Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Referring to Classes

It might make by blog posts a bit clearer if I go ahead and explain now how we
refer to classes here in China.  Unlike American colleges where each student
has their own separate schedule, students here are sorted into classes
according to their major.  There are six classes of Sophomore English majors,
each with between twenty and twenty-five students.  They are labeled 1101,
1102, etc.  The 11 is the year they entered the university, so freshmen this
year will be 1201, 1202, etc.; juniors would be 1001, 1002, 1003.

The students stay with this class through the four years in university; all of
their core classes and major courses are together.  Some choose different
electives or second majors/minors, but for the most part they share the same
schedule and spend quite a lot of time together--when a Chinese person refers
to their "classmate", they are talking about a person who is like a brother or
sister to them--many of them are roommates, besides having most classes
together.  So, a Chinese person means something quite different by classmate
than what we Americans would mean refering to someone we had a class with in

Anyhow, I teach writing to classes 1103, 1104, and 1106, and Greek and Roman
Mythology to a class that's half 1101 half 1102 (presumably, there was some
alternative class they could choose).


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