Running For All They’re Worth

There is a university in my city that offers what I’m coming to think of as a classically “new China” approach to education – at least for the rich.

As you may have heard, China is racing. Athletically, especially as the 2008 Olympics loomed, the sporting cadres sprinted to pressure-treat their selected young warriors to shine, precious-metallically, before the world. Economically, China charges headlong toward international influence and prestige as the world’s largest producer of wealth. (Some say it’s only a matter of time.) Educationally, it seems that the notoriously manic, mobile concentration camp endured by China’s aspiring youth – with their profoundly anxious parents sounding the drumbeats of this single-minded march toward something or other – shows little sign of slowing down to see where it’s going. (To be fair, there is always the mantra: we must work hard so we can have a comfortable life. Even the most English-impaired students know this line, and the majority seem to find it satisfactory.)

A certain school here in Dalian, I’ve come to know, has among its main attractions a series of programs that allow students to travel for study in different disciplines 

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