Chinese students visit Nashua

Telegraph photo by GRACE PECCI Yanghui Peng and 14 other students from China will be spending two weeks in the Nashua School District to observe and learn how American classrooms are run. Peng has visited multiple classrooms in the Nashua Technology Center during her time at Nashua High School North. Peng presented to students in Kori Kennedy’s Visual Communications class Friday about the lives of high school students in China.

NASHUA – Students in Kori Kennedy’s Visual Communications class at Nashua High School North on Friday learned their peers in China typically attend school 15 hours per day, six days a week.

Yanghui Peng, who also goes by Gloria, was one of 15 students from China who are visiting the Nashua School District this week. The students are split up amongst the district to observe how American classrooms operate. They will be in Nashua until Feb. 18.

These students are from Shaanxi Normal University and aspire to be teachers. A parent from the city, Kaitlyn Lee, originally brought up the idea of inviting students from China a few years ago. Lee said the program has been a success because of Nashua Superintendent Jahmal Mosley.

“Dr. Mosley pretty much adopted this program and with his support, this program was executed very successfully,” Lee said. “Without the school district, this could not have been done.”

During a December Nashua Board of Education meeting, Mosley discussed the internship program with members.

“This is another one of those things that are out there that you can be a part of. And it’s an opportunity to have a discussion about our global connections and have representation of who we are,” Mosley said during the meeting.

“There are a lot of great things happening here in the district,” he added.

The Chinese students are currently having their break at college, but are pursuing this internship program to continue their learning surrounding education. The students are living with host families during their stay.

Peng, who hopes to serve as a computer science teacher in the future, gave her presentation on what it’s like to be a high school student in China to multiple classes at North. She has also spent time touring and participating in classes in the Nashua Technology Center.

Peng’s presentation offered a lot of insight to the students in Kennedy’s class. Peng began by showing students a typical school schedule for a high schooler in China. Students were shocked to find out that students in China attend school from 6:30 a.m. to about 9:30 p.m. and attend school six and a half days a week. On a typically school day, the students begin with “early reading” and then have breakfast. From there, they attend three classes before going to inter-class exercise, which is similar to a gym class. After inter-class exercise, the students will have their fourth and fifth classes before lunch break. They’ll then have classes six through 10, with a break for eye exercises in between. After this, they’ll have dinner and three night classes.

Peng also shared with students that in China, girls can not dye their hair and boys must have maintained, short hair.

“If you pay more attention to your appearance, you may not have enough time to focus on studies,” Peng told the students.

The students were also shocked to find out that high schoolers in China are not allowed to have relationships, or have a job because they must focus on their studies.

Peng took time during her presentation to discuss why Chinese students have very regimented school schedules. Peng said the reason is because students have to keep up with their classmates and that parents expect a lot from their children. With so many students in China, Peng said the competition is very high.

Other questions that Kennedy’s students asked ranged from what happens when students fall asleep in class, to questions about whether high schools in China have sports teams and when they have time to play video games.

And while Peng was giving the lesson, she also was learning. Peng found that she enjoyed learning in a hands-on environment that’s offered in many of the career and technical education (CTE) classes at North. In particular, she said she enjoyed the Culinary and JROTC programs. Nashua Technology Center Director Amanda Bastoni said this reinforces the point that students often learn better in hands-on classes. Peng said the hands-on classes are offered more in college in China.

Peng also said she noticed that in America, teachers are more like “friends” with their students. She added that she found U.S. high school education to be more personal and that it gives more opportunities to students for what they want to do in the future.

Regarding her visit, Peng said, “I have learned so many things I couldn’t learn in China and met so many nice people.”