December Blog

大家好 ! (da jia hao!)

It’s been 4 months since I have been in China! This month I had a lot of mixed emotions as I would be spending my first Christmas without my family. I spent Christmas with my new family in china, the other scholars and students.  I started my morning with an 8am class as in China they don’t celebrate Christmas which means no Christmas holidays. Luckily my teachers are amazing and instead of work they helped us through a Christmas party by sharing gifts with all my other classmates from various countries such as Costa Rica, Poland, Turkmenistan and Kenya. We spent our class time listening to Christmas songs, eating snacks and playing many games. After class the other scholars and I shared our secret Santa gifts between each other in our common area. I then enjoyed a lovely Christmas lunch made by a few of the other scholars; homemade soup from a rice cooker and lots of potatoes that were mashed in a large, pink basin. I didn’t really miss my family at first as due to the time difference they were all still asleep but at night time I got lots of face times from my family to make up for it . They weren’t saying how much they missed me but rather just to remind me that they were having an amazing Christmas dinner. Although I missed out on the pigs and blankets I thoroughly enjoyed my Christmas dinner, a large pepperoni pizza.  I loved my first Christmas in China although if I was to do it again I may have to get some pigs and blankets this time.

(Our scholar lunch in our common area)

In Scotland you would all have got your two week Christmas holiday but in China we had classes for the whole of December. During a normal week in China the majority of my classes would start at 8am but they luckily finish at 11:30am. I knew when class had started due to the sound of a flute over the tannoy. It is different from the bell you are used to hearing at 9am; it’s a short piece of music due to it being less disruptive for students. This is the same for the majority of school bells in China. Primary schools in China also start at 8am but still finish at 3pm; although this may seem so early Chinese pupils get an extended lunch of 1hour30mins so they also have time for an afternoon nap. Would you like to wake up an extra hour early for school? What if you got an extended lunch of 1hour and 30 minutes?  In Chinese primary schools and high schools the pupils start the day by having a large school assembly to carry out eye exercises and a dance routine. This is to wake up the pupils so they are ready to study throughout the day and also to help them to stay fit. Click here to see a school in China do their dance routine! As Chinese students work so hard during school they have apps they can use on their phones that talks them through eye exercises and head massages that help them to relax after a hard day of studying. My favourite restaurant in Tianjin has a young girl who is 8 years old who is learning English, when I visit her; she likes to teach me and the others new things in China. One day she showed us how to do the eye exercises. I have attached a video of Helen and her friend demonstrating the exercises! If you have time maybe you can all search the videos of the eye exercises on the internet and try to do them like the Chinese pupils.  Chinese students spend more time in school than pupils in Scotland due to having fewer holidays than the UK. In China if you miss a day of school due to a national holiday you may have to go to class on a weekend to make up for the lost day. Would you like to have school on the weekend? My experience in China has shown me that students in China work so hard due to having so much value over their education which has made me respect my learning so much more than I did before.

Now that Christmas is over it’s the beginning of the winter holidays!  I have so much travelling plans as my sister will be joining me for three weeks to sightsee China. During our travels Alvin will be joining us and I will tell you all about it in my next blog!

再见! (Zai jian!)