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Implications

Chinese international students represent the majority of international students in the United States. They are temporary members of American society but face a number of difficulties due to various factors.

Culturally, Chinese students develop a feeling of “social normlessness” and have difficulties adjusting to appropriate behavior and understanding the behavior of others. Academically, Chinese international students feel exceptional pressure placed on them by their families’ and cultures’ expectations to excel academically. Language-related problems and the difference in educational systems between China and the United States, however, posed severe constraints to Chinese students’ academic success at American universities. Facing the strain of language and academic problems, Chinese students feel even more stressed if they fail. Because attaining an advanced degree is a major way for Chinese students to achieve higher status in China or to pursue their dreams in the United States, the potential negative consequences of academic failure are considerable. Psychologically, although studies demonstrated that Chinese students are experiencing more acute distress than other students experience, signs of Chinese students’ stress may not be visible to outsiders as their cultural background tends to camouflage this. Financially, Chinese students have limited financial resources to pursue degrees. Financial anxiety presents a major source of stress to Chinese students struggling for academic success with little assistance from American society. Personally, they reside in marginal status positions in the United States, and many of them learn that it is difficult for them to reach their dreams (finding decent jobs or attaining permanent residency in the United States) due to lack of legitimate access. Visa issues, job opportunities, and immigration concerns were identified as the greatest stressor to Chinese students due to current immigration policy. In addition, dating and marriage issues also pose serious challenges to Chinese international students.

It is important for American university communities to consistently assist in improving Chinese international students’ situations.

 
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