As a host that’s welcoming a Chinese student into your home for the first time, we know how much you want the experience to be successful. It is important first to understand how Chinese families view education, so you know how to best support your student. Chinese parents place great emphasis on obtaining a quality education from a top university. They regard education as a top priority and view academic achievement as one of the hallmarks of Chinese civilization.
A degree from a quality university is a great source of pride and is held in high regard in Chinese culture. Chinese parents are willing to invest a great deal of money and energy in their children’s education from an early age. In Chinese culture, success is not the result of intelligence, but the result of diligence, self-discipline, and self-regulation over the long haul.
The expectations of Chinese parents are deeply rooted in Chinese cultural traditions (check out our blog on 7 Things to Know About Chinese Parents Sending Their Children Abroad). The goal of Chinese students is to strive for a good position in society. They want everyone who knows them, such as their parents, teachers, and friends, to be proud of them. Chinese students are driven by this sense of cultural and familial obligation while also having a high sensitivity to shame. This sense of shame can be a source of motivation or a burden. How it plays out has much to do with their American experiences. Their expectations are deeply reflected in their ingrained cultural values, desire for a better life, and struggle to adjust to their visible minority status in a new environment.
According to The Expectations of Chinese Immigrant Parents by Jun Li, Chinese children generally study with a sense of duty, a sense of shame, and a desire for parental approval.
For generations, Chinese parents have been very demanding of their children’s education and less concerned about social development as in Western education. In China, pressure is a positive force in achieving goals. In Chinese history, you do not need to say things; you do things to show what you have accomplished. Culturally, the Chinese believe that accomplishment is a result of tough discipline and hard work.
When studying abroad, students are encouraged to excel in science subjects to take up professions in engineering and other technical fields meeting the needs of the future workforce. A further related consideration is minority sensitivity—encouraging children to pursue careers in fields less visible and less likely to be discriminated against is of high priority. Some students may feel that they must be better than their peers to have an opportunity to compete in academics or the future job market. This may sometimes result in students coming off as condescending or superior, which is a part of their native cultural indoctrination and not meant as personally insulting.
Before each student starts their international education experience, Cambridge Network provides families an In-Country Orientation to help set appropriate expectations about studying and living abroad in the United States. Families are educated on a variety of topics that support the evolving needs of students including health and social-emotional skills development. Cambridge Network continuously provides resources to promote the holistic growth of each student to ensure their successful integration into their new environment. Our Family Education Advisor supports and provides communication to families about academic concerns throughout the school year and helps to bridge the cultural gap in understanding Western educational philosophy.
We hope this sheds some light on cultural education perspectives and brings your family a better understanding of how to offer support. Thank you for the job you do in caring for our students.
Check out our homestay blog for more information on Cambridge Network as a residential provider, tips for hosting, and our host testimonials. If you’re interested in hosting an international student, please fill out an inquiry form!