Community, Education

A Long Way From Home


By Chris Lucey SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)One day during Jinglu An’s freshman year at Syracuse University, she discovered an unwelcome visitor in her dorm room: a mouse.

“I got so scared,” said An. “I didn’t know what to do!”

Startled and confused, An jolted out of the room and asked friends down the hall for help. Without hesitating, much to An’s surprise, they gave her a number to call.

“I thought, how do they know what to do and I don’t?” thought An. “In China we are all the good little boys and girls of our parents,” said An, a native of Szechuan Province. “Our parents take care of us, all we have to worry about is to study.”

An’s initial trouble with newfound independence her freshman year is not an isolated incident. Many Chinese students across the United States face culture shock when they first arrive. Some find ways to handle it, but a potentially staggering number of others aren’t so lucky. Data is somewhat limited on the issue, but Yale polled its Chinese population in 2014 and discovered that 45 percent dealt with depression, and 29 percent with anxiety. That same year, the International institute of education said almost 275,000 students in the U.S. hailed from China.

To help address the issue of culture shock, An ventured back to China this year with Progressive Expert Consulting. The Syracuse-based business runs language and culture seminars online. It sent a group to China to promote the importance of understanding American culture before deciding to go abroad.

The company aims to run a summer immersion camp in Syracuse, giving Chinese students the opportunity to see the U.S. for themselves before committing to an American college or university. It could be the first step toward fixing a problem that will inevitably grow worse as the Chinese population in American higher education increases.