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The China Conundrum 中国迷
来源:  发布时间:2011-11-07 00:00:00  点击:717
ByTOM BARTLETT and KARIN FISCHER
Published: November 3, 2011, The New York Times
This article is a collaboration between The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education a daily source of news opinion and commentary for professors administrators and others interested in academe. Tom Bartlett is a senior writer at The Chronicle covering ideas and research; Karin Fischer is a senior reporter covering international education.
 
本文由《纽约时报》和《高等教育纪事》合作完成。《高等教育纪事》是教授,管理人员及其他对学术界感兴趣人士日常新闻,观点和评论的资料来源。汤姆·巴特利特是高等教育纪事有关思想和研究方面的资深作者;卡琳·费舍尔是国际教育方面的高级记者。
 
Dozens of new students crowded into a lobby of the University of Delaware’s student center at the start of the school year. Many were stylishly attired in distressed jeans and bright-colored sneakers; half tapped away silently on smart phones while the rest engaged in boisterous conversations. Eavesdropping on those conversations however would have been difficult for an observer not fluent in Mandarin. That’s because with the exception of one lost-looking soul from Colombia all the students were from China.
 
学年开始了,数十名新生挤在特拉华大学学生中心的大厅里。许多人穿着时髦的水磨牛仔裤和鲜艳的运动鞋;一半的人默默按着智能手机,其余的则在热烈的交谈。然而一个普通话不熟的人偷听这些谈话可不容易,因为除了一个来自哥伦比亚的学生外,其他所有人都来自中国。
 
Among them was Yisu Fan whose flight from Shanghai had arrived six hours earlier. Too excited to sleep he had stayed up all night waiting for orientation at the English Language Institute to begin. Like nearly all the Chinese students at Delaware Mr. Fan was conditionally admitted — that is he can begin taking university classes once he successfully completes an English program. He plans to major in finance and after graduation to return home and work for his father’s construction company. He was wearing hip dark-framed glasses and a dog tag around his neck with a Chinese dragon on it. He chose to attend college more than 7 000 miles from home Mr. Fan said because “the Americans their education is very good.”
 
范逸苏是其中之一,他六小时前从上海飞来这里。他兴奋的彻夜未眠,等待着英语语言学院的报到。和几乎所有其他特拉华大学的中国学生一样,范同学被有条件入取——就是:在他成功完成一项英语课程后才能开始大学课程。他打算主修金融,结业回国后为爸爸的建筑公司工作。他戴着赶时髦的黑框眼镜,脖子上挂着一条有中国龙的护身符。他说他选择离家7000英里外的大学读书是因为“美国人的教育非常好”。
 
That opinion is widely shared in China which is part of the reason the number of Chinese undergraduates in the United States has tripled in just three years to 40 000 making them the largest group of foreign students at American colleges. While other countries like South Korea and India have for many years sent high numbers of undergraduates to the United States it’s the sudden and startling uptick in applicants from China that has caused a stir at universities — many of them big public institutions with special English-language programs — that are particularly welcoming toward international students. Universities like Delaware where the number of Chinese students has leapt to 517 this year from 8 in 2007.
 
这种看法在中国流传甚广,是赴美中国学生数量三年来翻了三倍的部分原因,总数达到四万人,成为美国高校最大外国学生群体。虽然其他国家像韩国和印度,多年来向美国输出了大量学生,然而中国申请人数突然令人惊讶的上升引起了大学的震动。其中很多,提供特别英语课程的大型公立大学尤其欢迎国际学生。像特拉华大学,中国学生的数量从2007年的8人激增到今年的517人。
 
The students are mostly from China’s rapidly expanding middle class and can afford to pay full tuition a godsend for universities that have faced sharp budget cuts in recent years. But what seems at first glance a boon for colleges and students alike is on closer inspection a tricky fit for both.
 
学生大多来自中国迅速扩大的中产阶级,付得起全额学费,是那些近年来面临预算削减的大学的天赐良机。乍看之下对大学和学生都是福音,深入观察,对两者都很棘手。
 
Colleges eager to bolster their diversity and expand their international appeal have rushed to recruit in China where fierce competition for seats at Chinese universities and an aggressive admissions-agent industry feed a frenzy to land spots on American campuses. College officials and consultants say they are seeing widespread fabrication on applications whether that means a personal essay written by an agent or an English proficiency score that doesn’t jibe with a student’s speaking ability. American colleges new to the Chinese market struggle to distinguish between good applicants and those who are too good to be true.
 
