At the commencement ceremony of Columbia University's 261st academic year, which was held outdoors Wednesday on the Morningside Campus, visitors could see lots of Chinese student faces and the Five-Starred Red Flags.
Like many other U.S. universities and colleges, the Columbia University, a private Ivy League research university located in the City of New York, has been attracting an increasing number of Chinese students in recent years.
Among this year's nearly 15,000 graduates from Columbia's 18 schools and affiliates who earned bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees, more than 2,000 are international students from over 90 countries, including nearly 600 from China, Brian F Connolly, an Associate Vice President for Public Affairs of the university, told reporter.
In some other majors, the percentage of Chinese students is even higher. For the statistic major of Graduate School of the Colombia University, the oldest institution of higher learning in New York state, about 80 percent of students are from China, according to local media reports
"I enjoyed meeting interesting people and joining all kinds of activities here," said Ada Zhou, a student from China, who just graduated from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Columbia University. "The university provided me a big platform."
"I studied the master degree of energy in School of International and Public Affairs. There are about 500 students in the class of 2015 in our school, of which about 15 percent are from China," said Karen Wang, a Chinese student from Colombia's School of Social Work.
"I've learnt many different cultures because my classmates are from various backgrounds around the world," she said, adding that she also benefited a lot from the great activities and internship opportunities in New York City.
The number of international students at colleges and universities in the United States increased by eight percent to a record high of 886,052 in the 2013/14 academic year, according to the 2014 Open Doors Report of Institute of International Education released last November.
The growth is once again largely driven by students from China, particularly at the undergraduate level. Chinese student enrollments increased by 17 percent in total to more than 274,000 students, and increased by 18 percent at the undergraduate level. Students from China now reportedly make up 31 percent of all international students in the United States.
"My writing skills have been greatly improved through the two- year study here. We also spend half the time doing internships to improve our social skills," Said Meng Zhao, another Chinese graduate student of School of Social Work.