Chinese parents go it alone for kids' camps

Updated: 2013-09-06 11:39

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily)

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 Chinese parents go it alone for kids' camps

Chinese students in a summer camp tour to the United States who survived the Asiana 214 crash landing in San Francisco on July 6 return to Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Provided to China Daily

China's bourgeoning multibillion-dollar overseas education business has seen another surge in young students traveling to the US for summer camps, and Chinese agencies catering to the demand are no longer the first choice for some parents to get them there. The reason: "quality" and "safety" concerns.

"I hoped my son would spend his summer with American students, rather than hanging out with other Chinese students in Las Vegas or Disneyland, accompanied by Chinese-speaking tour guides," said Judy Wu, a Chinese mother who works as a senior manager in the Beijing office of a US-headquartered IT company.

Two months ago, she applied to relocate to a US office temporarily so her son could go to summer camp in Boston.

On a previous business trip to the US, Wu said she saw too many Chinese students wasting their summer camp time in Chinatown restaurants, on Fifth Avenue or in outlet malls, she said.

More than 100,000 Chinese students flocked to the US this past summer to immerse themselves in American life and culture, according to an article in the New York Times, some of them as young as 10.

It also reported that many Chinese agencies are targeting rich parents and offering them short-term summer experiences costing $5,000 to $15,000 for several weeks in the US.

An increasing number of Chinese families are reevaluating the return on these hefty investments, a discussion that - in part - was triggered by the crash of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco in July.

Nearly 70 Chinese students were onboard that flight and three of them died. After the tragedy, one group of students didn't complete their summer camp in the US, going back to China earlier than planned, due to the mismanagement of the travel organizer, according to reports in the Chinese media.

Alice Zhao, a housewife in Silicon Valley, had a busy summer hosting five families from China while their children attended summer camps.

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