大学渴望支持它们的多样性,扩展它们的国际性,匆忙在中国招生。那里考大学竞争激烈,欣欣向荣的留学代理业掀起一片美国留学潮。大学官员和顾问们说,他们发现大量捏造的入学申请,这意味着不管一份代理人写的个人申请还是英文成绩,和学生的口语能力都不太一致。刚进入中国市场的美国大学,挣扎于分辨优秀的申请人和那些好的不真实的申请人。
 
Once in the classroom students with limited English labor to keep up with discussions. And though they’re excelling struggling and failing at the same rate as their American counterparts some professors say they have had to alter how they teach.
 
在课堂上,英语能力有限的学生试图跟上讨论。虽然他们优秀,努力,但还是和他们美国同学不在一个级别,一些教授说他们不得不改变授课方式。
 
Colleges have been slow to adjust to the challenges they’ve encountered but are beginning to try new strategies both to better acclimate students and to deal with the application problems. The onus is on them says Jiang Xueqin deputy principal of Peking University High School one of Beijing’s top schools and director of its international division. “Are American universities unhappy? Because Chinese students and parents aren’t.”
 
学校在适应他们遇到的挑战上已经慢了,但也开始尝试一些新策略,在让学生更好的适应环境和处理入学申请问题上。责任在他们,北京顶级学校之一,北大附中副校长,国际部主任江学勤说。“美国大学不高兴?因为中国学生和家长不高兴。”
 
“Nothing will change ” Mr. Jiang says “unless American colleges make it clear to students and parents that it has to.”
 
“什么也不会改变,”江先生说,“除非美国学校把它本该说明的东西向学生和家长解释清楚。”
 
WENTING TANG is quick to laugh listens to high-energy bands like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and OK Go and describes herself on her Facebook page as “really really fun” and “really really serious.” Ms. Tang a junior majoring in management and international business speaks confident if not flawless English. That wasn’t always the case. When she applied to the University of Delaware her English was in her estimation very poor.
 
唐文婷爱笑,听着如红衫军乐队和OK Go之类的摇滚,在脸书上描述自己“非常非常搞笑”又“非常非常严肃”。唐小姐,这位国际贸易管理专业的大三学生,英语言谈中带着自信,如果算不上无暇的话。一开始不是这样的,她申请特拉华大学的时候,她的英语据她自己估计,非常差。
 
Ms. Tang who went to high school in Shanghai didn’t exactly choose to attend Delaware a public institution of about 21 000 students that admits about half its applicants — and counts Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. among prominent graduates. Ms. Tang’s mother wanted her to attend college in the United States and so they visited the offices of a dozen or more agents patiently listening to their promises and stories of success.
 
唐小姐在上海念的高中,曾并不确定选择念特拉华,这个通过率大约50%,拥有21000名学生的公立大学——副总统约瑟夫·拜登是杰出校友之一。唐小姐的妈妈希望她在美国念大学,所以她们考察了十几个或者可能更多的留学代理机构,耐心地听了他们的承诺和成功案例。
 
Her mother chose an agency that suggested Delaware and helped Ms. Tang fill out her application guiding her through a process that otherwise would have been bewildering. Because her English wasn’t good enough to write the admissions essay staff members at the agency which charged her $4 000 asked her questions about herself in Chinese and produced an essay. (Test prep was another $3 300.)
 
妈妈选择了一家提议特拉华,并帮唐小姐填写申请,给她提供整个流程指导,否则(没有指导这些流程将)混乱不堪,的代理机构。因为她的英语还不够好到写申请信,这家代理的职员,收了她4000美元,用中文问她问题后写了一篇申请。(测试准备另收3300美元。)
 
Now that she can write in English herself she doesn’t think much of what the employees wrote. But it served its purpose: she was admitted and spent six months in the English-language program before beginning freshman classes. And despite bumps along the way she’s getting good grades and enjoying college life. As for allowing an agent to write her essay she sees that decision in pragmatic terms: “At that time my English not better as now.”
 
现在她能自己用英文写作了,记不起太多那些职员写的内容。但是它达到了目的:她被录取了,在一年级课程之前读了半年英语课程。不管方式如何,她享受校园生活,取得了良好的成绩。至于让职员写她的申请,她认为这是个现实的决定:“那时候我的英语不像现在这样好。”
 
Most Chinese students who are enrolled at American colleges turn to intermediaries to shepherd them through the admissions process according to a study by researchers at Iowa State University published in the Journal of College Admission.
 
根据爱荷华州立大学研究人员发表在大学招生期刊上的一份研究,大部分进入美国大学的中国学生求助于中介,来引导他们走过整个申请流程。
 
Education agents have long played a role in sending Chinese students abroad dating back decades to a time when American dollars were forbidden in China and only agents could secure the currency to pay tuition. Admission experts say they can provide an important service acting as guides to an application process that can seem totally well foreign. Application materials are frequently printed only in English. Chinese students often are baffled by the emphasis on extracurriculars and may have never written a personal essay. Requiring recommendations from guidance counselors makes little sense in a country where few high schools have one on staff. Many assume the U.S. News & World Report rankings issue is an official government publication.
 
