China’s Parachute Children: Studying Abroad Without Parental Guidance

China’s Parachute Children: Studying Abroad Without Parental Guidance
Nov 02, 2016 Translated by

Editor’s Note: There are thousands of Chinese primary and secondary school students living abroad without their families in order to study at a foreign school. The author of the article questions whether young students should be given so much freedom with so little supervision.

Mainland Chinese parents believe that sending their children abroad for the education is the “best gift for their children.” There are now primary and secondary school children from China studying as international students in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. The “2016 China Study Abroad Trends Development Report,” was recently published in Beijing and sheds some light on young Chinese international students.

Astronomical International School Fees
Hong Kong Economic Times reported that the number of study abroad students from China is experiencing steady growth. In 2015, there were 520,000 Chinese international studies. This number will increase in 2016. However, soon the growth percentage, while still increasing, will be in single digits.

One-third of all international students in the United States and Canada are from Mainland China. 20% of international students in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand are Chinese. In South Korea, 45% of international students are Chinese, and 62% are Chinese in Japan.

Parents have begun to send their children abroad to attend secondary school to pave the way for acceptance into a foreign university. Other parents send their children to international schools within China. However, these international schools are in high demand and short supply.

Economic Daily said that Mainland media has reported that international school tuition ranges from 130,000 RMB to 160,000 RMB annually. International schools offer small classes and a multidisciplinary approach to learning which is attractive for Chinese parents.

Mrs. Xu, a Shenzhen parent, said that she had decided to send her children to an international school in Southeast Asia because of the high fees in Shenzhen. Her children are now studying at an international school in Chiang Mai, Thailand that only costs 60,000 RMB per year.

The Dangers of Academic Freedom?
South China Morning Post recently reported that Chinese overseas returnees struggle to find a job when they return to China after graduation. Other experts have pointed out that international students living without parents or “parachute children,” are more likely to end up in trouble in the United States. There are even instances of Chinese international students ending up in jail in their host countries.

Chinese Mainland students arrive in the United States after growing up with a harsh education system with a strong emphasis on scores in their home country. In the United States, they experience academic freedom and a creative atmosphere for the first time.

Li Junheng, a 19-year-old international student in the United States said, “If you want to use a word to describe life here, it is ‘free.”’ Li Junheng is a student at a Catholic high school in Murrieta, California and will graduate this year. “There are a lot of books to choose from here, and you can choose your electives,” he said.

However, many students find it difficult to adapt to American culture and do not know what to do with their new independence. Three Chinese teenagers were arrested in LA’s Rowland Heights in March 2015 for assaulting two other teenagers.

The Chinese international students were studying at a California high school. They assaulted two teenage Chinese girls by forcing them to get naked, burning their nipples to cigarette butts, hitting them and pulling their hair. The 18-year-old was trapped at a Rowland Heights park by the three boys for five hours.

The incident caused widespread concern in Mainland China. Many questioned whether children should be able to live abroad without parental supervision.

Parachute Kids and Bad Behavior
International Herald Tribune reported that China’s parachute children are mostly wealthy. Their parents often give them unlimited funds because they feel guilty about sending them away overseas. Many parachute children are lonely in their host countries.

A teacher named Pei Qi said that one of her Chinese student’s father own a manufacturing company in Guangzhou. His family is very rich. He drives a new sports car, and once tried to bribe Pei Qi with a new watch let him pass an exam. Pei Qi said that most of the students in private schools come from wealthy families and think they can use money to solve all their problems.

Many are worried that this kind of behavior will give a bad name to Chinese international students. Foreign Policy interviewed a number of Chinese international students in September 2015 and noted that current international students feel that, “students of the previous generation were more idealistic and patriotic.” In the 1980s, Chinese international students were either hoping to get a degree to return and serve their homeland or settle in the United States and follow their American dream.

Now Chinese students are part of the rich second generation. They pay two or three times as much as American students for tuition without complaint. They hope to study finance and business and return to China to work as investment bankers- that is the new “Chinese dream.”

Are tensions rising between Americans and international Chinese students? Local students once painted “Go Home!” on the car of a Chinese student at University of Michigan. In 2011, UCLA students made a video that made fun of Chinese students.

Source: DW News

Warning:The use of any news and articles published on without written permission from constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: China parachute children Chinese international students


All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.



Nice article.

Nov 13, 2016 20:23 Report Abuse



Usually they go to America and love it, then end up staying for many years, or they'll take some idea or experience that they've learned and turn it into a business after moving back to China...either way I'm not upset!

Nov 09, 2016 13:53 Report Abuse



Im glad they come back and have difficulties finding job when they return home. There rich spoiled kids think a degree in US will land them their dream job. Yet, when they can't, they complain "i spend x dollars and can't find my dream job." Go back to your daddy's arms and cry. We foreigners don't care

Nov 06, 2016 08:08 Report Abuse



MANY universities in Western countries have specific graduate school majors and degrees which are tailored to rich Chinese students. 'International Marketing' is a popular conceit. These are one year programs with English language support that are ghettos for non-native language speakers.

Nov 02, 2016 16:51 Report Abuse



"free" is a four letter word, in China...

Nov 02, 2016 12:46 Report Abuse



they pay two or three times the tuition as American students?! Says who?! American universities do not have specifically "international" rates for tuition. Public unis have in state and out of state tuition rates that Americans pay.

Nov 02, 2016 12:46 Report Abuse



I would tend to disagree. At my school my tuition was around 5,000 a semester. International students were paying close to 22,000 a semester.

Nov 02, 2016 21:53 Report Abuse



Bullshit liar Investing in your education at WSU Here’s a quick breakdown of how much it costs the typical undergraduate to attend WSU in Pullman. These figures are for the 2015-16 academic year and tuition is based on 10-18 credits per semester. Individual Costs Resident (WA) Non-resident (out of state) Tuition $10,916 $24,500 Mandatory Fees $1,050 $1,050 Housing (Room) $6,872* $6,872 (range: $6,430-$10,118)* Dining (Board) $4,002* $4,002 (range: $3,568-$4,498)* TOTAL COST $22,840** $36,424**

Nov 02, 2016 23:46 Report Abuse



Western countries allow millions of Chinese the opportunity to study abroad and improve their lives. What does China do for us? Nothing!

Nov 02, 2016 10:14 Report Abuse



They produce consumer goods for your day to day life, which you would not have afford otherwise.

Nov 07, 2016 16:13 Report Abuse



I try to stay away from poorly made Chinese rubbish produced in a sweat shop by child slaves.

Nov 07, 2016 18:36 Report Abuse