Studying abroad has great benefits for developing kids

By Liu Lulu Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/5 21:28:39

An article of your newspaper discussed "parachute kids" last week, and concluded that parents who send their children to overseas high schools are "abusing" them. Although I'm also reluctant to say that parting from parents at a young age is a good thing for children, I don't agree with the author.

Admittedly, sending teenagers overseas alone, where cultures are totally different from the home country, brings a number of problems. Adolescence is a key stage for a child to form his or her values where parents should play a vital role. Teenagers may find themselves lost if separated from their parents for a long time, which may result in some terrible consequences. Campus bullying is now a serious phenomenon that cannot be ignored. Connections between kids and parents may be damaged as well. In addition, a lack of parental supervision means that children must have stronger self-control to surpass their peers in study.

Despite the above, sending children to overseas high school is not "dumping" or "abusing" kids. Students sent overseas at a young age are much more adaptable to a new environment than their domestic counterparts. Unlike Chinese high schools, education in foreign countries, especially developed ones, pays much more attention to students' communication skills, social competence and organizational capability than their performances in academic exams. While Chinese students stay late at night to figure out a math puzzle, the "dumped" teenagers have learned to get along with others, take care of themselves and survive in a new environment. "Dumping" teenagers is a way to force them to be independent.

The author asserted that improving "job prospects" is the main reason why Chinese parents send their children overseas. The author is narrow-minded to judge the success of education entirely by payment back home. Social experiences are much more important for students' future career in the long run. In addition, those with enriched experiences tend to be more broad-minded and emotionally healthy, which is essential for a person's sustainable development.

The author argues that parents' emotional reasoning of sending kids overseas being an "ultimate act of love" is "not only flawed but borderline delusional." This is arbitrary. It cannot be denied that parents have made a huge sacrifice, both emotionally and financially, for their kids' future. An increasing number of children from ordinary families have been sent overseas for education, for which their parents have to bear heavy economic burdens. Separating from children is an emotional torture for parents as well. They should never be called "unfit" to be parents given their great contributions.

Their efforts will be paid back. Kids will value and be grateful to the sacrifices their parents made for them, and as a result, will be motivated to study harder. Parental love will be an impetus for students to be stronger and have more willpower in their study and life overseas.

The author links "parachute" kids to campus bullying. Admittedly, too much freedom is a "formula for disaster" in some cases. However, it should be pointed out that campus bullying is increasingly rampant in China as well.

Worse still, some domestic "culprits" are freed from punishment because of the loose management and imperfect legal system back at home. Campus bullying is a severe problem, but fortunately, it has now attracted a great deal of attention.

People should be more open-minded and view "parachute" kids from a more positive perspective. Parents should take both shortcomings and benefits into full consideration before sending their teenage boys or girls to overseas high schools.

Liu Lulu, a free-lance writer based in Beijing

Posted in: LETTERS

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