教育代理机构在将中国学生送出国方面扮演了一个长期角色,追溯到几十年前,当时美元在中国被禁止,只有代理能够保证支付学费的货币。招生专家说他们能提供一项重要服务,引导申请流程看起来完好地像外国那样行事。打印频繁的申请材料仅用英文。中国学生常被强调课余活动,以及从未写过一篇个人论文所困扰。在一个高中职员中很少有辅导员的国家,从辅导员处获得建议毫无意义。很多人认为《美国新闻与世界报道》的学校排名是官方发布的。
 
But while there are certainly aboveboard agents and applications other recruiters engage in fraudulent behavior. An administrator at one high school in Beijing says agents falsified her school’s letterhead to produce doctored transcripts and counterfeit letters of recommendation which she discovered when a parent called to complain about being charged a fee by an agent for documents from the school. James E. Lewis director of international admissions and recruiting at Kansas State University says he once got a clutch of applications clearly submitted by a single agent with all fees charged to the same bank branch although the students came from several far-flung cities. The grades on three of the five transcripts he says were identical.
 
但有一些光明正大的代理机构和申请的同时,另一些招生者从事欺诈行为。北京一所高中的管理人员说,代理伪造她学校的信头来伪造成绩单和推荐信,当时一位家长打电话抱怨一个代理收了他学校材料费时,她发现了。詹姆斯·刘易斯,堪萨斯州立大学国际招生部主管,说他曾经收到明显来自一家代理的一堆申请,由同一个银行户头收费,虽然学生来自几个不同相隔甚远的城市。五份申请中的三份上的成绩,他说,是相同的。
 
Zinch China a consulting company that advises American colleges and universities about China last year published a report based on interviews with 250 Beijing high school students bound for the United States their parents and a dozen agents and admissions consultants. The company concluded that 90 percent of Chinese applicants submit false recommendations 70 percent have other people write their personal essays 50 percent have forged high school transcripts and 10 percent list academic awards and other achievements they did not receive. The “tide of application fraud ” the report predicted will likely only worsen as more students go to America.
 
Zinch中国,一个在中国推荐美国大学的顾问公司,去年发布一份基于250名准备赴美的北京高中生,他们的父母以及数十家代理和入学顾问机构的调查报告。公司总结到,90%的中国申请者提交了错误的推荐信,70%的个人论文由他人代劳,50%的人篡改了高中成绩,10%的人列出了他们从未得到的奖励和成绩。“申请欺诈潮”,报告指出,因为更多的学生去美洲而变的更坏。
 
Tom Melcher Zinch China’s chairman and the report’s author says it’s simplistic to vilify agents who provide these services. They’re responding he says to the demands of students and parents.
 
汤姆·梅尔彻,Zinch中国的主席和报告的作者,说没有丑化这些提供服务的代理这么简单。他们回应,他说,是学生和家长的要求。
 
Thanks to China’s one-child policy today’s college students are part of a generation of singletons and their newly affluent parents — and in all likelihood both sets of grandparents — are deeply invested in their success. At Aoji Education Group a large college counseling company based in China one of the most popular services is the guaranteed-placement package: apply to five colleges and get your money back if you’re not accepted at any of your choices. “If a student isn’t placed we’ve got screaming yelling parents in the lobby ” says Kathryn Ohehir who works in the company’s American admissions department in Beijing. “They don’t want their money back. They want their kid in an Ivy League school.”
 
感谢中国的独生子女政策,今天的大学生是独生一代的一部分,他们的新富父母们——很可能他们的爷爷奶奶外公外婆们,都为他们的成功投入巨大。在澳际教育集团,一家位于中国的大型大学顾问服务公司,一项最受欢迎的服务是保证安置方案:申请五家大学,如果没有被你选择的任何一家大学入取则退款。“如果孩子没入取,大堂里的父母大呼小叫,”在北京的公司美洲入学部工作的凯瑟琳·欧海尔说,“他们不想要回他们的钱,他们想让他们的孩子进一家常春藤盟校。”
 
Students in China’s test-centric culture spend most of their high school years studying for the gao kao the college entrance exam that is the sole determining factor in whether students win a coveted spot at one of China’s oversubscribed universities. So it’s not unusual for those who want to study in the United States to spend months cramming for the SAT and the Test of English as a Foreign Language or Toefl which most campuses require for admission.
 
