Chinese students at the American Universities

Posted On: Monday - July 10th 2017 5:24PM MST
In Topics: 
  University  China

The last post, the 2nd on housing bubble 2.0, presented the case that many Chinese people have been investing specifically in the university towns, for a number of reasons. I want to continue just a bit about housing, then lead into more about the whole idea of Chinese parents sending the kids over to school in America, so this is really 2 posts in 1.

The Chinese have a different culture, of course, and that means they like a different way of living than Americans. As mentioned in the last post, Americans have no problem living in the country and don't think of it as proof that we are poor, illiterate rubes. Of course, we have more land than the Chinese for each of us (some of this may be discussed in another post with the immigration stupidity topic key.) I will except the young adults, say age 18-30 from this point, as most would gravitate to the bright-lights/big-city thing just as about ALL Chinese. There are 20, maybe more, cities as big as New York City in China, and they love their bright lights! Anything smaller or more spread out than Seattle, Washington is podunkville to these people.

In addition, the Chinese are into the whole "feng shui" thing, literally "wind/water", but it means the environment of the house must be right. It is in direct opposition to my liking, for instance, of lots of shade trees. These people will cut them down like weeds to have the sunlight (which the ladies can't let hit them, though, hence the umbrellas), and they want a view of the water. I guess that can't suit everyone, but even a sewer plant could do in a pinch - that's some mighty rich feng shui ya' got there, Mister Li!

The summary here is that as parts of the big city gets gobbled up by the Chinese buyers, many place will look closer to China, and may not even be attractive to Americans, with our different culture.

Back to the university bit - I have seen that almost any university town draws many Chinese to study, stay, and buy housing, in various combinations of these. Though Peak Stupidity has 20 posts with the University topic key, one couldn't go wrong starting with: University Bubble 99 - Remedial Global Financial Stupidity at the U. We have explained the financial aspect of this University Bubble there, but this does not apply much directly to the Chinese students and other foreign students. In fact, the admission of so many of them is a minor contributor to the bubble, as colleges and the states that run many of them sell out for the foreign out-of-state/out-of-country tuition cash. (It's not really their purpose under the state charters that founded them, is it?)

No, the Chinese students as individuals are not causing this bubble, but I believe they are victims of it. That might not bother anyone, but this is just to explain the large influx. The Chinese have for many years looked up to American higher education as some of the best (sure, lots of great schools in Europe, but with our cheaper living costs, the US has probably always been the best bet). Why? At the universities in China, getting in is the hard part, while getting through is a piece of cake. The degree would not indicate anything more than this student was smart enough to get in, and took a bunch of classes. It has been different in American in the past - hard to get in and hard to get through (well in science/math/engineering). 20 years ago a degree from an American university, maybe any one of them, would be a great guarantee of good employment back in the old middle country. It was all based on reputation.

Well, if you have read our posts about the universities, you will have understood the ultra-extended finance part of the problems, but perhaps we have not covered the lowering of standards very much. This could be read elsewhere, of course, but the 2 aspects go together somewhat. As the universities have expanded due to the huge money they have been taking in from each, they want to multiply that by increasing the student count (the number of "seats") also. Standards have been lowered for that reason, and due to the always-decreasing availability of good jobs for the non-college-"educated" (people without that piece of paper), parents are sending any kid that the universities will take.

Back to the Chinese, for them them, of the American colleges is still high. The saying is that reputations are hard to gain but easy to lose. I don't agree. The reputation of American universities, especially for foreigners, is 20 years behind the reality. Once the truth reaches the high-spending parents in China, the situation may change here, and the foreign student count may go back down. In the meantime, it's not just engineering, science, and math that the Chinese are studying, from my observations. There are quite a few getting degrees in some of the areas we laughed at even back in the day:

It is just that American piece of paper they want. I feel sorry for the ones that got duped into spending much hard-earned money for it. Again, much of the money is just hard-bribed, so those ones can suck it. I hope this piece of paper gets you far - Central Pneumatic could really use a guy like you, Han Joel!

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