Ning Tao is an American overseas student who graduated from Northwestern University in the US, and is now studying in East China Normal University in Shanghai. After a year in Shanghai, Ning Tao not only uses chopsticks well, but can also speak some simple Shanghainese.
As distinct from many Chinese students who study abroad, American students who come to China are not primarily motivated by an elite college education, but come in order to "understand China."
The vice president of 100K Strong Foundation, Travis Tanner, told journalists that the number of American students in China has increased by 100,000 from 2010 to 2014. "A better understanding of the Chinese culture is now an important employable skill against the background of a globally-competitive workforce," said Tanner.
This is the second time Ning Tao has come to China to study. As an undergraduate he was an exchange student at Nanjing University. At East China Normal University he is majoring in Chinese history.
Ning's dream is to be a journalist. If he speaks fluent Chinese he will have a tremndous advantage. "I probably will have more opportunities if I stay in China. As well as journalism, I will have access to a lot of other jobs."
Xiao Rui, a Berkeley graduate is also very interested in studying in China.
He spent a transitional year in Hong Kong as he was worried that his Chinese was not good enough. Later he spent some time in Nanjing. After winning a CSC Scholarship, he finally started his studies in Beijing. Now he is a graduate student in Peking University majoring in international relations.
Xiao Rui is very impressed by the Chinese students' appetite for hard work: "The library will not open until 7, but usually there are people queuing up at 6:30." He has the impression that Chinese students are always studying, and never take a break.
Brandon graduated from a top university in US with a economics degree, and never imagined he would study in China. "I was planning to stay in the US and find myself a steady job. But when I saw the 100K Strong Foundation, I thought the experience of studying in China might be a good chance for me to secure a competitive advantage over other Americans, so I took this opportunity."
Travis Tanner was the only American student in China's Jinan University in 1998. He studied Chinese for two years. He told journalists that compared with the past, more and more Americans are now keen to study in China. But the goal is to have more Americans study further in China, and come back to the US with a deeper understanding and broader experience.
This article is edited and translated from 《美国学生到中国留学 “了解中国”成为一项就业技能》，source: China Youth Daily, authors: Wang Yejie, Zhou Kai