An education's worth

Students from China studying within the United States can face hardships and obstacles in hopes of obtaining an American degree or spot in the country’s workforce.

Muchen Zhang, a senior at Pepperdine University in California, had dreamed of studying in the United States since middle school.

“The U.S., welcoming and prosperous, is a huge stage with more jobs and high chances to make a fortune,” she says.

Studying in the U.S. often allows students to be more independent and creative, which is part of the attraction for many who choose it. The career culture in America is still seen as full of opportunity, even if that might not be the case.

According to a commercial report of the U.S. and China, more than 70 percent of the 340,000 Chinese students who studied in the U.S. in 2017 wanted to work in the country after graduation. Around 20 percent of them want to live in the U.S. for a long time.

But it can be difficult to find a job here, especially for those who want to stay permanently. Students can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), a program that allows international students to work in the U.S. for 12 months after graduation. If students major in STEM fields, they can stay for up to 36 months, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

However, students are required to get H-1B visas if they want a chance at permanent residency. Just 5 percent of Chinese students in the U.S. received H-1B visas in 2015, according to the United States Department of Labor.  

On April 18, 2017, President Donald Trump signed the “Buy American, Hire American” executive order to control the number of H-1B visas and put American workers first. President Trump said the order “declares that the policy of our government is to aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job.”

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