Shao Huiye is 17 years old, his life is centered around his education, as this is a very important
year of his life. This year, Shao will take the National University Entrance Examinations, which
will determine if he will get to continue his schooling the following year, if he does poorly, his
education in China, will be over.
Shao is not an average Chinese student, his family is wealthy and they live in Shanghai, one of
China's most wealthy areas. Shao's family has enough money, to afford paying for his school
tuition (1). His family also has enough money to pay for a "test-taker" to ensure Shao makes it
into college. “Many educators say the culture of cheating takes root in high school, where the
competition for slots in the country’s best colleges is unrelenting and high marks on standardized
tests are the most important criterion for admission. Ghost-written essays and test questions can
be bought. So, too, can a hired gun test taker who will assume the student’s identity for the
grueling two-day college entrance exam.” (2) This was probably one of the most interesting and
surprising facts I leared while researching the Chinese culture for this paper. When I personally
interviewed this Chinese student, he confessed to me that while in America, he took an English
placement exam, which was required by the university he wanted to attend, and he failed. His
parents were so furious that when he went home, they paid for a "test-taker", someone to go in an
d pass the test for him. Although, he claims the test-taker passed and got him an A on the test, he
was shamed by his family for requiring them to go such lengths for him. This story says alot, it
shows how important education is in the Chinese culture.
When Shao wakes up in the morning, it is about 6am, he eats breakfast, which typically consists of bread and a drink and is made for him by his grandmother, who lives in the home, along with his grandfather, his mother and father and his little sister. Shao's parents are already gone to work in the morning before he is ever awake. After he eats his breakfast, he then walks to school which only a few blocks away. At school, they study until noon, learning various subjects all together.
At noon, Shao, like many other Chinese teenagers, goes home to his Grandmother who always has
a pretty elaborate lunch made for him. After lunch, he returns to school for more studying. Shao
doesn't get home from school until approximately 9pm, everything, including Saturday and then
eats dinner and then studies for another hour. On Sundays, Shao says he always tries to meet up
with some friends and play basketball or badminton but that this is the only day his parents get to
see him so he usually spends the day with his family, eating a big dinner and going to see
something outside of the city, like the mountains or museum. Shao's grandmother is the one who
takes care of him. She washes, dries and irons his clothes and then puts them away, she fixes all of
his meals, she cleans the house, does the dishes, Shao never has any "chores" that he does,
everything is done for him, he is expected to study and get good grades.
One of the major differences I learned between the culture in the US and in China is the way we
treat our children. Children in China seem to be treated like princes, their job is to get good
grades, as I mentioned above, and everything else is catered to them. For example, if a child is
crying in the store because they want a toy, the parent buys them that toy, however, a child
wouldn't typically be in a store anyways because children belong at home playing or doing their
homework. Chinese children do not learn how to be independent until they are adults. In the US, it
is quite the opposite, we work more as a whole in our family structure and every individual does
Citations: Count: 3
"Facts and Details." PROBLEMS IN CHINESE SCHOOLS: CHEATING, EXPLOSIONS, CORRUPTION, VIOLENCE AND BUS ACCIDENTS. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2013.
"Issue of Time in Different Cultures." Interview by Palatuwa Rupasinghe. n.d.: n. pag. Print.
"School in China: Introduction to School and Education in China." About.com Chinese Culture. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 May 2013.
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