中国以考试为中心的学生们花费了大量的学习时间在高考上。高考是学生是否能在中国僧多粥少的大学中赢得一席之地的唯一决定因素。所以对那些想在美国念书的学生,在SAT和做为外语的英语测试,大部分学校入学必需的托福上花费几个月的苦学,是不寻常的。
 
Patricia J. Parker assistant director of admissions at Iowa State which enrolls more than 1 200 Chinese undergraduates says students have proudly told her about memorizing thousands of vocabulary words studying scripted responses to verbal questions and learning shortcuts that help them guess correct answers.
 
柏崔西·帕克,招收了超过1200名中国学生的爱荷华州立大学招生部助理,说学生自豪的告诉她记住了上万个词汇,对问题照本宣科的答案和捷径的学习帮助他们猜出正确的答案。
 
She has seen conditionally admitted students increase their Toefl scores by 30 or 40 points out of a possible 120 after a summer break despite no significant improvement in their ability to speak English. Her students she says don’t see this intense test-prepping as problematic: “They think the goal is to pass the test. They’re studying for the test not studying English.”
 
她曾见过有条件入取的学生在一个暑假后,总分120的托福成绩增加了30或40分,虽然他们的英语口语没有明显改善。她的学生,她说,没有看到这么紧张的考试准备有问题:“他们觉得目标是通过测试。他们为测试而学,不是在学英语。”
 
Ms. Parker estimates she contacts the Educational Testing Services the nonprofit group that is in charge of the Toefl every other day during the admissions season to investigate suspicious scores. Like many educators she would like to see changes to make it harder to beat the exam.
 
帕克女士打算联系负责托福的非盈利组织教育考试服务中心,在招生季节隔日调查可疑的分数。像很多教育家那样,她希望看到变化使得考试难以通过。
 
At Kansas State this fall several Chinese students showed up for classes but did not match the security photos that were snapped when they supposedly took the Toefl months earlier. E.T.S. says it takes additional precautions such as collecting handwriting samples to reduce the chance that students will hire someone to slip in in their stead after breaks. If cheating is found E.T.S. policy is to cancel a score but the organization won’t say how often that happens and where. Kansas State too won’t comment on disciplinary measures but it has named a committee to draft a policy on dealing with fraud on the Toefl. Says Mr. Lewis the international admissions director “It’s very hard sitting here at a desk in the U.S. to judge what’s fraudulent.”
 
在堪萨斯州立大学的这个秋季学期,几个中国学生出现在课堂,但是和本应一致的几个月前参加托福的身份照片不匹配。教育考试服务中心说采取了额外的措施,比如收集笔迹样本以减少学生雇佣他人中途休息后悄悄进来替考的机会。如果发现作弊,教育服务中心的做法是取消成绩,但是中心没有投入它发生的频率和地点。堪萨斯州立大学就惩罚措施未发表评论,但已任命了一个委员会来起草处理托福作假的政策。国际招生部主管刘易斯先生说,“坐在美国的这张桌子前很难断定哪些是欺诈。”
 
DURING this past September’s orientation on the University of Delaware’s Newark campus Scott Stevens director of the English Language Institute stood on stage in front of a mostly filled theater. Behind him on a large screen was a stock photo of two white college students seated at desks. The male student was leaning over to look at the female student’s paper. “We are original so that means we never cheat!” Dr. Stevens told the audience of primarily Chinese students mixing compliments and warnings. “You are all very intelligent. Use that intelligence to write your own papers.”
 
在过去的今年九月特拉华大学纽瓦克校区的报到日上,英语语言学院主管斯科特·斯蒂文站在几乎占满剧院的舞台前。他后面的大屏幕上是一张两个白人大学生坐在课桌前的照片。男同学俯身看着女同学的卷子。“我们是新人,所以这意味着我们没有欺骗!”斯蒂文博士告诉主要是中国学生的观众,致意中混合着警告。“你们都很聪明,用这份聪明做自己的卷子。”
 
Dr. Stevens has worked at the language institute since 1982. As the program has swelled in the last few years the institute has outgrown its main building and expanded to classroom space behind the International House of Pancakes on the campus’s main drag. Watching Dr. Stevens over the course of a day it’s clear that he is a man with more tasks than time. It’s also clear that he’s proud of his well-regarded institute and that he cares about students. He gives out his cellphone number and tells them to call any time even in the middle of the night if they need him.
 
斯蒂文博士从1982年起就在语言学院工作。由于过去几年课程的膨胀,学院已经发展出了自己的主楼,把教室扩展到了校园主要活动区国际连锁薄饼屋的后面。观察斯蒂文博士一天的工作过程,明显他是一个有干不完的活的人,同样明显的是他为他受尊敬的学院自豪,他关心学生们。他提供了他的手机号,告诉他们如果需要,在任何时间给他打电话,甚至是午夜。
 
But he is candid about the challenges Delaware is facing as the population of Chinese students has grown from a handful to hundreds. Confronting plagiarism is near the top of the list. Dr. Stevens remembers how one student memorized four Wikipedia entries so he could regurgitate whichever one seemed most appropriate on an in-class essay — an impressive if misguided feat. American concepts of intellectual property don’t translate readily to students from a country where individualism is anathema. (In the language program Dr. Stevens says there has been no surge in formal disciplinary actions as instructors prefer to handle questions of plagiarism in the classroom.)
 
