Academic groups give practical tips on security and getting help in US cities
Concerns about the safety of students studying overseas have led specialists from education, foreign affairs and student associations to focus on better preparation for those planning to study in other countries.
The Ministry of Education has held more than 60 sessions this year in 27 cities to boost student awareness of safety overseas, according to Xu Peixiang, an official from the ministry’s Department of International Cooperation and Exchanges.
There have been a number of high-profile incidents in recent years in which overseas students have been seriously injured or killed. In July, a Chinese graduate student at the University of Southern California was found dead in his off-campus apartment after he was attacked by at least three men on his way home.
Fang Zhenqun, an officer from the Center for Consular Assistance and Protection under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Chinese citizens overseas are involved in about 40,000 incidents each year.
Traffic accidents, campus violence and students being out of contact are the main concerns.
“Students should collect information in advance about security at the city where they will live and study, and learn how to ask for help and protection if they encounter problems there,” Fang said.
The Southwestern Chinese Students and Scholars Association in the US held three meetings in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou during the summer where alumni from US universities shared their experiences.
Founded in 2003 with support from the Consulate General of China in Los Angeles, the SCSSA has been providing help and services to Chinese students and scholars studying in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and Hawaii.
The meetings, apart from sharing practical tips such as how to obtain a cell phone and where to purchase authentic Chinese food, focused on informing students about the security situation around US universities.
Chen Yang, a Beijing resident whose daughter will attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, attended a meeting held by the SCSSA and said such meetings are very informative.
“It’s my daughter’s first time away from home, and my wife and I have been concerned about her safety,” Chen said.
“Such meetings can give you firsthand information about security and possible places to avoid,” Chen said.