It's all the same, except for the drama.
20.09.2009 23 °C
Even having been through three weeks of school, I still haven’t adjusted to the daily routine.
Here’s a basic schedule of what goes on during the week:
5:10 am Get up and brush. Then return to bed.
5:50 am Get up and get dressed
6:00 am Eat breakfast, which is usually one egg, porridge and leftovers
6:15 am Leave for school
6:47 am Arrive at school
7:00 am Enter class. Depending on the day, I may go to my Grade 1 class. Otherwise, I go to my foreign students’ classroom. During this half-hour, it is self-study time. On Mondays, the flag-raising ceremony is held during this time.
7:30 am Class begins. They last for 40 minutes.
8:10 am 1st period ends. Have a 10-minute break. Only teachers move from classroom to classroom.
9:20 am I have my mid-morning snack that consists of yogurt, one egg, and some crackers
10:05 am Everyone goes outside to do morning exercises. Grade 1’s exercises is a military routine.
11:55 am 5th period ends and lunch lasts for 50 minutes. I usually go out to eat because the cafeteria food is not tasty.
12:55 pm Study hall begins and lasts 30 minutes. Afterwards, class begins.
4:20 pm 9th period ends and I am free to leave the school. However, Grade 1 and 2 students must stay until 6:00 pm. I stay near the school until 6 because I wait for my sister Gina to finish class. I have been going shopping on most days because I still need to buy many items. On Thursdays, Gina has evening classes so my dad picks me up at 5:30-5:40.
6:40 pm Arrive at home and have dinner right away.
7:10 pm Finish dinner and go up stairs to study. Sometimes, we take a walk right after dinner.
I take a shower between 8:00 and 9:30. I spend most of my nights reading, doing homework, and talking to my mom back in the States. I usually go to bed between 10:30 and 11:00.
So some other basics about the high school system:
There are three grades in high school It’s easier for me to say Grade 1, 2, and 3. But you can think of it as frosh, junior, and senior. Each grade has its own uniform. Grade 1 has a green camouflage outfit. It’s the same uniform as what construction workers wear. The ugliest part about it is that there’s a butt patch. The Grade 2 uniform has a white jacket and dark blue sweats. The Grade 3 uniform is a blue jacket with dark blue sweats.
Here, I am taking English, Math, Physics, History, Geography, Music, PE, and Computer with my Grade 1 Class 10. All classes are taught in Chinese. My Chinese class lasts for two periods each day. For this class I am with my AFS students. My schedule is the same for each week, but not for each day or alternating days. Therefore, on some days, such as Friday and Monday, I only have four classes to attend. My busiest days are Wednesdays and Thursdays. During the school days, students may have one or more periods of self-study. During these periods, a teacher may be present. But during these periods, I help students from my class improve their English in a separate room.
In honest truth, a school day doesn’t seem like it lasts forever...unless I am in History or English. My most difficult classes are History, Math, and Physics. I can’t 98-99% of anything the history does. He writes in cursive and he speaks in words I never heard. In this past week, I got a desk partner. He’s Korean but he’s lived China for 5 years. Before he became my partner, he used to sleep often in class. But now with me depending on him to help me decipher the words on the blackboard or a teacher’s lecture, he’s staying awake.
Yes, I do believe that my presence has made a difference for some people. I notice that when I come to class, he already has his head buried in his arms. But now during class, I always count on him. We sit in the back of the classroom in the second row from the right. My seat is surrounded by guys. The only girl nearby, Wang Li, would be diagonally left in front. Wang Li was helpful during the first week and a half. She let me borrow her textbooks and taught me the military moves for the morning exercise. But lately, we’ve drifted because I spend most of my time asking guys for any help or talking to other girls.
Everyone is friendly and my classmates wave to me. And I’ve gone out for lunch with a few of my friends. The awesome part of being a foreign exchange student is that there are no barriers between ages. I think it has to do with me not wearing a uniform. I am not automatically judged for my age nor am I just any regular student. This has allowed me to have friends in all grades, but mostly in Grade 1 because I attend the same class.
Stick around friends, sorry for the late post. There's actually a lot going on behind this general cycle. For example, an H1N1 panic.