但他坦言特拉华面对中国学生人数从屈指可数到数百的挑战。防治抄袭几乎是列表上首要关注的。斯蒂文博士记得一个学生是如何记下四个维基百科条目,让他能够反刍出任何一个看起来最接近当堂作文的——如果没被误导,这是一个令人印象深刻的壮举。美国知识产权的概念还未传递给来自一个诅咒个人主义的国家的学生。(在语言课程中,斯蒂文博士说正式的纪律处理案例还没有激增,因为导师更倾向在课堂解决剽窃问题。)
 
正如作者的理解是文化的约束和权威的观念。“这不是简单的语言和文化,而是还有政治因素,” 他说。“我们清楚地知道中国灌输宣传,美国被刻画的不那么正面。如果你生命的前18年都被灌输这种思想,但归结为他们相信谁时——他们彼此信任。他们尤其不相信我们。”
 
Instead of living with a randomly selected American, Dr. Stevens says, some freshmen will pay their required housing fees but rent apartments together off campus, a violation of university rules. And they rarely attend voluntary functions at the institute. At a gathering this summer, of the nearly 400 students from 40 countries, about 10 were from China. Also, according to Dr. Stevens, students regularly switch classes to be with their countrymen, rather than stay in the ones they’ve been assigned by their advisers.
 
与随机选择的一个美国人生活相反,斯蒂文博士说,一些新生支付了必须出的住宿费却在校外租公寓,这违反了校规。他们很少参加学院的自愿活动。在今年夏天有来自40多个国家的近400名学生的一次聚会上,(只有)10名来自中国。而且,据斯蒂文博士,学生经常调课以便和他们的同乡一起,而不是呆在由他们顾问选好的课上。
 
One of those advisers is Jennifer Gregan-Paxton. Dr. Gregan-Paxton, program coordinator of the business school’s office of undergraduate advising, says she is impressed by the work ethic and politeness of her students from China. They regularly bring her and other professors small gifts to show their appreciation; on a single day recently, she received a folding fan, a necklace and a silk scarf. She’s not surprised that they would want to stick together. “Even if there were Chinese students who wanted to break out of their pack,” she says, “they wouldn’t necessarily get the warmest reception.”
 
珍妮弗·格雷根 - 帕克斯顿是这些顾问中的一员。格雷根 - 帕克斯顿博士,商学院学生顾问办公室的课程协调员,说中国学生的职业道德和礼貌给她留下了深刻印象。他们经常带给她和其他教授们一些小礼物,以表示他们的礼貌;前几天她收到了一把折扇,一条项链和一条丝巾。她对他们想粘在一起并不惊讶。“虽然有想改变自己课程安排的学生,” 她说,“但他们不一定会得到积极的回应。”
 
For example, Ms. Tang, the marketing major, recalls one class in which, she says, the professor ignored her questions and only listened to American students. Also, while working on a group project in a sociology class, she says she was given the cold shoulder: “They pretend to welcome you but they do not.” The encounters left a deep impression. “I will remember that all of my life,” she says.
 
比如市场专业的唐小姐,回忆到一门课上,她说,教授忽略她的问题,只听美国学生的。在社会学课的一个小组项目中工作时,她说她受到冷遇:“他们假装欢迎你但实际上不是这样。” 这个遭遇留下了深刻印象。“我一辈子都记得,”她说。
 
Last fall, Kent E. St. Pierre was teaching an intermediate accounting class with 35 students, 17 of them from China. Within a couple of weeks, all but three of the non-Chinese students had dropped the course. Why did the American students flee? “They said the class was very quiet,” recalls Dr. St. Pierre, who considers himself a 1960s-style liberal and says he’s all for on-campus diversity. But, he agrees, “It was pretty deadly.”
 
去年秋天,肯特·皮埃尔教着中级会计学的35名学生,他们中的17个来自中国。在几个星期内,非中国学生中只有3个留下。为什么美国学生逃离了?“他们说课堂太安静了,”自认自己是60年代自由主义风格的皮埃尔博士回忆道,他完全支持校园多样性。但是他也同意,“这是相当致命的。”
 
In many schools across Asia, vigorous give-and-take is the exception. No doubt, as Dr. St. Pierre points out, if you were to place Americans into a Chinese classroom they would seem like chatterboxes.
 
