Ambitious and Anxious

How Chinese College Students Succeed and Struggle in American Higher Education




book review


In this new publication, Syracuse University Associate Professor Yingyi Ma employs a mixed-method research design to examine and analyze the educational motivations, experiences, and trajectories of a new wave of Chinese undergraduate students from diverse family backgrounds with an emphasis on “the duality of ambition and anxiety” (p. 7). This book challenges the stereotyped expectations of Americans in regards to Chinese students (for instance, that all are from well-off families and have poor English skills). Ma argues that it is pivotal to consider the educational, social, and cultural backgrounds of Chinese internationals in their processes of self-formation in order to have a well-rounded and diverse understanding of Chinese undergraduate students

Author Biography

Minghui Hou, Old Dominion University, USA

Minghui Hou is a PhD student in the higher education program at Old Dominion University. Her research interests are international education equity, curriculum internationalization, neo-racism, and geopolitical tensions.


Lee, J. J., & Rice, C. (2007). Welcome to America? International student perceptions of discrimination. Higher Education, 53(3), 381–409.

Ma, Y. (2020). Ambitious and anxious: How Chinese college students succeed and struggle in American higher education. Columbia University Press.




How to Cite

Hou, M. . (2021). Ambitious and Anxious: How Chinese College Students Succeed and Struggle in American Higher Education. Journal of International Students, 11(3), 757–760.



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