A Day in the Life of a Chinese Student
Trip Start Jun 17, 2005
21Trip End May 15, 2006
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Being a student in China is very stressful. The weight and burden that an only child faces can be unbearable. In China, education is free up until the tenth grade, which is consider the first year of high school. In order to attend high school one must pay an administration fee. This fee can vary depending on a child's academic performance in middle school. If a student receives high marks in middle school, he or she will be charged a lower entrance fee. Thus, students are pressured to do well so that they can save money for their parents.
In addition, after middle school, which is 7th-9th grade, students must take a nationwide entrance exam in order to attend high school. Their scores on this exam will largely decide what high school they can attend. A low score means that the most prestigious high school will not accept you unless you pay a very high tuition fee. And a high score most likely will allow you to attend the high school of your choice. As well, your tuition fee will be substantially reduced.
In summary, high schools in China are operated more like the university system in the United States. Students take an entrance exam and compete to attend the most prestigious high schools. Students who do not do well end up attending poorly run schools unless their parents can afford to pay the high tuition of a more prestigious high school. Students with high marks will receive a lower tuition fee, which is similar to receiving a scholarship at the university level.
A Day in a Life of a Chinese Student
High school students go to school six days a week! In place of three electives, high school students are required to take physics, biology, and chemistry simultaneously for three straight years. Here is a schedule for a typical high school student:
9) Chinese, Math or English
**Note: there are many students that take additional courses after their regular school schedule. I have met students that don't go home until 10:00 in the evening! As well, the more competitive schools keep their students in class until 8:00pm.
Although China's one-child policy has slowed the rate of their population, legislation has shown some leniency. Just recently, China has passed a new policy which allows married couples who are "an only child" to have two children.
As well, the one-child policy only applies to the Han Chinese, which makes up over 95% of China's population. The other 56 recognized minorities of China are allowed to have as many children as they like.
No Water - August 16, 2005
Yesterday morning a major water pipe broke in our district leaving hundreds of thousands of people without water for the rest of the day. It was quite an inconvenience as we were left to deal with this problem on our own. No running water equated to a multitude of difficulties. Toilets could not be flushed, showers could not be taken, and hands could not be washed. On this hot, muggy day, a distinctive foul smell seeped above the sewer holes in Dalian reminding us of how much we really do depend on water.
A Dalian Rendezvous - August 24, 2005
Yesterday, two of my high school students, Hank and Ellen, offered to show me around the city. We took the number 5 bus to Children's Park, walked over to Japan Street, and cruised by the Botanical Garden. Then we made our way to the beach.
A couple days before that, they also took me to Labor Park, gave me a tour of their high school, and took me to Russian Street. Aside from the sights we visited, I was more impressed at how hospitable these two kind kids were to me. I am lucky to have met such great people.