Saturday, November 08, 2008

Foreign Exchange Students

At my school we seem to get a lot of foreign exchange students. Every year I've had at least one; always from Germany; and last year I had 3. Phew! This year I again have 2 girls from Germany, and lo and behold one boy from China.

Well, a while into the school year, I saw that he wasn't interacting with the other students, and they weren't talking to them. I don't think it was a rudeness thing on either part. My sense is, that the girls (and boy) from Germany in the past and present were so cute and approachable and maybe "looked more like them", that they naturally talked to them and became friends. That's my guess, and now that I put it down in words, it seems kind of wrong somehow (the situation). Why hasn't anyone struck up a friendship with this boy? Maybe I'm just misreading the situation, and it's only in my class that this phenomenon occurs.

Just yesterday I asked the boy from China (He's cute: when he first arrived, he said, "My American name is Eric" ... I finally asked him his real name, and he mentioned it, and I've been practicing it, so now I use it when I talk with him). Anyway, I asked him to talk to the class about how school differs in China from our school. Sheesh. That was a cultural wake-up call for my kids.

He said they start school at 7am, and have 4 classes until 12pm. Then they have a 2 hour lunch break, and at 2pm until 7pm, they have 4 more classes. Then they have 2 hours of studying. They have a month off in the spring for a sports festival. Every year (?) they take off one week for each of the following activities (?) working in the factories, farms, and army. The sports they play are tennis, running, ping-pong, and badmington (for some reason, that got a titter from my students). I guess I was surprised there was no soccer.

Anyway, hopefully, he's getting a chance to interact with students and such and not having a lonely existence of a day.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:19 PM

    I am from Korea and from this quarter just restarted studying in graduate school. Even though I am already 38 years old, not a teenager any more, I am still too shy to talk to other students for many reasons (English, cultural difference and so on...)Especially Asian nation's school system is very different from American high school. I think they need more time but good thing is the younger, the easiler, in adjusting new environment.