Graduate School

imgres-2August 2nd is Qixi Festival (Chinese Valentines Day). Love and marriage can become an issue for students going abroad. Some couples will find a way to keep things together no matter what and face the future together, others will give up with a sigh and continue their search.



How hard is it for students abroad to understand themselves?

One student named Alex, who is working on his PhD in Math while abroad, calculated that the probability of finding a girlfriend in one year of study abroad is 17.1%. Using Bayesian statistics, he found the probability of marrying this girlfriend is just 5.6%.

An investigation of over 3000 study abroad returnees entitled Large-Scale Investigation of Students Returning from Study Abroad shows those studying abroad were most distressed by “emotional isolation”. National and high-level Psychological Counsellor Zhou Xiaopeng explained, “100% of study abroad students counseling cases involve experiences with romance while abroad. They all meet with dissatisfactory results in the end, this is the common characteristic of many study abroad romances. I think in large part this is because their love is built on the “drawbridge effect”. That is, in dangerous environments, people will have the incorrect physiological reactions, which leads to easier arousal of intimate feelings.  “For all study abroad students, getting used to a foreign country and culture is doubtlessly being thrown into a dangerous environment. This environment might also produce misdirected romances out of the psychological need to avoid danger.” Dr. Zhou admits, most such romances fail in the end.


Geographical loss of gender balance makes finding love even harder

The gender ratio of Chinese studying abroad is skewed in areas of foreign countries with highly developed technology sectors. In fact, at many schools on the East Coast of the US, there are more females studying abroad in business, arts, and literature departments. Most males going abroad for MAs and PhDs study engineering, and they are generally introverted and unwilling to actively pursue [relationships]. Often, When compared with the openness and humor of foreign men, girls find their attentions shifting.

Zhu Yuezeng, a medical doctor who has been in the US for 9 years, has attended matchmaking activities in the Washington D.C. area with twice as many females in attendance as males. He says that many of these girls couldn’t find partners in the area, and that they often choose to move to California or other areas with more men rather than going back to their home countries. “Actually, it’s not hard for a woman to get married in the US, and few return to China. Since their standards are high, and they’d have to compete with other Chinese women [in China], their chances for success there are too low, not as good as staying in America.” Plus, marriage is a fast way for female students abroad to get the proper status and a Green Card.


Can love survive the 10,000 KM trip across the Pacific?

For many studying abroad, moving tens of thousands of miles is an even greater struggle than a long-distance relationship. But there are those whose love has endured. Yvonne and Lee have been together for four years, you could say it was love at first sight, and they hadn’t been apart a day since. Now they’ve decided to apply to study at the same school in New York– Adelphi University. They are lucky, and we wish them all the best, at the same time hoping that their four years of love can stand the test of living in a foreign environment. Maybe it will make their love even stronger.

Wu Hao and his girlfriend got to know each other at UDM, the stress of study abroad causing them to tell each other everything about themselves. With time, their feelings grew, and they started dating. Even though they graduated, Wu Hao moved to his girlfriend’s hometown after returning to China so that they could support one another. “Actually, love is taking care of one another, but in a foreign country, this feeling is intensified. We looked after each other more at that time… that was when we really experienced mutual dependency,” said Wu Hao. “I see her as part of my life now, and I only feel the warmth of home where she is.”



Date of publication: August 1, 2014

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employment contractGoing into the final third of July, the job hunts of graduating students are coming to an end. According to the Mycos Research Institute’s newest publication, Class of 2013 University Graduation Employment Contract Analysis Report, the so-called “job seeking hardship” comes mainly from structural conflicts, with a mismatch between available posts and the students’ ideal positions. Now, departments handling graduating student employment are “artificially inflating” employment rate statistics, causing much concern.

This report uses statistics from internet surveys from October of 2012 to the end of June of 2013. The number of valid responses received totaled 59,409.


Hard to find a job suitable for the major

Among the students graduating in the 2013 who were surveyed, the most often cited reason for not having signed an employment contract was “difficulty in finding a job that matches my major” (42%). This is related to requirements of various positions, and also reflects a discrepancy between the training received by students and the needs of society.

Among graduating students surveyed, MA students had an 85% match rate between major and job, while undergraduates matched 73% of the time, and technical school students matched 67% of the time. The higher the level of education, the higher the match rate between major and job. This is particularly connected to the training received by the different types of graduates, with a higher level of education meaning the area of work is more specialized.


Artificially inflated employment rates

Links accompanying the report pointed out an issue worth our attention, that of “fake employment” inflating graduate employment rates. A few universities require students to sign employment contracts or else prohibit them from defending their graduation thesis and receiving their diplomas. In order to deal with the schools, some students produced fake stamped “employment agreement” documents on their own, going on Taobao and spending hundreds to buy such documents, then paying grocery store bosses a few kuai to stamp the document. And in the end, these employment contracts are calculated as part of this year’s graduate employment rate by the employment-related offices at the school.

Xiong Bingqi, the Vice-Chancellor of the 21st Century Education Research Institute, explained that graduate employment rates have already become a “governance track record project” in various locations. As for higher education, employment rates can mean not only life or death for a major, but also a shift in the school’s image and new student recruitment. Since it has become entangled with these interests, it’s not surprising to see fraud in the graduate employment rate. Xiong suggests that the method of calculation for employment rates needs to change, entrusting their calculation to a publicly accountable third party organizations, and avoiding schools looking for a quick boost by falsifying data.

Original publication date: 7/21/2013


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