Study-abroad tours in US booming

Updated: 2015-08-06 09:22

By NIU YUE in New York(China Daily USA)

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"And during the process, I got to know some problems I would have faced if I went to study abroad by myself, like the different eating habits, the slang, the fraternity and sorority culture on campus," Lin said.

"Parents have the hope that their children's language ability would improve after joining in the study-abroad tour, which is unrealistic," said a representative of a Chinese-run travel agency in New York, who requested not to be identified.

"What children perhaps could gain from a short tour are an interest in learning English and a rational understanding of the world," he said, adding that in recent years, the number of students traveling to the US has been steady.

Chu said the main problem for travel agencies in the US is when summer vacations start: Tour guides are in short supply, and sometimes the company has to employ part-time guides, hiring local Chinese students.

"The problem is the people we hire temporarily for summer lack experience," Chu sighed.

"This summer, a part-time shuttle driver we hired left the shuttle with nobody on it in Boston. … And the shuttle window was broken by a guy. Fortunately, the driver came back and stopped a worse result.

"Safety forever is our headache," Chu said.

According to Liu Ting, assistant vice-president of the New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc and director of its overseas study tour promotion and administration center, the market for Chinese overseas study is growing rapidly.

The number of Chinese students touring this year surged by 200,000. Summer tours have taken place in more than 40 countries.

"Study-abroad tours are beneficial for children's growth, but parents should make decisions based on their family economic situation rather than following the trend blindly," said Liu.

"For example, some children have poor capacity to take care of themselves or have poor interpersonal skills, which parents should take into consideration in case their children cannot get used to living and studying abroad, which would make the money wasted."

Hong Xiao in New York contributed to this story.

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