Stay in the US or return home? See what the international students feel!


Several times when I ate with several groups of people in New York, I met graduating masters, doctors and undergraduates. Most of the things that everyone gathered together to discuss revolved around where to focus on my future career.

When Professor Liu Yu was studying abroad, she said that every Chinese person she met was Mrs. Xianglin, who kept asking “Do you want to go back to China in the future?”

And as opportunities for international exchanges and cooperation continue to open up, “return” or “not return”, for international students, does not seem to be an all-or-nothing choice. Returnees can stay uncomfortable and float again. past.

But after careful consideration, it is not that simple. The diversity of opportunities makes people more entangled.

Comparison of domestic and foreign markets

The domestic and foreign job markets are mixed, the fragmented quality of life, and the cultural differences have become important factors that need to be considered.

The starting platform for a career generally needs to be coherent, whether to open up a piece of the “American Dream” or come back to refresh your “Chinese Dream” has become a multiple choice question that international students have to do at the time of graduation.

I think of my first trip to the United States at the age of fifteen. When I got off the San Francisco airport, I couldn’t believe that this is the “capitalist camp”: “the most developed country in the world.” It looked like a low-rise building, and people were relaxed and determined. The accent, the sea breeze slowly, white clouds blooming.

Of course, the smog in the country was not that serious at that time, and the blue sky and white clouds did not seem so “expensive as oil.”

I have lived together for a year with a white couple in their early forties living in the United States. I feel that their “American Dream” is the high-level version of our “one acre of land, two cows, and a wife and children on the bed”: the husband runs a family. In the sailing shop, the wife is a full-time wife and has two children. She is comfortable and self-sufficient.

For international students who are familiar with these pictures, this kind of life seems to be less hopeful and passionate.

American writer James Truslow Adams gave a more open definition of “American Dream” in his book “American Epic”:

“In the United States, everyone can live a richer and more fulfilling life because opportunities become equal. There is no longer a European-style upper class to regulate the social order, but to give individuals the opportunity to compete freely so that people can pass themselves The efforts to achieve success and wealth, and to achieve effective social mobility.”

But in the eyes of some Americans, the current American dream may no longer be “liberalism” that contradicts the so-called old European “elitism”, but has become more “neoliberalism” and value accumulation of wealth.

But after the financial crisis, not only the poor were clamoring for social inequality, but even the middle class began to complain about their hardship.

Many American friends have mentioned to me that cracks in the American system that once convinced them to believe in it are also beginning to appear.

Especially after the economic downturn in recent years, the waves of “Occupy” (Occupy) of various cities have been one after another. Many Americans have also doubted the superiority and stability of the system such as “freedom” and “fairness.”

The relative “Chinese Dream” also has the pursuit of “live”, but for many people it seems to have an extra social responsibility and cultural appeal.

When it comes to reality, there are probably three differences.

Working atmosphere

Let’s talk about the working atmosphere first. Although most companies in the United States have office politics of this kind, in general, the exchanges between colleagues are relatively simple, and they are quite easy-going with their superiors.

In the American company where I used to intern, the subordinates can openly challenge the superiors, and the subordinates feel that something is wrong with the superiors, and they can point out that this is not uncommon. If it is appropriate, it is very likely to be praised by the big boss.

A friend of mine, Ms. Bai, worked in a domestic accounting firm for a foreign company when she went abroad. Talking about the domestic corporate atmosphere, she feels less relaxed and casual, especially when it comes to dealing with people, for example, she pays great attention to leadership. The title.

Another Mr. Lin, who has worked for science and technology companies in China and the United States for almost ten years, said that Chinese companies emphasize the hierarchy of power, while the United States pays more attention to actual economic benefits.

There are many rules and regulations to pay attention to in Chinese companies. For example, it is necessary to reply “yes” instead of “right” to the leaders. You cannot use “communication” but “report”.

But in fact, American companies are not as transparent as a crystal ball.

I heard a lady complaining about the arrogant attitude of the supervisor at work and sometimes minor harassment at a private party.

After she leaped and reported to the report, the personnel department basically closed its eyes and dragged its eyes. It was not until the big boss of the company rectified personnel affairs last month that this matter was stabbed out again before being seriously dealt with. The supervisor was naturally kicked. OUT.

Everything in China is laid in the net pocket of relations, and the United States is not so good at breaking through the ceiling of Chinese Americans. Bad things at work are not uncommon everywhere.

Material reward

It is said that the life of a class with an annual salary of one million (RMB) in China is roughly as follows:

There are two or three sets of hand-made work suits, wearing Ferragamo or Zegna shoes bought from European and American outlets.

A man drives a BMW X3 or a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and feels like he is already “freshly dressed.” Ladies generally can afford to store half a dozen big-name entry-level bags, but no matter how expensive they are, they can’t do well.

Traveling abroad once or twice a year, and then the remaining money can afford a house worth more than six million yuan, which allows the family to lead a decent life, but the pressure of work often squeezes most of the time and can’t afford to raise energy at all To open the skylight of life.

In comparison, in the United States, a person with an annual income of 200,000 U.S. dollars can be regarded as an upper middle class in New York and the Bay Area. Even if they start from scratch, they can still borrow money. Affordable school district room townhouse, affordable usual small expenses, ski slopes on weekends.

And in the Midwest, it is definitely a local tyrant. Renting a helicopter can go around your own farm for a week.

And the same job with an annual salary of one million in China or starting at 200,000 US dollars in the United States is not so easy to find, and it is basically in the high end of the pyramid of the professional field.

And returnees at this level may say that although the domestic competition is under great pressure, they have lived a “cultural journey”. If they want to watch a drama or listen to a cross talk, they will immediately walk away and talk to the two brothers. , Three hundred and sixty-five kinds of tea flavors, all a few blocks away from coffee.

Also in the United States, they would stomped their feet and stated the superiority of life one by one. For example, the matter of jumping in line is basically insulated, everyone is polite, and Broadway plays are performed all over the United States, which is not inferior at all.

Therefore, in terms of quality of life, it can be said that the benevolent see benevolence, and the wise see wisdom.

Social recognition

What goes with the quality of life is social recognition, but this thing is more mysterious than the quality of life. Must the Chinese who work and live abroad cannot integrate into the mainstream society?

I know many first-generation Chinese who came to the United States through studying abroad. They can get along with people of all ethnicities in community activities and making friends.

When it comes to identity, in the final analysis, it is the psychological feeling of a comfort zone (comfort zone), and it is not a manifestation of a sense of identity to live comfortably.

Many well-known overseas returnees talk about their experience of returning to China in the media, and they basically feel that they have more superiority than abroad, and their material and spiritual security is stronger in their own countries.

Even if you are in the middle class abroad, you can make a score when you return to your country, and go to the upper class to make soy sauce. Some accidentally become mentors respected by young people.

However, not everyone who returns to the country can have good luck, and the number of returnees has increased in recent years. Domestic companies may not particularly value the reputation of overseas schools for their employees, but rather value the actual experience and resources they can bring.

“You can’t blame the society for a little back.” What really flourishes in the domestic circle requires not only a golden diploma, but also solid experience and industry resources.

In fact, the choice between the “American Dream” and the “Chinese Dream” is not a “zero-sum” deadlock.

Whether in the so-called “good mountains and rivers, so boring” in the United States, or in the so-called “so dirty, messy, and happy” China, it is possible to enter a kind of “something new, different” described by Fitzgerald. Ordinary, with a touch of beauty, simple enough to grasp the paradigm of life and work.

The key lies in the personal value orientation.

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