Last week my students had an oral English exam for my class. In the past I have had them do some kind of speech, but this time I wanted to do something a little different.

This year they signed up for a small group to come meet with me. I gave them a list of topics and questions we have talked about this semester, I chose a few of those at random from the list, and we had a conversation about it together.

I wish I had done this a long time ago – in a big class it’s hard to have the opportunity to speak to everyone, and sometimes the shy students won’t even want to speak in front of a big group. I have over 200 students so this was a great way for me to talk and listen to everyone, and we had some amazing conversations!

I seriously love these guys.

Here’s some of my students and some hilarious/inspiring/enlightening/strange/honest things they said.

WeChat Image_20170603114340

Is your freshman year what you expected it would be? How is it different? Are you excited to be a sophomore next year?
  • “My high school teacher told me university life would be more relaxed and easier.”(Chinese students have a grueling senior year preparing for the gaokao, their college entrance examination) “He lied to me! Haha, it is hard, just in a different way.” – Mia
  • Freshman year I’ve learned how to be more independent. In high school our teachers always watched us and we couldn’t have our cell phones out or have a boyfriend and now we can. We have to be more responsible for ourselves. (Chinese high schools are strict!)
  • Freshman year was crazy, boring, fun, complicated, and simple. It’s hard to describe. But I met my best friends in my class and I’m so happy to know them.
  • Our campus is very far away from the city center. Next year we can go to the old campus and be closer to delicious restaurants. But the dorms aren’t as nice there so that part is not exciting.
What advice would you give to freshman coming to the University of South China next year?
  • “Don’t come here!!! Haha just joking” – Pippa
  • “Read more books” – Kristina
  • “Leave your dorm more often and meet more people” – Iris
  • “Be careful about which clubs you join. Choose the ones that mean the most to you.”
What is one word you would use to describe the University of South China?
  • Soil. There’s lots of soil at our school.
  • Platform. It’s a platform, a way for me to meet new people and try new things. I can use this experience as a platform to build on – Elaine
  • (“Can I use three words?” Shena asks me.) Pity meets pleasure. I did not want to major in English translation before, I wanted to study medicine but my score was five points too low. But now I am happy with my major and happy that I could meet my classmates – Shena
What is your favorite movie or a movie that has impacted you?
  • Titanic (Chinese people love Titanic). It’s so romantic and sad and the first movie I watched in the cinema.
  • Schindler’s List. I had to do a report for a class and this movie really impacted me.
  • Roman Holiday. I love Audrey Hepburn, she is so elegant and classic.
  • A Chinese movie, Goodbye Mr. Loser. A man doesn’t get along well with his wife so he goes back in time and learns she is the only that truly cares about him. It’s also a comedy and makes us laugh out loud.
  • Wonder Woman!!! She’s so sexy and strong. (LOL)
What is one word you would use to describe yourself?
  • Optimistic
  • Complicated
  • Weird
  • Lazy
  • Enthusiastic
  • Kind
  • Strong-willed. I had a disease when I was a child but I have survived it.
  • Magical (“What do you mean magical?” “Because I am a magical boy!”)
What is something you would want to tell the world about China? Something other countries might not know.
  • “I would tell them about our food. We have sooo much good food! Especially spicy food in the Hunan province.”
  • “Our festivals and traditions are very important to us. We always go home to see our families for the big holidays, like the Spring Festival.”
  • “China is strong!”
  • “Not everything you see on TV is true about China. We don’t all play tai ji and kung fu.”
  • “Welcome to China to see our culture…especially if you are a handsome boy…heeheehee”

 

WeChat Image_20170601181134

This boy Dylan is hilarious.

  • “How did you spend your holiday?”
  • “I was so busy with my friends. Everyday they ask me to join them. We went shopping, went to the cinema, and ate so much food. I don’t know why I am so popular.”
  • “Who are your friends? Other English major students?”
  • “No they’re mostly other girls….haha but my girlfriend doesn’t know about this.”

WeChat Image_20170603114347

translation 3

WeChat Image_20170603114425

translation 3 2

WeChat Image_20170601181148

translation 3 4

WeChat Image_20170603114358

WeChat Image_20170601181140

I know all these photos probably looks similar because it’s just me holding a peace sign with students but these beautiful people are all so different and unique and special to me! I’m so thankful for the chance to talk to them and hear their thoughts and ideas. They’ve taught me so much about China, about being a teacher, about people being people no matter what culture you’re from or what language you speak.