At many university campuses in Sydney, it is easy to spot students from China.
The number of Chinese students at universities across Australia has increased dramatically. Officials say there are now more than 130,000 students studying in Australia, 45% of them are living in Sydney. In such a situation, it is worth to ask about:
Why so many Chinese are choosing to study abroad? How their lives in Sydney? What will happen to them in the future?
The gate of dreams
Yiren Ding treats her oversea experiences as a dream, sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter. This 24 years old Chinese girl, came to Sydney in 2006(then she was 18) as part of an explosion of Chinese education immigration. She said her dream of studying abroad was derived from her father. In her father-centered family, she recalled almost every decision was proposed and made by her father, including dropping out in Hangzhou, China and continuing her last year of high school in Sydney. "My dad is a successful businessman; he can easily bear an economic burden sending me to study abroad. For reasons, I guessed hum... my dad feared that I would not enter top uni of China because my academic achievements were kind of poor," Yiren said with a shy little smile, " and I was specialized in painting, my dad believed that there are more opportunities for little artists in western countries than mainland China."
Yiren became clouded and then froze when she was asked with "Do you think that your unsatisfactory academic performance stimulating you study abroad, avoiding participating in the college entrance examination of China, is a kind of escape behavior?" She hesitated long enough that her close friend, chipping in the conversation with "she is pursuing her dream", to attempt to respond to the awkward silence.
Allen Liu, however, was straightforward to say his intention for coming to Australia to study, avoiding the college entrance examination in China. Same with Yiren, Allen came to Adelaide to complete his high school period. In 2010, he admitted to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) by in top 10 percent of HSC scores of South Australia.
"I was in the middle of my Chinese high school class; maybe Chinese cramming system is not suite for me. But I found my passion on physics when I came into Australian creative educational pattern. I adapt to the English language environment soon after and became one of top students, restoring my self-confidence." Allen said with a complacent smile, insisting on showing his prom photos off.
Allen would be happy to deeply analyze reasons for such a great amount of Chinese students studying in Australia. The growth rate is due, in large part, to an increasing middle class in China. Parents hope their children to be better educated, in a multicultural environment. Australia, furthermore, provides migratory opportunities for students to live here permanently. "Compared to China's large population, work stresses and environment pollution, more and more Chinese students are choosing to stay here after graduation, starting a family, plan to pick their parents up from China in the future." He emphasized again and again he can represent a number of Chinese students, "Chinese always keep on the rails". The above is his life planning, also his dream.
The road of dreams
"I came from a middle class family, the speed of my parents earn money is six times as the speed that I spend money." Anna Wang loves to tell this joke about the exchange rate between Chinese Yuan and Australian Dollars (appr 6.5:1), with a trace of frustrated and helpless laughter. She came to UNSW for a two-year Master program of IT, yet when she first attended into a lecture, she was surprised that almost everyone has an Asian face, including the lecturer. After a further chat she found that 90% of students are from China. "I cannot believe my eyes; I thought I was in a Chinese classroom." Anna recalled the primary impression of her first class in UNSW.
In her imagination, she would live in a colorful life in Sydney, hanging out with a group of friends from different cultural background, dancing at parties, enjoying the sunshine at beach, yet the truth is, alone. "You know lots of Chinese are shy, traditional, and not good at making friends especially with foreigners", Anna said while walking in Randwick Coles, shopping food and necessities for next week, "if my parents have enough money, maybe I would be here to start a bachelor degree, then I might make friends with local people. Occasionally I was invited to some parties, but I rejected because I hum... kind of fear the Australian-style party, a little bit crazy with excessive drinking. So I prefer spending my parents' money on food, for me, myself. " She picked up this one, and then took another one, carefully comparing the price and weight, calculating that which more worth buying is.
The most attractive thing, for Anna, might be traveling, with her Chinese friends. She spent all of her money by selling dim sum in a Cantonese restaurant, "actually I am an illegal worker and I know the Australian government prohibits work positions with salaries less than $16 per hour. I only earn $9.5 hourly. In my Chinese students circle this is very common, we call it 'Black Work'. "
The government banning, the restaurateur lacking conscience, most of Chinese students working illegally, yet who has the heart to blame her and the group of international students? They left their native place, landing here and try to find resting place for the sole of feet.
The light of dreams
Chinese students often say, studying in Australia, doing in a part-time job, cooking themselves, traveling... all of these things, is a process of following your dream.
When it comes to the future, many students confused, so did Annie Sun. She has been to Sydney for one year, as a postgraduate student major in Human Resource in the University of Sydney (UNSD). "This subject (HR) in China is extremely different with Australia. My mum works in the human resource office, but her real work is to build relationship with other staff, filing documents, and other little things like a secretary did", Annie complained, "I worries about I might not suitable in Chinese circumstances when I go back." Soon afterwards, however, a smile resurfaced on her face, "I know human resource is still a burgeoning thing in my country, but I have confidence to take practice using what I learned."
Next month Annie will be back to her hometown, Jinan, a mid-size city in North-eastern China. She is preparing the national civil service examination, "My parents hope me work for the government because they consider it is decent and respectable. I also look forward to because I want to change the situation of China's human resource. That is my dream, even it is fantastic but I keep going on it."
Different with Annie, Monica Li plan to move Australia permanently. Monica has qualified to be called the "old" Chinese Australian student. She has been to Sydney for 5 years, completing her bachelor degree of Linguistics and a master degree of Early Education, both in UNSD. This vivid girl has a large group of local friends, so she always busy on organizing parities and group activities, even though she has three part-time jobs at the same time, "I am a super woman, huh?"