Chinese college students in the U.S., with Yingyi Ma


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This week on Sinica, Kaiser chats with Yingyi Ma, an associate professor of sociology at Syracuse University and the author of the book Ambitious and Anxious: How Chinese College Students Succeed and Struggle in American Higher Education. Yingyi’s book, which focuses on the specific experiences of Chinese undergraduates, examines the push-and-pull factors that have made studying abroad and studying in the U.S. in particular a “new education gospel” for many parents in China. She discusses why after 2006 Chinese students surged into American colleges and universities, and how despite their eagerness to build “cosmopolitan capital” by studying in the U.S., they’ve faced challenges in navigating American higher education.

6:56: A duality of ambition and anxiety

13:00: “Cosmopolitan capital” and globalization

39:57: The sacrifices made by Chinese families and researchers

43:58: American higher education and Chinese undergraduate students

46:14: With regard to education, the grass is always greener on the other side


Yingyi: Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise, by Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell, the popular Chinese-language podcast Story FM, and the Chinese TV show A Love for Separation.

Kaiser: The app Weee!, specializing in Asian and Hispanic food delivery.