Posted by Andrew Gundal on 4/24/2017
It’s been almost two months living in China, and I’ve noticed that there have been many stereotypes about China that have actually turned out to be untrue. Living in America, you can hear lots of things about other parts of the world. Most of which are exaggerations, leaving a negative display of a certain culture or ethnic group, persay. But as the Chinese put it, “seeing is believing”. In America, a common stereotype about Asian students is that they are all really smart and academics is the only thing they care about. Being at one of the best public schools in the country, this doesn’t really help. However, as you start to get to know your classmates and get an understanding of their schedule and workload, you start to understand how incorrect and general this stereotype is. Basketball is one of the students’ favorite activities during their break in the middle of the day as well as after school. The students practice everyday, and this break in the middle of the day allows the students to talk with other kids outside of their class. Despite school ending at a much later time than it does in Newton, Newton does not have this break in the middle of the day, which acts as a recess for many. Believe it or not, it seems like Jingshan has an equal amount or less homework than South does. Excluding their extra classes that is. And despite the ban on certain social media websites such as facebook, snapchat, and instagram, China has wechat and weibo, which is like China’s version of facebook and twitter. Many Americans have an imprinted picture of Chinese students as those that go to school all day long, have hours on hours of homework and then just go to bed and don’t have time for anything else. Yes, many students from Jingshan have classes on the weekend, and therefore have extra study time, but many spend their time doing certain hobbies they have or hanging out with some friends. Many students wouldn’t want to live somewhere else even if they had the choice. Studying is just a bigger part of the culture here than it is in America. It doesn’t mean that the students don’t enjoy their lives, or that they don’t have friends or hobbies. This stereotype is really engrained in the minds of Americans that many view Chinese students as robots, and that they all are there to do the same thing. Just study all day long and please their parents by their hard work. I have already met numerous parents that do not care what their child will do for a living, as long as he/she is happy. Of course most parents want to give their child the best opportunity possible to be successful, but many do not actually care what their child does, as long as they enjoy what they are doing. Not every student is obedient to all the rules. You will see kids show up late to class because they were buying a drink or playing basketball. More or less, Newton students are pretty similar to Jingshan students. Some like sports, some like computer games, some like anime, and some don’t like any of these things.
Another stereotype about the Chinese is that they are unathletic. However, I play basketball with Chinese students everyday and everyday, I am usually one of the worst playing. At both basketball and ping pong, which are the only two sports I have witnessed so far, I have been outclassed time after time by my Chinese classmates. I’d say this stereotype was created as a result of the idea that the Chinese only study all day. Dont’t forget that the average Chinese person is in much better shape than the average American. China has only a 6% obesity rate compared to a whopping 32% coming from Americans. So why to we look at the Chinese with such a negative connotation?