When the alert about an active shooter on campus came through, Zhengyang Xu, a second-year doctoral student at Michigan State University, hardly reacted.
“I looked at my phone and I just thought, ‘Okay, here we go again,'” he said. “These kinds of alerts are so common here, and we’ve seen so many news reports of shootings that I didn’t really think this one would be any different or more terrifying until more alerts started coming in.”
In the shooting incident that occurred at Michigan State University on February 13th, three students were killed and five others, including two Chinese students including Xu, were injured. One of the injured students, John Hao, 20, was left paralyzed from the neck down. Xu believes that this tragedy serves as a wake-up call, directly reminding people that the gun violence epidemic we read about in the news has become a terrifying reality in the country where they chose to pursue higher education.
Security issues that cannot be ignored
According to a survey conducted by the Institute of International Education in the fall of 2019, the issue of “personal safety in the US” saw the highest year-on-year increase among international applicants’ concerns during the 2017-2018 academic year. This coincides with a decline in the number of international students enrolling in US institutions during the same academic year.
This is also a daily concern for many international students already studying in the US. According to a survey by the World Education Services in 2019, one in four international students studying in the US is worried about gun violence at their institution. When expanded to include the housing community where the college is located, this number jumps to 37%.
International Education ResearchAccording to Rajika Bhandari, an independent consultant on research and strategy,Concerns about gun violence and personal safety have overtaken other concerns about studying in the U.S. in recent years. She said, “In a global survey, whenWhen asked about studying in the United States, we found that the lack of personal security rose to the top. The previous problems were mainly the cost of studying abroad and visa barriers, of course, these problems still exist, but the personal safety is indeed more eye-catching.”
The shooting violence that sparked the above concerns has not eased! School shootings have continued to dominate the headlines over the past few months. Last October, aUniversity of Arizona professor killed by former student Next month, threeA University of Virginia football player was fatally shot on the team bus, allegedly by a classmate. This FebruaryGunman Seriously Wounds Two International Students in Michigan State University Robbery, Further ExacerbatesFear of the International Family 。
Concerns about personal safety are not limited to school shootings. In November 2021, the University of Chicagostudent Zheng Shaoxiong was shot and killed in a street robbery. A week later, hundreds of students marched through the Chicago campus holding signs reading “We are here to study, not to die” and “Who’s next?”calling for stricter gun legislation.
Jenny Lee, a professor of educational policy studies at University of Arizona, said international students and their families are deeply troubled by the fact that studying in the United States carries a risk of shooting injuries.
Mr Bhandari said the question was whether they decided the risk was too great to bear. She said, “Whether to study abroad and where to study is usually a family decision, andsafety issues are really important… Gun violence certainly plays an important role in that decision.”
Chinese Students Are Particularly Concerned About Guns
The 2019 WEC survey found that some segments of international students studying in the United States are more aware of gun violence than others, with only one segment of Latin American and one segment of European students, respectively.25% and 32% are concerned about the problem, while South and East Asian students are up to 40%. Currently, China is the largest source of international students to the United States, but that is likely to change: according toThe 2022 IIE Open Doors Report, following a 15% decline in the 2020-21 school year,2021-22 school year ChinastudentThe number fell again by 9%.
Li, a professor at the University of Arizona, said there are many factors contributing to the loss of Chinese students besides gun violence. During the Trump administration, anti-Asian racism was rampant; Such fears were especially prevalent during the outbreak, when Asians were the targets of numerous violent crimes from New York to Atlanta.Another long-standing problem is the increasingly difficult visa process between the two countries.ShadowedThe relationship between China and the United States is getting worse.
But Professor Li pointed out that among the myriad problems, gun violence still lingers. She blamed gun control in China and other Asian countries. She said, “Especially in Asia, guns are not only hard to come by, you really can’t see them. In many Asian countries, even the police do not carry guns. That makes the sense of insecurity about guns all the more pronounced.”
An independent contractor recruiting international students for Western universitiesMr. Ashwell said the same is true of Vietnam, where he lives and works. “In Vietnam – like most Asian countries – you can’t even have a handgun,” he said. “Only the police and the military are allowed to have guns. There is no gun violence here.”
Xiaofeng Wan, associate dean of admissions and director of international admissions at Amherst College, is no stranger to the fear of international students. He came to Boston College in 2011 as an international student from China to pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration. Wan said that even then, he and his family were aware of the problem of gun violence.
Wan said the problem of gun violence has become increasingly serious since then. He regularly browses Chinese social media and newspapers, saying that news of shootings in the United States, especially college shootings or Asian victims, has aroused intense public concern, especially among parents who are interested in sending their children to study in the United States.
Mr. Wan also said that Chinese embassies and consulates often issue warnings after gun violence – as they did after the Michigan State University shooting, which set off a chain of reports and spreads on Chinese social media and news sites.
Wan Xiaofeng pointed out that “The Chinese do read and hear about these shootings; They are well aware of such things. The news is constantly changing, but the issue has always been of great concern to families. When that happens, it remains a major concern.”
Wan said that whenever there was a shooting in the United States, his parents would text him to make sure he was safe, even if the shooting occurred in Texas or California, thousands of miles away from his hometown of Amherst in western Massachusetts. He said the condition is fairly common, not just among American parents.
Wan Xiaofeng said, “It also shows how the Chinese public views the issue. No state is safe, and as long as you are in America, you are in danger of being shot.”
According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), the United States has long been the world’s largest destination for international students, and it remains so far.In 2022, nearly 1 million international students are studying at U.S. colleges and universities.
However, numerouscompetitors are keen to poach lucrative students from the U.S. market.Britain is also the top destination for international students, and Canada has also attracted a lot of interest in the country in recent years; in the academic year 2022,the
Professor Li said, “There are certainly many reasons for the rapid growth of study abroad in Canada, but one of them is that Canada does not have such a serious security problem. However, Canada also has top-notch institutions of higher learning and native English speakers – offering all the advantages of studying in the United States without any safety concerns.”
According to 2019 data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the rate of fatal shootings in the United States is eight times higher than in Canada and nearly 100 times higher than in the United Kingdom.
单击 “编辑” 按钮更改此文本。这是测试文本。Xu Zhenyang has been pursuing his doctoral degree at Michigan State University for two years, after obtaining a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He said his decision was more or less influenced by American violence and racial issues: “Many UBC international students do talk about choosing to study in Canada because it’s safer there. When we were recruiting doctoral candidates for MSU, two Chinese candidates called and asked directly after the shooting incident, ‘Do you think MSU is safe?'”
According to data from the International Student and Scholar Office at Michigan State University, the school has a total of 4,265 international students, over 2,300 of whom are from China. Although there has been a decline in recent years, this is still a huge group of international students. At its peak in the past few years, as many as 15% of Michigan State University students were from overseas, with Ch
For many potential international students, Ashwell says the benefits of going to college in America still outweigh the costs. He said, “Safety is certainly a focus, but for most students and their parents, it is not the deciding factor. I find that most of the households I work with see it as a price-performance measure, and most still see the benefits as outweighing the risks.”
Xu agreed, but pointed out that at least in China, gun violence has the potential to break the price-performance model. He said, “The core concern of most families is the prestige and quality of education, so I don’t think the gun issue will cause a drop in enrollment. However, if the problem worsens or exacerbates the parents’ worries, it can have a real negative impact.”
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