在亚洲的很多学校,大量的课堂讨论是反常的。毫无疑问,皮埃尔博士指出,如果你把美国人放在中国的课堂上,他们将看起来像是话匣子。
 
Despite the unfamiliar learning style, the average grades of Chinese students at Delaware are nearly identical to other undergraduates’. That may, in part, reflect China’s strong preparation in quantitative skills, which holds them in good stead in math-intensive programs like business and engineering, two of the most popular majors for Chinese students and ones in which mastery of English is less crucial. Indeed, some of China’s undergraduates are strong enough to land spots at the nation’s most selective institutions; Harvard had about 40 in the 2010-11 academic year.
 
尽管学习风格陌生,特拉华大学中国学生的平均成绩和其他学生几乎是相同的。这可能部分反应了中国准备充分的定量分析能力,使他们在偏数学的课程如商务和工程,最受中国学生欢迎的,而且精通英语不那么重要的两个专业上占得先机。事实上,有些中国学生实力厉害到足够进入全国顶级名校;哈佛在2010-11学年就有40人左右。
 
But some professors say they have significantly changed their teaching practices to accommodate the students. During quizzes, Dr. St. Pierre now requires everyone to leave their books at the front of the classroom to prevent cheating, a precaution not taken during any of his two decades at Delaware. And participation counts less, so as not to sink the grades of foreign students. In the past, he required members of the class to give two or three presentations during the semester. Now he might ask them to give one. “I’ve had American students saying they don’t understand what’s being said in the presentations,” he says. “It’s painful.”
 
但一些教授说他们明显改变了他们的教学方法来适应学生。在测试中,现在皮埃尔博士要求每个人把自己的书放到教室前面来防止作弊,在他之前的二十年特拉华生涯中没有采用一项这样的预防措施。而且考生少,所以不降低外国学生的成绩。过去,他要求学生在学期内提供两到三次演示。现在他会要求他们提供一个。“我的美国学生曾说他们听不懂演示里面说的是什么,” 他说。“这真痛苦。”
 
Robert Schweitzer, a professor of finance and economics, frets about using fairly basic vocabulary words. “I have students say, ‘I don’t know what ‘ascending’ means,’ ” Dr. Schweitzer says. “Did they get the question wrong because they don’t know the material or because they don’t know the language?”
 
金融和经济学教授罗伯特·施魏策尔,苦恼于相当基本的词汇使用。 “我有学生说,‘我不知道什么是’升序’的意思,’”史怀哲博士说。 “他们有错误的问题是因为他们不知道资料还是因为他们不懂语言?”
 
If professors struggle to understand the students, the reverse is also true.
 
如果教授在努力理解学生,反过来也一样。
 
Damon Ma is in the language center’s so-called bridge program, which means his English was good enough that he could start taking regular classes even though he hasn’t finished with the language program. Mr. Ma is very enthusiastic about studying in the United States, something he’s dreamed about doing since he was a boy, and he is conscious of the academic contrasts between the two countries.
 
马大蒙在语言中心上被称为桥梁的课程,这意味尽管他还没有完成语言课程,但是他的英语足够好到能够开始一般课程了。马先生非常热切想在美国读书,但他还是个男孩的时候他就梦想这个了,他有意识的对比了两国的学术。
 
“Everything is copying in China,” Mr. Ma says. “They write a 25-page paper and they spent two hours and they got an A.”
 
“中国没有不抄的,”马先生说。“他们花两小时写出一份25页的论文,然后得到A。”
 
He was nervous about taking his first university class — an introduction to ancient Chinese history — and, a few weeks into the semester, was still wrestling with the language barrier. “I understand maybe 70 percent,” he says. “I can’t get the details, the vocabulary.”
 
大学第一堂课他很紧张,一堂中国古代史的介绍,学期的几周后,仍然因为语言障碍而摔跤。“我可能明白了70%,”他说。“我不能得到细节,词汇。”
 
Many arrive at Delaware expecting to take English classes for just a few months, but end up spending a year or more at the language institute, paying $2,850 per eight-week session.
 
很多来特拉华的人希望几个月内完成英语课程,但是结果花费了一年甚至更多的时间在语言学院,为每八周的课程支付2850美元。
 
Chuck Xu and Edison Ding have been in Delaware’s English program for a full year. Their English is, at best, serviceable, and they struggle to carry on a basic conversation with a reporter. Mr. Ding says he paid an agent about $3,000 to prep him for standardized exams, fill out his application and help write his essay in English. What was the essay about? Mr. Ding doesn’t recall.
 
徐楚克和爱迪生·丁上了一整年特拉华英语课程了。他们的英语,充其量,可以用。他们努力与记者进行基本的交流。丁先生说他给一个代理付了3000美元给他准备标准考试,填写申请和撰写他的英文论述。个人论述是关于什么的?丁先生不记得了。
 
Mr. Xu just completed the program and is now enrolled in freshman classes. Mr. Ding has yet to pass the final stage and hopes to begin regular classes in the spring.
 
