Why are Chinese students often in a group, instead of trying to fit into the foreign society?
Because we are fundamentally different.
I didn’t notice this until it’s the 6th year I study in western countries. Unlike many Chinese students I had no problem with English or at least say my English is not too bad to be friend with.
After 6 years in Canada and Australia I realised that it is NOT difficult to be friend with Canadians or Australians in general. It is particularly difficult to make friend with white people. I’ve actually counted. I have about 20 friends in Canada, all of them are at least second generation immigrants, none of them white. I stayed with family when I was in Canada so that could be a cause since it limits my social circles. And then I moved to Australia, I ’ve chosen to stay in a residential college (dorm) and I noticed that every time when we gather in the dining hall for meals, the white people stay together and all the people with colours (international students or not) stay together. My best friends there in Australia are both 2nd generation immigrants. One is Filipino-Australian, one is Egyptian/Portugal-Australian muslim. Both of them are great, and both of them lack of white friends.
The residential college which I stayed have exchange students from US every term. Some of them are white, some of them are not. I remember there were 2 Chinese-Americans, 1 Half-Japanese American and a Moroccan international students in one of the many exchange groups. And the funny thing is, when we gather for dinner or college ball or any other events, the 2 Chinese-Americans, the Half-Japanese American and the Moroccan students stay with us, the colored-international students. And other white people, no matter whether they are Australian, American or Norwegian, French, British, they gather together. It’s not like the white people don’t talk to us, we talk and we laugh together and most of the times they don’t behave any racist to me/us. But just when this kind of social event happens, they don’t like to be with us. It’s all so natural, just like that, they WANT to be one of their own.
I was surprised when I found this out. And now I’m in UK, my first and best friend is from Nigeria.
I’m not interested in blaming the white people in general cuz I’m not stupid racist and I know many of them are actually wonderful wonderful people. What I want to point out is that, there are far deeper ideological differences or even conflicts between the white people and us the people of colours. There are hundreds of times when we discuss about politics (I majored in this so I have to), arts, current affairs, culture, and the white people just go like “yea that’s your thing” (unconsciously alienating me and whatever I say). And I’ve heard many many times that they gossip behind me saying that I’m brain washed just because I agreed with our American professor who says that there’s a lot of problems in the US style democracy system. And also when our political philosophy professor says that Australian society is nowhere near equal (because 95% of the students in that class room when he speaks went to private high school) I heard white students called him nuts and saying he’s got paid by Russia and China. I mean, seriously??
Frankly speaking, personally I think people with colours are more open-minded and more friendly towards things that they’re not familiar with. The white people I knew, especially in their early 20s, are still trying to live in a traditional white-fairy style comfort zone which blocked their view of the world. If they’re going to be like this forever, man, its so da*n difficult to be friend with them.