Between its heartland location, pep rallies, and vast network of sororities and fraternities, the University of Illinois may appear as American as apple pie. However, a recent Inside Higher Ed article highlights a new trend that’s reshaping this once quintessentially Yankee institution: a massive influx of students from China.
According to the article, which was entitled “The University of China at Illinois," the university has more Chinese students than any other college in America.
That distinction is especially startling considering that the number of Chinese university students enrolling in US schools has jumped fivefold in the last 14 years.
Illinois’ figures are even more surprising because they were not led by grad students (the once dominant PRC student body), but rather undergraduates. Compared to 37 Chinese undergrads in 2000, the University of Illinois now counts 2,898. That means 10 percent of the university’s freshman class is made up of mainland Chinese, surpassing the number of American freshmen from any single state except Illinois and California.
The large number of Chinese students have already impacted the university in a variety of ways. Some of those changes are amusing, from a student club that has created its own version of the CCTV dating show Fei Cheng Wu Rao to a heated debate about the merits of white rice over brown.
The demographic shift has also lead to a change in services, such as vastly expanded ESL resources, several orientation sessions in China, and even an airport shuttle.
However, the article also highlights the prejudices that these Chinese students are facing, not only from their Caucasian peers but also from their Asian-American co-eds.
See the full article here.