徐先生刚完成英语课程,现在进入新生课程了。丁先生尚未通过最后阶段,希望在春季开始一般课程。
 
About 5 percent of students in the language program flunk out before their freshman year. In addition, Chengkun Zhang, a former president of Delaware’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association, has known students who simply got frustrated and returned home. “I know a couple of students who have complained to me,” he says. “They think that the E.L.I. program is doing nothing more than pulling money from their pockets.”
 
语言学院大约5%的学生在他们的一年级课程开始之前退学。特拉华中国学生会前主席张成坤知道沮丧并回去的学生。“几个学生跟我抱怨,”他说,“他们觉得英语语言学院课程除了从他们口袋掏钱外没有意义。”
 
THE university’s push to attract more foreign students is part of the “Path to Prominence,” a plan laid out by Delaware’s president, Patrick T. Harker. When Dr. Harker came to Delaware five years ago, less than 1 percent of the freshman class was international. He knows firsthand about the classroom challenges because he has taught a freshman course each year. “They’re very good students that struggle with American idiom and American culture,” he says. Dr. Harker says he’s aware that applications from China aren’t always what they seem to be. He notes, though, that it’s a problem lots of universities, not just Delaware, are grappling with.
 
大学推动吸引外国学生的“突出路径”的一部分,一个由特拉华大学校长帕特里克哈克奠定的计划。但哈克博士五年前来特拉华时,不到1%的新生是国际学生。他有课堂挑战的第一手资料,因为他每年都带一门新生课程。“他们是非常好的学生,努力适应美国习语和美国文化,” 他说。哈克博士说他知道来自中国的申请不总是和看起来的一样。他指出,不过,那是很多大学,不只是特拉华,正在努力解决的问题。
 
But Dr. Harker rejects the notion that the university’s recruiting effort in China is mainly about money. “The students from New Jersey pay, too,” he says. “For us it really is about diversity.”
 
但是哈克博士否认学校在中国招生主要是为了钱的观点。“也有新泽西付钱的学生,” 他说,“对我们来说确实是关于多样性。”
 
Still, the majority of Delaware’s international undergraduates are Chinese, an imbalance Louis L. Hirsh, the university’s director of admissions, says he’s working to change. Delaware is trying to make inroads into the Middle East and South America, he says.
 
尽管如此,特拉华州的国际本科生的大多数是中国人,大学的招生主管路易斯·荷斯说,他正致力于改变这种不平衡。特拉华正试图打开中东和南美市场,他说。
 
For colleges that want to go global, and quickly, a natural place for recruiting efforts is China.
 
对那些想快速走向全球的大学来说,一个自然的招生地就是中国。
 
When Oklahoma Christian University decided to jump into international admissions, it hired three recruiters and sent them to China. “China was the market we decided to target,” says John Osborne, Oklahoma Christian’s director of international programs, “because it was just so large.” Today, the university, which admitted its first foreign student in 2007, has 250 overseas undergraduates, a quarter of whom are from China.
 
当俄克拉荷马州基督教大学 决定进入国际招生,聘请了三个招聘人员并送他们到中国。约翰·奥斯本,俄克拉荷马州基督教大学的国际方案主管,说:“中国市场是我们的目标,”因为是如此之大。“今天,这所2007年确认其第一名外国学生的大学,有250海外大学生,其中四分之一来自中国。
 
Indeed, if universities turned on the recruiting spigot in China expecting a steady trickle of students, they’ve gotten a gusher instead. Ohio State received nearly 2,900 undergraduate applications from China this year. Mount Holyoke College could have filled its entire freshman class with Chinese students. A single foreign-college fair in Beijing this fall drew a crowd of 30,000.
 
事实上,如果大学打开招生大门,希望持续的招收中国学生,他们已经收获了一个井喷。俄亥俄州立大学今年收到了来自中国的近2900本科申请。曼荷莲学院的中国学生可以构成整个一年级。今年秋天北京的外国大学博览会吸引了30000多人。
 
The very size of the market can make it daunting and difficult to navigate. While many American colleges have long-established connections with universities in China, pipelines for generations of graduate students, most do not have strong relationships with the country’s high schools. When only a few of the very best students went abroad, it was easy enough for colleges to focus their efforts on a handful of elite secondary schools, but now admissions officers must familiarize themselves with potentially thousands of schools to find a good fit. That’s tough for American recruiters who only visit once or twice a year.
 
