University set up in Shanghai, but will students regard this as a foreign education?
看过《上海女子图鉴》的小伙伴或许还记得，主人公罗海燕刚去公司报道没多久，就因为没有 英文名 ，遭遇了大写的尴尬……
By Lu Chen in Shanghai Xu Zhehao, a 16-year-old student in Shanghai, has been thinking of going abroad to continue his higher education ever since the first day he entered high school.
When he heard the news that New York University (NYU) in Shanghai had opened enrollment for its first batch of students for the 2013 fall semester, his parents discussed this option with him.
New York University founded a campus in Shanghai on October 15, the first higher education institution jointly established by China and the US that is qualified to hand out degrees.
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Chinese students go abroad to receive an education, though for stu- dents in Shanghai, a foreign education may be a lot closer than they had imagined.
However, for Xu, this is precisely the problem.
以下是GlobalTimes (Metro Shanghai)今天刊登的一篇评论，部分配有中文翻译。
“What fascinates me about leaving home and studying abroad is embark- ing on an adventurous journey in a foreign country, so I can study side by side with classmates from various countries and backgrounds. This is what I have not experienced yet in Shanghai,” Xu told the Global Times.
Why this Chinese is reluctant to give herself an English name
His mother however, considers New York University in Shanghai a good option, as she could remain close to her son.
In the popular TV series Women in Shanghai, advertisement company freshman Luo Haiyan was laughed at by her colleagues for having no English name. "What's your English name? You don't have one? Uh-oh," scoffed Luo's coworker Amy, a native Chinese.
The New York University Shanghai According to the university authori- ty, NYU Shanghai, co-founded by East China Normal University and New York University, is expecting 300 un- dergraduates in 2013.
Slightly over half, 151 of them, will be Chinese stu- dents who have applied via the gaokao, (or national college entrance examination). The rest will be students from other parts of the world.
In today's China, especially in first-tier cities, it is bizarre for young Chinese not to have an English name. When I'm having dinner at Jing'an Temple Central Business District in downtown Shanghai, I often hear office gossip from the next table - usually young Chinese ladies in exquisite clothes talking about their colleagues Linda, Mary, Eric, etc. These English names, mixed in with their Putonghua or Shanghai dialect, sound quite funny.
In total, the university will accom- modate an estimated 3,000 Chinese and international students.
在当今的中国，尤其是一线城市，年轻人没有英文名简直是件怪事。当我每天在上海市中心的静安寺商圈吃饭时，我总能听到邻桌的各种职场八卦——通常是几个穿着光鲜的小姐姐聊着他们的同事Linda, Mary, Eric……这些英文名时不时从她们的普通话或上海话中蹦出来，听着挺喜感的。
“The mix of Chinese and overseas students will make New York Uni- versity Shanghai a melting pot for cultivating talent,” said Yu Lizhong, president of the university.
English names have become a standard feature of China's modern workplace and campuses, and those who don't have one are considered old-fashioned or from the countryside. This is particularly true in foreign enterprises. In Women in Shanghai, Luo finally named herself Harriet after being embarrassed by a foreign client who failed to pronounce her Chinese name.
Yu revealed that the admission of the first batch of Chinese students would mostly center on those from the Yangtze Delta Region, and the criteria would be based on a comprehensive appraisal of a student’s overall compe- tence, though more details of admis- sion requirements have yet to emerge.
Students who plan to apply have to submit to the standard American uni- versity admission evaluation process as well as an NYU supplement to be considered for admission, according to an application tutorial video posted on the university’s website.
Hence it may surprise you that I, a Shanghai-based reporter at an English-language newspaper who often deals with expatriates, do not have an English name. I'm personally reluctant to give myself one, nor do I think it is necessary.
In regard to the English proficiency requirements for admission, Li Mei, vice president of NYU Shanghai, said that the university focused more on the students’ English communicative ability instead of any test scores and this would be assessed in interviews during the university open day.
Classes will be conduct- ed in English, cover- ing a full range of academic majors.
My Chinese name Lanlan is easy enough for foreigners to pronounce. Thanks to my parents, the simple name they gave me has yet to be mispronounced. If someone's Chinese name contains "difficult" characters such as yue, lü, ruan or ce, he or she might consider an English name. But luckily, I've never had this concern.
Before choosing a major, all the students will receive a liberal arts education, and have courses in the humanities and social and natural sciences.
