An open letter to Parents of Chinese Students in the United States

Dear parents,

My kid has been studying in the United States for three years at Boston University. Ever since she went there, I’ve been hearing from her all the bad things that happened to Chinese students in high schools and universities of America, which haunts me endlessly. I feel fidgety, a lot. So I’m writing to make you aware of the situation, since you also have children abroad or soon-to-be abroad. This way, we can do something to protect our darlings. (Note: Parents with toddlers wearing T-shirts with Harvard Class of 2034 across the chest, this applies to you, too.)
China is by far the largest source of international students coming to the United States (source: OPEN DOORS 2014/INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION).

Let me first share with you some frightening facts.

Jack Lin, my daughter’s classmate, lost his $ 3,000 bracelet at a gym class. ”That’s all right. Don’t worry, “ he said. “It’s just a bracelet. I can buy a new one.” How adorable and well-mannered he reacted to such a tragedy!

On orientation day at University of Pittsburgh, Vincent Gu begged his mother over the phone for a Ferrari 458 Speciale. Without it, he would have to immediately buy an air ticket back to China. So I got to know that life in America without a car is too harsh.

Catherine Chen, a sophomore at Newman School (a high school in Massachusetts), was seen walking out of Louis Vuitton on Fifth Avenue in New York, but didn’t have time to pick up the hundred-dollar bill that fell from her cute alligator purse. She was judged by her companions, with whom she was too busy chatting. You know, to maintain a sound social network. Networking also matters in America, not just in China.

Why are these kids always getting hurt? They are the hope of the future. How can we just watch them unable to keep track of their accessories, suffer at their jubilant parties, or live without a car? Oh, some of them still have to take care of their own everyday trifles. What is wrong with us? We must take some actions for the promising young generation of a big country like China. Otherwise our country will self annihilate some day. All right, just for our own sake. But it’s urgent.

Here are some of my suggestions:

  1. Give our children enough back-up money in case they lose their Prada, Gucci, Chanel and other designer accessories. Bear in mind, don’t ever blame them for their lost stuff, which, as we all know, is only a matter of money. It’s far more difficult to live in a foreign country than we can imagine, under huge peer and study pressure. So, MORE MONEY. Do remember.
  2. Do field research beforehand. Choose the most convenient house to rent for them. In my case, I prefer to buy one, which I believe will surely give my kid a sense of belonging and it feels good to possess something. More importantly, she won’t be bothered by the landlord when throwing parties. I advise you to find a reliable property agent to handle it. Plus, I highly recommend hiring a few bodyguards, just in case.
  3. Remember the girl who didn’t have time to manage her money properly? So a reliable butler is needed. I’m not quite familiar with the American butler market, but I think there must also be a certificate or something for professional butlers. Yes, we shall never be careless about the butler thing. It’s about managing money, and our children’s life.
  4. And a car. It’s better to respect our children’s will to select their desired make and model. Our poor little kids need some support when we’re not around.

So, I’ve briefly listed a few things we can physically do to guarantee our children’s professional study abroad. But we should also pay attention to some spiritual aspects. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about the cruel school environment in American schools, but my daughter told me it’s almost impossible to finish the daunting homework on time or even after the deadline. So our encouragement is needed. Here are some tips:

(Be careful when communicating with your kid, who, under great pressure, is not always in a good mood to talk to you.)

  1. If they feel it necessary to hire someone to write some assignment, don’t blame them for sparing the money for that purpose. Education is a priority, so back them up.
  2. Once they post on Microblog or Wechat friends’ circle some beautiful traveling pictures with fancy food or gorgeous hotels, don’t forget to click “like” immediately. Your passionate reaction is their driving force to go against all odds lying ahead. They need to relax from the crazily busy schedule of school.
  3. They may probably complain to you how they don’t like the way American students are dressed, too dull, without much variety, and no one seems to care about the appearance at all. Some even go to class without any make-up! On this occasion, you’d better tell your glamorous children to bear in mind who they are and where they come from. Only in this way can they keep their sense of aesthetics and pursuit of quality life. You know, sometimes, life goes before education a little, bit.
  4. Don’t call them too often. Both you and I are not supposed to be bothersome.

I do hope you strictly follow my advice.


Jasmine Zhang

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