In many ways they are groundbreakers, sending their talented and high-achieving children not only to American colleges but to colleges less well known than the big name American universities most sought after in China.

But these parents say they are very happy that their sons and daughters have chosen Colby and the liberal arts.

“I feel my daughter has learned a lot in Colby within one year,” said Wei Lian, in an e-mail translated from Chinese to English by her daughter, Tianyang “Vera” Zhou ’16. “She figured out what she wants to major in, [and] she understands better about diversity and inclusiveness from classes and other events that are held on campus. I would say it’s definitely a success for her.”

The Chinese parents cited Colby’s small classes, accessible faculty, and varied extracurricular opportunities, all of which differentiate a liberal arts college from a university in China or America.

“I am a professor so I know clearly how important it is to have that kind of attention from the faculty team,” wrote Xin Jiang, mother of Ronghan “Michelle” Wang ’16. “It’s a key factor for the students’ [success].”

From Shenyang, Jiang said her daughter had found Colby faculty to be “amazing,” and that Michelle had made good friends across campus and was learning both in the classroom and as a research assistant.

“I’m glad that she is working hard but playing even harder,” she said. “I’m just happy that she is starting to grow and taking responsibilities.”

In Nanjing, Yiqing Zhang and Ling Xu, father and mother of Zhicheng “Jacob” Zhang ’16, said Colby and the liberal arts was their son’s choice. While they respected his decision, they were—and still are—unsure that it was the right one, they said.

But they felt that their son’s first year at Colby was a success.  Pursuing chemistry and art, he has a good grade point average and has grown “much more independent and self-sufficient” in his year on Mayflower Hill.

“We are proud,” Zhang and Xu wrote in an e-mail.