Description

Chinese Students Encounter America

Qian Ning
Translated by T. K. Chu

  • Published: July 2015
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies; Education
  • Bibliographic information: 296 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

An instant bestseller upon its publication in China in 1996, Chinese Students Encounter America (Liuxue Meiguo) appealed to those who had studied abroad, those who dreamed of doing so, and those who wanted a glimpse of the real America. This translation allows American readers to see their country through a Chinese lens.

Since China reopened to the West in the late 1970s, several hundred thousand Chinese students and scholars have traveled abroad for advanced education, primarily to the United States. Based on interviews conducted while the author studied journalism and taught Chinese literature at the University of Michigan from 1989 to 1995, Chinese Students Encounter America tells the poignant and often revealing stories of students from a variety of backgrounds.

After describing the history of Chinese students in America - from Yung Wing, who graduated from Yale in 1854, to the post-Cultural Revolution generation - Qian presents the experience of Chinese students today through anecdotes ranging from students' obsession with obtaining Green Cards and their struggles to support themselves, to their marital crises. Looming large in these personal stories is the legacy of China's three decades of social and political turbulence following the Communist revolution in 1949 and America's dizzying abundance of material goods and personal freedom.

Qian Ning , son of Qian Qichen, China's former Foreign Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister, studied at People's University in Beijing and worked as a reporter for People's Daily before entering graduate school at the University of Michigan. Since returning to China, he has worked as a business consultant. His most recent book is about the Qin dynasty prime minister Li Si.
Qian Ning , son of Qian Qichen, China's former Foreign Minister and a Deputy Prime Minister, studied at People's University in Beijing and worked as a reporter for People's Daily before entering graduate school at the University of Michigan. Since returning to China, he has worked as a business consultant. His most recent book is about the Qin dynasty prime minister Li Si.T. K. Chu was born in Anhui, China. A graduate of National Taiwan University, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Before his retirement, he was principal research physicist at the Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University.
Contents
Translator's Preface
Author's Preface
The Intermittent History
The Road to Studying Abroad
The Shock Overseas
Different Generations, Different Talents
The Other Side of the Bright Moon
Some Marriages Hold Together, Many Fall Apart
Emotional Attachment to China
To Return or to Stay
Translator's Endnote: A Personal Reflection on the Power of History
Appendixes
- Correspondence on Remission of the Boxer Indemnity
- The Number of Students Studying Abroad, 1978-1988
- Vacillations of Study-Abroad Policy in the 1980s
- Students in the First Dispatch, December 1978
Notes
Index
Reviews

"[Qian's book] is not a sentimental paean, but an objective chronicle of the lives of Chinese students who have become a significant presence on almost every university campus in [America]. . . . In simple yet elegant terms, much the same as those used by Alexis de Tocqueville to describe the early United States to Europeans, Qian seems to undermine the rancorous literature of Chinese nationalism."
-New York Times

"[Qian] presents a realistic portrait of America that is as deep as it is sweeping. He juxtaposes snapshot interviews of Chinese emigres with impressionistic freeze-frames of American and Chinese life."
-Christian Science Monitor