Chinese Students in an American Professor’s Eyes (zhuan)--一篇不错的文章, 花点耐心看看吧:)

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Chinese Students in an American Professor’s Eyes

太傻的寄托



If you already have an offer at hand, work hard on your spoken English.
See the below.
Paleblue

Chinese Students in an American Professor's Eyes

Try a little to stretch yourself and integrate into the greater society
around you. It's definitely a challenge. It can be difficult and
unpleasant. But it can also be fun and enriching, rewarding and of the utmost
benefit in the long run.

By George Tseo, the author of Two Skies
September 25, 2001

Being an American born Chinese, I realize I don't have perfect
credentials for addressing questions of what it takes for Chinese born Chinese
to be successful in America, but one of the first and foremost factors
has got to be language mastery. Not just in reading comprehension and
writing, but in speech. Chinese TOEFL scores are averaging a little
above 600, an amazing standard. At least three admissions officers of U.S.
universities that I have spoken with testify to the fact that they
compare foreign applicants against their compatriots. That is to say
Chinese applicants are compared to other Chinese applicants and not, say,
Russians or Africans. In this way the different national averages are
taken into account. For U.S. admissions officers are keenly aware that
elevated TOEFL scores do not necessarily indicate truly superior command of
the language.

The phenomenon of the Chinese graduate student who can't speak English
is quite common and widespread among U.S. universites. For many Chinese
graduate students this is not necessarily a big problem. They attend
classes and work for their advisers in the lab. They are more or less
closeted away. Rare is the instance in which they must interact directly
with a non-Chinese. On the other hand, many other Chinese graduate
students do not enjoy the luxury of seclusion. They are expected to help
teach undergraduate courses, either in part (i.e. a lab or tutorial
section) or in total. When they arrive with stunted verbal skills, this
brings into serious question their competence and, in many cases, the
continuation of their scholarships. Indeed, just the other day my wife spoke
with a first-semester Chinese graduate student from Beijing University
who admitted to not being able to "understand a single word" of what
her professors were saying in class or what her adviser was saying to her
in his office.

Some U.S. universities now conduct phone interviews of prospective
Chinese grad students. I even know of one university that organizes
face-to-face interviews between Chinese applicants and its professors who
happen to be in China for research or conference. All this to insure that
students culled from the highly reputed Chinese talent pool have the
linguistic skills to bring their talents to bear on those tasks with which
the university needs help.

For most Chinese graduate students the language problem soon begins to
resolve itself after arrival in the U.S. Slowly, lectures become
comprehensible. Hours spent in front of the TV are not wasted. (Hasn't
China's great women's soccer Sun Wen star learned to speak basic English
after only a summer with her new professional team the Atlanta Beat?) There
are American friends to be made in the classroom and research lab.

Be that as it may, a large number of Chinese graduate students continue
to struggle with English years after arrival and even years into their
professional lives here, which does have a negative impact on
employment especially in times like these when market downturns dictate massive
layoffs across many industrial sectors. In any corporate department,
when it comes to giving people the pink slip and showing them to the
door, friendship and cameraderie do factor in heavily. If you were a
manager would you rather keep someone who was fully integrated into the work
place, a real team player so to speak, or someone who barely spoke to
his colleagues and spent most of his time isolated in his cubicle or
lab?

The crux of the problem lies in the Chinese student community. Not
surprisingly, most Chinese graduate students begin their U.S. experience in
a shared apartment or house exclusively with other Chinese. If they
happen to work in a lab where there are other Chinese graduate students
then there is often hardly any need to interact with Americans. I know of
students with Chinese advisers, Chinese office mates and Chinese
roommates. They shop in off-campus Chinese grocery stores. They rent Chinese
videos from a Chinese student association service. If they are so
inclined, there are Chinese churches in the area for them to join. If they
happen to have families and bring their families over, they can if they
wish engage the Chinese parents of other Chinese students to help take
care of their children. What need to ever speak English? Thre are
people like this. Who go through their entire U.S. graduate experience
practically as if they had never left China.

While this type of thing may sound cozy and inviting to the prospective
Chinese graduate student setting his sights on America, it is
definitely not advised. In the professional realm I know people whose very poor
English is jeopardizing their positions right now as I write. I am
privy to information from both sides of the issue-the Chinese employees and
their American colleagues. The inability of these Chinese to
communicate with their office mates does significantly impact their work,
resulting in tens of thousands of dollars of misspent funds, tens to perhaps
hundreds of dollars in lost revenues due to design and production
delays. The co-workers around them are talk openly about the need to lay
these people off. This isn't prejudice or bigotry. Included among those
"voting" for their ouster are Chinese and Taiwanese colleagues who do not
want to see their company hampered by incompetence. Afterall, we're
talking about business survival and livelihood here.

The long and short of this is that it is well worth a Chinese student's
trouble to learn English well. Spoken English. Not just test-taking,
TOEFL-blasting English. U.S. university admissions officers are less and
less to be fooled by only a poor to middling command of the spoken
language. And for those with little or no opportunity of improving this
aspect of their foreign language skill while still in China, if you are
lucky enough to get a chance to come to the U.S. for study, take full
advantage of opportunities here. Take an English as a second language
class. Most universities have them. City governments and community colleges
offer them. Join some university clubs to begin to get to know some
American students. Get to know your American classmates and office mates.
Don't be shy. DO NOT BE SHY. Force yourself to join conversations. Find
an American roomate. This last can be such a big boost in so many ways
if you find the right match. My own cousin is doing swimmingly well in
all respects after living with the same American roomate for the past
four years.

One needn't give up "being Chinese", but there is value in trying a
little to stretch yourself and integrate into the greater society around
you. It's definitely a challenge. It can be difficult and unpleasant.
But it can also be fun and enriching, rewarding and of the utmost benefit
in the long run.
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2002-1-27 -05:00

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