International Students at

the University of Iowa




influx fuel (2) perspective
rare diversity engine (2)
decide transition draw/drew/drawn (2)
topic state (2) atmosphere (2)
surge make up quarter (2)
trend vice (2) automatic
proud publicity make sense
hope campus heartland
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adapt pop (3) undergraduate
cater alumni make a difference
likely hallway look forward to
huge found (2) entrepreneurial
pop up guess (2) advancement
bubble pair up






President Xi’s first trip to the United States back in 1985, he visited the state of Iowa. That connection has helped fuel an influx of students to the University of Iowa.

As CCTV’s Tim Spellman reports, one in ten of the university students is now Chinese.

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When the University of Iowa was founded in 1847, a Chinese student was likely a rare sight. Now nearly one in ten students here are Chinese.

Star Shen is from Jiujiang Province. He was drawn to the small-town atmosphere of this campus in the American heartland.

Star Shen, Student, University of Iowa: “This is such a friendly city that I want to be here.”

He says US students value the diversity the Chinese students bring to campus.

Star Shen, Student, University of Iowa: “They really want to know what a Chinese student’s perspective is towards a certain topic.”

The surge in Chinese students at the University of Iowa is part of a nationwide trend. There are now about a quarter million Chinese students studying at American colleges and universities; they make up about a third of international students studying in the United States.

The US state of Iowas has a special connection to China: President Xi Jinping visited the state in 1985, and returned as vice president three years ago.

Downing Thomas, International Programs, University of Iowa: “With Xi Jinping’s history here, going back to the 1980s and the special relationship he has with the governor has meant that we get this automatic publicity.”

Many students here are following Xi’s US visit closely.

Star Shen, Student, University of Iowa: “As a Chinese, I’m so proud of that my president will be here this month, I guess. And I hope that the friendship between America and China could still continue.”

Iowa’s connection to President Xi helped Yi Yang’s parents decide Iowa was the right place for her.

Ye Yang, Student, University of Iowa: “They were like, ‘Oh, Xi visited there before,’ so they thought that it’s probably a really good state here.”

She’s studying economics and psychology. At first the transition was difficult.

Journalist: “What’s been the most difficult thing about coming from China to the United States to study?”

Ye Yang, Student, University of Iowa: “I think it’s language.”

There are language centers to help Chinese students with English and US faculty show respect by correctly pronouncing Chinese students’ names.

Chinese and US students are often paired up to help Chinese students adapt and businesses like this bubble tea shop catering to Chinese students have popped up around town.

Nearly a quarter of the business school is now Chinese.

Sarah Gardial, Dean, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa: “If you’re in our hallways, you are as likely to hear a Mandarin conversation as you are an English conversation.”

Many students look forward to learning entrepreneurial skills they can take back to China.

Sarah Gardial, Dean, Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa: “If you’re Chinese and you look at what’s going on in their country, where the economic growth is the huge engine that’s driving the advancement of that country, then that makes complete sense that they would want to come here and get those skills.”

After graduation, students join a growing base of University of Iowa alumni.

Downing Thomas, International Programs, University of Iowa: “As we’ve realized, with the numbers we have at the undergraduate level now in from China, we’re going to have more graduates in two or three Chinese cities than in most American cities.”

Those alumni will make a difference back in China.

Ye Yang, Student, University of Iowa: “I can adapt all the advanced things here, what I learned here, back to China.”

As they take a bit of the American heartland with them back to China, or where ever they may go.

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Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas. Chinese students only attend universities in California and New York. True or false?

Montana, Idaho, Wyoming. Has the number of Chinese studying in the University of Iowa and other parts of the US been increasing, decreasing or remaining the same?

Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania. Are Iowans xenophobic or open-minded?

New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts. The University of Iowa is popular among Chinese because Iowa is close to China. Is this correct or incorrect?

Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina. Do the Chinese students make an easy transition to American universities and society?

Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana. The Chinese students probably eat only American food. What do you think?

Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia. After graduation, will the Chinese completely forget about Iowa?


California, Oregon, Washington. There are many Chinese and other international students in universities in my city. Yes or no? Has this number been changing?

Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma. Why do foreign students study in your universities or abroad in general?

Nevada, Colorado, Utah. Do the universities and government (and local businesses) want more, less or the same amount of foreign students?

Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire. What happens to the students when then graduate or finish their program?

Florida. My friends and I have studied abroad. Yes or no? Where did you or your friends study? What was it like?

Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. What are some popular destinations for students from your country?

Missouri. What will happen in the future?

Alaska. Studying abroad is a great experience for both local and international students and should be encouraged. What do you think?

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