New students who come to America either for a full scholarship or even a partial study abroad program face many forms of discrimination in the classroom and outside the classroom.
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Today, many students spend time abroad for their education. Whether a student is visiting for one semester or for many years, there are some forms of discrimination they might face which are not always as noticeable as things such as racial slurs but are just as trying and challenging for Chinese Students to overcome. One of these items is access to medicine. Many Chinese Students who are in America might find that at some point or another they require medical treatment. This might come in the form of an emergency treatment or in the form of simple healing herbs to stop a cold or cough. In such situations cultural and communication barriers can inhibit the student from getting the medical care they need, which is founded in discrimination against Eastern medicinal treatments. It is very difficult for Western medicine to accept the legitimacy of Eastern medicine, even if some treatments have scientific evidence behind them or are backed by insurance companies and the FDA.
Communicating medical needs is one part of this discrimination. Not all medical facilities have the funding to supply full time interpreters in a variety of languages. In fact, most hospitals who are unable to afford such staff members will seek instead to hire employees for other roles such as that of nurse who can also speak another language. Then that person is called upon in the event that a patient needs a translator. However, the level of fluency here often fluctuates as there is no standard to which such translation skills are held, in addition to which most hospitals will only have employees who can interpret for the most common languages they have among their patients. Students from China who are studying abroad in the United States might become ill and need medicinal treatment while they are abroad, and without their parents, friends, or family, or even regular practitioner and medical records nearby, they might have problems communicating their needs and the doctors may have similar problems communicating the treatments. Even with someone to interpret, something that would only be afforded if many Chinese migrants—for example—visited that medical facility, there are still many medical terms that might be unfamiliar.
Another issue with communication is that of cultural barriers and not just linguistic ones. The student may have strong beliefs that do not align with some medicinal treatments, and may be unable to find a local Chinese practitioner who can provide them with the herbs or other Eastern medicinal treatments preferred such as cupping. While a Chinese Students might prefer a simple herbal tea, the western practitioner who is assigned—often by the school—to offer treatment may only be authorized to provide antibiotics or other pill treatments which the student may not want or need.
With each of these, there is a need to help mitigate the discrimination faced by Chinese Students.
This starts with recognizing that each culture is different and that students from all over the world may require different treatments. But it also requires people not to look at others through the lens of their own culture.
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