市场的规模可能导致引导变的困难且艰巨。虽然许多美国大学与中国大学有长期建立的联系,提供研究生渠道,但大部分都没有与该国的高中有牢固的关系。如果只有少数非常优秀的学生出国,将很容易使院校将他们的努力集中在少数精英中学上,但现在的招生人员必须熟悉在成千上万潜在的学校中自己找到一个不错的选择。对一年只访问一到两次的招生人员来说这很艰难。
 
Some universities, including Delaware, have hired agents overseas, a practice that is banned in domestic recruiting, and this year has been at the center of a debate within the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Though the agents act as universities’ representatives, marketing them at college fairs and soliciting applications, that’s no guarantee that colleges know the origin of the applications, or the veracity of their grades and scores.
 
一些大学,包括特拉华,聘请了海外代理,一种在国内招聘中禁止的做法,今年已在全国大学招生顾问协会的辩论中心举行。虽然代理商作为大学的代表,他们在大学博览会营销和征求申请,还是没有保证高校知道申请的来源,他们的成绩和分数的真实性。
 
For those on the ground, there’s deepening concern that American colleges have entered China without truly understanding it.
 
对那些已经在中国招生的,有一种不断加深的顾虑是美国大学还没真正弄明白就进入中国了。
 
Not long ago, Tom Melcher of Zinch China was contacted by the provost of a large American university who wanted to recruit 250 Chinese students, stat. When asked why, the provost replied that his institution faced a yawning budget deficit. To fill it, he told Mr. Melcher, the university needed additional students who could pay their own way, and China has many of them.
 
不久前,一家很大的美国大学教务长联系Zinch中国的汤姆·梅尔彻,想招收250名中国学生。但问道为什么,教务长回复说他的学院面临巨大的财政赤字。为了填补它,他告诉梅尔彻先生,大学需要额外付得起自己费用的学生,中国有很多。
 
“Do I think the budget squeeze is driving the rush to international?” Mr. Melcher says. “Unfortunately, yes.”
 
“预算紧缩推动了国际化的匆忙?” 梅尔彻先生说。“不幸的是,是的。”
 
At Delaware, officials are trying new strategies. They’ve started a program that pairs Chinese and other international students with mentors to help ease their transition to American academic life. In addition, the English Language Institute runs workshops for faculty members who have Chinese students in their classes. Other institutions are also rethinking their approach. Valparaiso University, in Indiana, has started a special course to give international students on academic probation extra help with English and study skills.
 
在特拉华,管理人员正在尝试新的策略。他们启动了一个将中国学生和其他国际学生和导师结对的程序,以便助其容易的向美国学术生活过渡。此外,英语语言学院给那些课堂上有中国学生的教师们开了讲习班。其他学院也在重新考虑他们的方式。在印第安纳州瓦尔帕莱索大学,开始了一个特殊的课程给国际学生提供学术缓冲,英语和学习技能的额外帮助。
 
There are ways to improve the admissions process as well, including interviewing applicants in person to get a sense of their actual English abilities and to discover more about their academic backgrounds beyond test scores. A handful of institutions, including the University of Virginia, have alumni and students interview prospective students, either in the home country or via Skype, and the Council on International Educational Exchange, a nonprofit group, has begun offering an interview service. Such changes are welcome to some educators on the ground. Mr. Jiang, the deputy principal in Beijing, believes oral interviews could give colleges a better sense of students’ readiness for an American classroom.
 
有办法改善录取过程,包括面试申请人,认识他们实际英语能力和发现他们测试分数后更多的学术背景。少数学校,包括弗吉尼亚大学,由校友和学生面试未来的学生,不管是在居住地所在城市还是通过Skype,国际教育交流会,一个非营利组织,已经开始提供面试服务。这些变化受到了一些当地教育家的欢迎。北京的副校长江先生(“上”篇提到的江学勤)相信口头面试能让大学对学生在美国课堂的准备有更好的了解。
 
Some universities, too, are hiring outside evaluators to review transcripts or are opening offices in China with local staff members who can spot the application red flags that colleges are missing. But interviewing and thoroughly evaluating every applicant, considering the deluge, would be an enormous and expensive undertaking.
 
一些大学,也聘请外部评估审查成绩单或在中国开设办事处,与当地工作人员注意高校缺少的项目。但是,面试和全面评估每个申请人,考虑到大量压倒性的人数,将是一个庞大而昂贵的事业。
 
For officials like Dr. Stevens, who has been dealing with international students for nearly three decades, Chinese undergraduates are like a code he’s still trying to decipher: “How can we reach them? How can we get them to engage?”
 
对于像史蒂文斯博士,近三十年一直在处理国际学生事务的官员,中国大学生就像他仍试图破译的代码:“我们如何找到他们?我们怎样录取他们?“
 
“That,” he says, “is something that keeps me up at night.”
 
“这,”他说,“是让我熬夜的事情。”