For American Students Studying Abroad in China, Cultural Flexibility is Key

Recently, Foreign Policy magazine published an article on American studying abroad in China which we wanted to highlight. Some key takeaways are that during the 2013-2014 academic year, over 274,000 Chinese students went Stateside to pursue higher education.

In the 2012-2013 academic year, the last year for which U.S. statistics are available, over 14,000 American students did the reverse.  Indeed, "no group is more poised to alter the trajectory of the U.S.-China relationship, one fraught with friction but also characterized by ever-proliferating contact points. Those who become fluent in both China and America — not just both languages, but both cultures, modes of doing business, and frameworks for interpreting the world — are likely to thrive in the new century as much-sought, and much needed, cross-cultural natives."

The article highlights that "flexibility and adaptability are at a premium in China," citing students' experiences "routinely awoken by a neighbor’s rooster, until conceiving of the idea to ask his housekeeper to purchase it for $30" or many students finding "the curiosity and hospitality of their hosts disarming". In these instances, students reported that being culturally adaptable and flexible was key to their experience.

Read more here at Foreign Policy.