SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The growing number of Chinese students is changing the face of some American universities and stirring up controversy.
Last week, an administrator from the University of San Francisco stepped down in protest over the growing number of foreign students with limited English skills.
Sacramento’s Drexel University also actively recruits students from China.
A Drexel finance class is filled with Chinese students and only two Americans.
“Sometimes I get a little bit confused by some of the technical terms; but still, the professors are very friendly here,” said Ling Liao.
Students like Liao and Tom Fang will spend close to $55,000 on an 18-month masters program, hoping to take home a prestigious American degree. But it can take time to comprehend difficult course work.
“The largest problem is, what I want to express goes far beyond my ability to express them,” said Fang.
Considering English is Fang’s second language, he speaks quite well, but sometimes is unfamiliar with some terms that pop up.
CBS13’s Laura Cole asked what his experience was like so far, but he was unfamiliar with the word “experience.”
Drexel staff and American students admit classroom coursework is sometimes slowed.
“I do notice that some of the professors do speak a little slower,” said student Jason Singh.
“When we got in groups, one day I asked them if they understood the full lecture, and you know, they didn’t really get it. So, I tried explaining it to them a little better,” said American student Jason Won.
But, professors say there needs to be some understanding.
“If you can only imagine, you’re only 22 years old, and there’s a brand new country, and you’re operating completely in English all day long. That is challenging,” said Sandra Kirschenmann, Ed.D.
Those at Drexel say the benefits of having international students far outweigh the drawbacks.
“You’re here not to just get a degree but to get a learning experience,” said clinical assistant professor Ramya Ghosh, Ph.D.
Drexel has been aggressively recruiting Chinese students. One out of 10 students is Chinese, and school officials would like to see that number grow.
They’re reaching out to students on the Chinese equivalent of Facebook.