Holiday blues brewing for students overseas

Updated: 2014-01-03 08:32

By Peng Yining (China Daily)

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Complicated feelings

Zhang Yilin has just sent his 16-year-old son to a high school in Australia. The 45-year-old lawyer from Beijing said that in his day the high cost and complicated formalities meant overseas study wasn't an option for regular people.

"Now I can finally afford to go abroad, so I want my son to have the education and experiences I didn't have," he said. "Being apart is not easy for either of us. As a father, the only thing I can do to make it up for that is buy him a ticket back home in the holidays."

According to the CC&G report, an increasing number of Chinese students are returning to the country after finishing their education abroad. In the past five years, 800,000 have returned - a twofold rise on the total number during the previous three decades - and 90 percent of those surveyed for the report said their families were the main reason they moved back.

"My feelings are complicated; on the one hand I miss my family, on the other I don't want to waste my parents' money by flying back and forth," said Li Jincheng, a 19-year-old undergraduate in Louisiana.

Rather than return to China during this year's winter break, Li chose to travel around the US. "There were very few people on the streets during the holiday season and most of the stores were closed," he said. "On New Year's Eve, I ate pizza in a hostel by myself."

Many teenagers are unsuited to living on their own and may feel stressed in an unfamiliar environment, especially during the holiday periods. They may also feel they are being neglected, said Wu Chengyi, an adviser at an international education consultancy in Beijing.

"Parents have to make sure that their children are physically and mentally prepared to live and study by themselves before sending them off to a strange place," he said. "If the children can't come home during the holidays, the parents should pay them lots of attention by phoning, writing e-mails and sending gifts."

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Holiday blues brewing for students overseas

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