I’ve received some comments and emails from Okatie Elementary School in South Carolina. Hello low country!
I want to share with the fifth grade class some of the things that I’ve learned about China since being here. Now, this is information that I’ve been told from locals or that I deduced for myself during this trip – so your first homework assignment after reading this post might be to check my facts for accuracy!
Here we go:
- China is located in the Eastern hemisphere and is about the same geographic size as the United States.
- China is in a different time zone than Okatie – the time in China is 12 hours ahead of the East Coast of the USA. So, when it’s Noon in South Carolina, the time is midnight in Beijing.
- China has 1.5 billion people and is the most heavily populated country in the world. About 20% of the world’s population lives in China.
- If you lived in China, you probably wouldn’t have any brothers or sisters. China has so many people that its government tries to limit the population growth. They do this by restricting parents to having one child per family. There are some exceptions, though. For example, if you live on a farm then you are able to have up to 3 kids – but only if the first two children are girls.
- Mandarin Chinese is the official language in Beijing. Instead of using an alphabet like we use, the Chinese writing system is made up of characters. Each character corresponds to one spoken syllable. A majority of words are poly-syllabic, meaning that they are made up of more than one syllable, so they require two or more characters to write. For example, the Chinese equivalent of “hello” contains two syllables and takes two characters to write: 你好
- To be able to read a newspaper, you need to know about 4,000 Chinese characters.
- Kids attend public school for free until they are about 13 years old. Then, they find work or pay to go to a private school. When Chinese kids are old enough for college, they take an entrance exam that determines where they go to school and what they will study. In most cases, the Chinese don’t get to choose what they study in college – the government assigns them an area of study based on their test scores and strengths.
There is so much to learn about China and the Chinese culture – I am learning every day that I am here! If you have questions, leave a comment or send me an email. I will do my best to answer your questions.
Have a great school year!
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