
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Shared Solutions
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 45
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 46
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 47
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 48
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 49
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 50
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 51
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 52
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 53
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 54
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 55
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 56
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 57
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 58
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 59
International Educator - May/June 2013 - San Francisco State Shines in Long-Term Study Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 61
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 62
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 63
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 64
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 65
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 66
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 67
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 68
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 69
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Education Abroad
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 71
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 72
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 73
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 74
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 75
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Foreign Student Affairs
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 77
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 78
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 79
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 80
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 81
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Forum
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 83
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 84
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 85
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 86
International Educator - May/June 2013 - 87
International Educator - May/June 2013 - In Focus
International Educator - May/June 2013 - Cover3
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