In China, New Challenges Amid Traditions

"The students can't go to a bar," he said. "The social aspect is really lacking here at this campus as well as most colleges in China, and the students recognize that."

Keg parties, fraternities, even coed dorms are unheard of here. On the rare opportunity that Wang, his girlfriend and friends leave campus, they hang out at the mall and play video games or shop.

As in the United States, college is the first taste of freedom for young Chinese adults, but they are quick to point out that their lives are nothing like how they imagine campus life in America.

Wang and his friends had just seen the movie "American Pie" -- on illegal DVD, of course -- when we met them.

"[Americans] are more open-minded about relationships between male and female students and their life seems more comfortable," said Ma Tian Yu, one of Wang's friends.

"Every American is very optimistic," said Mei Ling Zhang, Wang's girlfriend. "No worries, [they] just live a happy life."

"I think America has a culture of acceptance," Wang said.

Wang and his friends say they think of power, freedom and openness when they think of the United States, and some of them dream of going there.

But not Wang. He says, at 21, he's too impressionable to be exposed to so many different ideas and cultures.

And even if he does work overseas one day, he said, "my heart will always live in this country because I am Chinese."

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