Heimkehrende Auslandschinesen haben es nicht immer leicht, weiß die LA Times heute zu berichten: Over the last two decades, 600,000 mainland Chinese have left to study abroad and 160,000, lured by stories of quick employment and fast money, have returned in search of work, government officials estimate. For years, they have been known as sea turtles, a pun on hai gui, which pronounced the same but written in different characters means "returned from overseas studies." But many have been so unsuccessful at finding work that they've earned a new nickname: seaweed, based on a double entendre that also means "returned from overseas and waiting for a job." Those with work experience in fields such as law or banking can demand top salaries. Many sea turtles, however, return with MBAs or information-technology degrees, which have swamped the job market. They also lack job experience — and have gained a Western outspokenness that's not particularly marketable back home. Many sea turtles find that their homegrown counterparts have improved English skills, making them more competitive in an international marketplace where the ability to communicate with Westerners is always in demand. Their absence also often costs them valuable insight into the ever-changing Chinese marketplace: New terminology, new industries and, in Beijing, new business communities have emerged just in the last two years. The result: Although many of their fellow graduates who remain in the United States, Europe or Australia are getting comparatively hefty salaries, some sea turtles have taken jobs that pay less than $4,000 a year.


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