By  Claire L.

Staying with my host family, I learned a lot about the rigorous academic life of an average Chinese student. Talking with my host sister, the differences between the American and Chinese educational system seemed quite extreme.

Unlike school in America, students here purely focus on their academic life, almost completely ignoring the social aspect of school. I’m not saying that focusing on one’s academic life is a bad thing, but lack of social interaction can potentially have a negative impact on one’s future. I believe that a student’s quest to be well rounded would include a balanced academic and social life. Social interaction fosters a person’s ability to communicate more effectively with people from other cultures, putting a human face onto academics and society. Staying with my host family proved to be one of the most beneficial parts of this trip, because of my host family I was able to develop a more in-depth understanding of Chinese culture.

During the school year, I can never wait for summer to arrive. I used to count down the days until camp started (or for this year, how many days left until my departure for China). In China, I learned that summer days are mostly spent in rigorous academic programs, where students study for the big examination at the end of high school, or in tutoring where they can memorize every equation or master the violin.

Although this portrayal of high school life in China may not seem very complementary, I do believe there are some aspects of China’s educational system have proven to be remarkable. This demanding academic life has instilled a strong work ethic and dedication into students, an admirable quality I have discovered in many people I have met here in China.

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