Chinese students question futures in U.S. after fatal Asiana Airlines crash

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) photo shows Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California. Credit: Reuters
U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) photo shows Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, California. Credit: Reuters

The Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash that killed three Chinese teens, Wang Linjia, Ye Mengyuan and Liu Yipeng, and injured more than 180 passengers at San Francisco International Airport on July 6 has stimulated fiery debates online in China, with other international students now questioning whether to pursue an education in the U.S.

All three girls killed in the accident were from the same high school in Zhejiang Province, an affluent coastal province in China. They were among 34 high school students from Jiangshan School heading for a summer camp at West Valley Christian School outside of Los Angeles. This is the second tragic loss of Chinese students’ lives in the U.S. in just three months. Just weeks before the crash in San Francisco,  Boston University student Lu Lingzi was killed after a bomb went off near where she was watching the Boston Marathon with friends.

The incidents have given students a heightened awareness when it comes to safety while in a foreign country. Due to the “one child policy” in China, all three victims of the crash were very likely to have been their parents’ only children, as was Lu.

“It is very tragic because children are not supposed to die before their parents,”  said Cheng Renduo, a senior studying architecture in Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. “They might spend the rest of their lives in deep sorrow.”

There are about 764,495 international students studying in the U.S., according to an Open Doors 2012 report by the Institute of International Education. China ranks first in sending students abroad to the U.S., with a total of 194,029 Chinese students in the country in 2012. Students told Metro that despite the heartbreaking accident, they won’t be deterred from studying in the U.S. “It doesn’t make sense to stop doing what you have always wanted to do because of a plane crash,” said Bai Xiaqing, a junior at the University of Minnesota obtaining a double degree in psychology and economics.

Even in the wake of the crash and public scrutiny, students said they tend to consider it a special case and aren’t letting fear get in the way of pursuing their college degrees in the U.S.  “I believe it is just an accident,” said Chinese student Chen Feida, a junior at the University of Minnesota studying chemical engineering. “If someone got hit by a car while he is walking on the street, it doesn’t mean we should not walk on the street anymore.”

High price for higher education

International activities aimed at cultural immersion and improving English skills have become an increasingly popular activity for well-off families in China. The majority of Chinese students studying in the U.S. rely primarily on family funds. Most are not eligible for borrowing money for their education from the U.S. government, so it is usually a family decision when it comes to whether or not they will study abroad. The Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash has lead parents to question the risks of sending their children away from home.

“It costs a lot of money to send a child onto such programs,” Bai said. “For some parents in China, they have to even utilize a huge portion of their money to send their children abroad.”

Cheng said it would cost at least one million Yuan (approximately $162,999) for him to complete a U.S undergraduate degree. Like Wang Linjia, Ye Mengyuan and Liu Yipeng,  he went on a summer camp in the U.S. when he 16-years-old, where he toured west coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. “I was able to see the U.S. in person and formed a preliminary impression of this country,” he said of his experience. For other students, their motivation is simple: to get a better chance at admission at the most selective American colleges.

“I think the girls came here to fulfill their dreams,” Chen said of the crash victims. “They wanted to experience a different culture and lifestyle, and to gain an advantage in their dream of going to an American college.”

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…