School In China series (1)

There has always been a stereotype about Asian being so smart and studious. As an Asian, I have never been exceptionally intelligent among my peer; however, I do work hard to fulfill my responsibilities as student. Now I am in China, I have realized couple differences between schooling in US and schooling in China.

First of all, students in China are generally much more likely to conform to the norm within the society. Students in Chinese universities are generally divided into classes specified by their year and major. For example, if I were a student who entered the university in 2011 and majoring in finance, then I would be in the finance major class of 2011. Therefore, the students here are studying in a small community; every class has a class monitor who is responsible for all kinds affairs of the classmates, academic student staff who is responsible for connecting the students to the professors and looking for academic resources, sports student staff who is responsible to help classmates achieve and maintain physical wellbeing, student life student staff who is responsible for events organizations for classmates, and last but not least, a communist party student representative who is responsible for the “mental wellbeing” of classmates. This class structure is consistent with the class structure in primary, middle and high school. To certain extent, this unique class structure causes the students to conform to the roles they are playing in school.

Because the class sizes are generally between 50-70 students, so basically “everyone knows everyone”. Students normally have a certain group in which they belong to certain people they are close to. Because of the strict classification of class, students normally would not go out their way to know other students from other classes. Being with the same group of classmates provides students sense of comfort and familiarity; however, it also limits the opportunities for students to extend their social circle.

In my case, because I am taking classes from finance, accounting, information system, and management, so I have the opportunity to join multiple classes, which involve different majors and grades. From my observations, students here welcome new students who join their classes half way through the college, especially foreigners. My classmates volunteered to help me get accustomed to the school culture and student life in SYSU. They introduced me to the professors in person, help me download all the class materials, tell me more effective ways to study in SYSU, show me around the campus and help me access different resources. Moreover, they take me to lunch, invite me to their study groups, add me their social groups, etc. I can honestly say that they have done everything in their power to bring me into their classes, becoming one of them. Although there are many cultural and lingual barriers, my classmates are more than happy to understand my lifestyle and introduce theirs. Through our collaborative work, we become very close to each others and learn from each others.

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