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We had two doses of Chinese language class today so we hit the streets to practice our skills for the afternoon session. The task was to interview 5 strangers on the streets and use the questions we learned to gain as much information as we could. Tiffany and I worked together to find friendly people who weren't too busy to share with us. The people we interviewed were very nice and seemed happy to help us when they realized we were beginners. I think they were so nice because we are making an effort to learn their language and more about them. One even wanted us to teach her a little English! This was a fun task and allowed us the opportunity to speak with native speakers and hear their tones and different dialects. 

On our walk back from lunch, after our interviewing, we took a few minutes to look around the park. There were benches to rest, statues, many trees and plants, and a few pieces of playground equipment. The equipment for the children all seems to serve a purpose for exercise and each piece is designed to work a specific area of the body. One piece allowed you to rotate and twist your hips while another allowed you to work your legs and looked like exercise equipment you'd see in the US. It is cool to see how eager the children are to wave and say hi to us; they are always full of smiles. 

I participated in the daytime rest period but instead of napping from 12-2:30 during the normal resting hours, I took a nap from 5-6:30. I can see how the rest times are needed here with the early mornings and late nights. Everyone is so busy and working hard so the designated time to relax and reenergize is appreciated. I was able to learn some more about the Chinese culture tonight when we attended our language professors class. The class is one he teaches a couple of days a week for his Chinese students who are studying to become English teachers. We did a question and answer session and both parties were able to share and inquire. Some of the things I learned included:

- The campus is broken into two large sections the North and the South. It is also divided into 5 different areas of housing which are named after gardens. (Ex: orange garden, peach garden)
- The month of May is the singing month and there are a lot of competitions.
- The students have a very open attitude towards dating. One girl described it as wonderful and romantic while a boy described how couples are important and make a difference. Couples go to the movies and hang out like Americans do. The students are accepting of gays and lesbians. 
- Their biggest challenge when learning English was learning the grammar and being able to comprehend long papers. They have been studying the language for more than 10 years. 
- There are varying reasons for why they are going to be teachers. Some had no choice, were influenced by parents, or didn't receive high enough test scores to be in the major they wanted. While others really enjoy working with children and love education. There are two advantages to being an English teaching major: 1. Teaching is a combination of many jobs like psychology, etc. 2. You have a lot of choice in what you want to do with your major (be an editor, a mother, researcher, etc.)
- The tuition is only 4000 RMB and housing is only 1200 RMB, totaling 5200 RMB ($838.71) for one year, plus some students receive 600 RMB a month for living expenses.
- They are accepting of the censorship placed by the government on Internet use and understand why it is needed. Some believe it has prevented them from having a "lost generation." They also think things might progress too quickly and chaos will erupt. They would like to be more in the middle of the spectrum (china is on one end with censorship and America is on the other with none). They like how China is continually developing and advancing. 
- The key universities in China are located in the developed cities like Hong Kong and Beijing.
- Students need 165 credits to graduate (classes are 2, 3, & 4 credits). 
- 18 weeks is one semester. 
- They have too many national heroes to talk about in just one class period. Out of the thousands they have in their rich culture and history they provided examples of: Lin Ze Xu, Cau Xue Qin, and Bruce Lee. Their heroes are people who have defended against enemies and saved the nation or who have protected the culture. 

Everything we learned was either a personal view or group opinion. Most was personal preference and will vary. That was just a two hour class and we gained quite a bit! 

Things I learned:
- Friends (girls) walk hand in hand or arm in arm. 
- Alway bring a laptop so you have something to connect to the Ethernet cord for Internet; otherwise you have to pester others to use theirs. 
- Couples meet on the football field to sit at night and hang out (they bring blankets to sit on and the field will fill up). 
- Many people will go out of their way to help you and make you feel more at home. 

 


Comments

Terri Branson
05/31/2013 6:20am

Keep the stories and lessons coming! I look forward to opening my computer and reading your daily blog each morning!
Tell Jessica congratulations on her new teaching venture for the fall! We in the education dept. are very proud of her!
I am interested in setting up a Skype time with the two of you next week for my ED 413 class. We meet 6-9 p.m. T,W,R. Email me if you are intersted.

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05/31/2013 11:05am

You are doing a great job with talking about what you are learning about teaching and the culture. Your photos are great. Keep up the great work! I tell Issac that when he is old he won't remember all this. Don't forget to print it all out when you come home and put it with all your China memories. You should be getting your dresses soon! Look forward to seeing those photos!

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