Upon graduation, students will receive degrees from New York Uni- versity, and NYU Shanghai will grant each of them a graduation certificate and a degree.
A rich kid’s education?
I've grown bored by the English names that most Chinese give themselves, which are repetitive and uncreative. Unlike the millions of available Chinese names, only several dozen English names are available, of which fewer fit the taste of we Chinese.
The tuition fee for Chinese un- dergraduates is about 100,000 yuan ($15,987) a year, almost the same as universities in Hong Kong. The tuition fees for other universities on the Chinese mainland usually range from 5,000 to 10,000 yuan.
“The tuition fee is one of the most important factors when students and their families are making decisions about choosing a university, and the high tuition fee will certainly make NYU Shanghai less attractive,” Xiong Bingqi, an education expert with the 21st Century Education Research Insti- tute, said on his blog.
I personally know three Penny, four Chloe, five Julia and six David. Compared with their unique, elaborate Chinese names, their English names are ordinary and boring. Conversely, some young people try too hard to give themselves "creative" English names, but many of these are laughably ridiculous.
Xiong said that while parents and students may be attracted by the stu- dent to staff ratio of 8 to 1, he argued that if a student has good English proficiency, an excellent academic performance and his or her family can afford 100,000 yuan a year, then they have no reason not to go abroad directly.
If the family cannot afford the cost, then a better option might be choosing a first-tier university in China, the total cost of which, including living expenses, is within 100,000 yuan a year, Xiong said.
For example, on Quora there is a post titled "what are some of the 'best' English names Chinese people give themselves but are not generally found outside China," under which netizens from around the world shared lots of weird names such as Satan, Cherry, Rabbit, Vampire, Yale, Harvard, Lolita, Nokia, Easy and Anyway.
“NYU Shanghai is still a part of our large education system. Its implica- tions for the reform of higher educa- tion are limited because students still cannot choose the university he or she prefers when receiving offers from several universities at the same time,”Xiong told the Global Times.
In this sense, NYU Shanghai is not too different from other universities that have independent admission tests, Xiong pointed out.
"I knew a pair of programmers whose names were Sh*t and F**k," netizen Paul Denlinger wrote. "Among more acceptable names, my favorite was a network admin named Benjamin Franklin."
In response, NYU Shanghai said in its official microblog that scholarships would be available to students who have financial difficulties.
“NYU Shanghai is exploring a new model while setting up higher education institutions and cultivating young talents. It’s more about quality than quantity. And it is up to the stu- dents to choose an education that best suits themselves,” Yu Lizhong said in response to questions.
In most cases, giving yourself an English name is a personal preference. Having an English name can make one look more "fashionable" or communicative, but that's about it. Native Chinese cannot add their self-made English names onto any official documents including ID cards or passports. In other words, an English name is no more than a cute nickname.
A Global Network In 2011 alone, the number of Chinese students going abroad to study rose to 340,000, representing 14 percent of the total number of in- ternational students across the world.
China now has the largest number of students in overseas schools and education institutions, figures in the Annual Report on the Development of China’s Study Abroad showed.
Dispensable English names are to some extent seen as a social status in China, implying that locals with English names are superior to those without. I read in the news that a Chinese mother publicly claimed on her social media that she would never send her children to a kindergarten where kids have no English names. In Beijing, a five-year-old local girl named "Lucy" refused to make friends with a little Chinese boy who had no English name, according to Phoenix Weekly in May 2017.
Yang Weichang, the head of the international exchange department at the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, says that China is open- ing up its education sector in line with promises made to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“The establishment of New York University of Shanghai is the latest evidence to show China is keeping its promise to open its higher education service as part of an increasingly glo- balized world,” Yang said.
The temporary teaching building of the New York University Shanghai located in the East China Normal University Inset: The opening ceremony of the New York University Shanghai on October 15 Photos: CFP Page Editor: xutianran@ globaltimes.com.cn
Chinese actresses Gong Li, Zhang Ziyi, Fan Bingbing and many others do not have English names, and nobody would ever say that they failed to succeed in the foreign marketplace. After all, a name is just a name. But it cannot outshine one's true personality and character. Having an English name could be helpful in a globalized workplace or campus, but it should never be one's weapon to look down on others.
《环球时报》（英文版） 日期：2012年10月23日 版次：06 作者：Lu Chen