Good Morning (Zǎoshàng hǎo), Class!
One of the things that I was most worried about coming to China was what the classroom environment would be like. I had in my head, a picture of rigorous course loads that required hours upon hours of work, done in a silent classroom where only the professor was allowed to speak. My first classroom experience was quick to do away with all presumptions about the Chinese classroom. The teachers so far have promoted a very interactive environment that, in my mind, furthers the learning experience. Many teachers have planned “discussion times” during the classes and students are graded based on the input they offer.
In the US, all of my classes are 3 hours per week, but those hours are spread out throughout the week. Here in China, it is the same 3 hour classes, but the hours are not spread out throughout the week. Monday I might have a 3 hour class, but I won’t have that class again until the next week. Whereas in the US, I would have that 3 hour class for 1 hour Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Another huge difference is that when there are Chinese holidays that students don’t have class, they are often forced to make up those classes on the weekends. In the US, students never have to take any classes on weekends, even if that means having less days for classes. Both the longer class times as well as weekend make up days have been harder to adjust to, but I am starting to adjust as we move further into the semester.
This semester, I am taking 9 hours of Chinese language, which I hope will give me a leg up to work in China someday. I am also taking courses on Urbanization of China, Macroeconomics of China, as well as Issues in Society in China. My hope is that these classes will give me a well-rounded education on a lot of what is going on in China and how to best approach a career here.
Matthew M. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Shanghai, China. He is currently a junior studying Global Business and Finance at Cedarville University.