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Top 5 Surprising Differences Between U.S. and Chinese Schools


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欢迎回到学校 (Huānyíng huí dào xuéxiào)! Happy new school year! 

As schools start across the northern hemisphere, most students would trade just about anything for another month of summer vacation. Already freaking out about tests? Earlier, we posted an article on useful Chinese proverbs to get you through the school year. 

Today, in our back to school series, we're giving you the top 5 differences you might not know between U.S. and Chinese schools.

  1. 1 ONLY 9 YEARS OF SCHOOL


    Chinese children are only required by law to attend elementary school and middle school. They start elementary school (小学 xiǎoxué) at age 6, which goes from first to sixth grade. Then, they do three years of middle school (初中 chūzhōng) until they are 15. 

    After middle school, they have the option of taking a test to get into a three-year high school, going to a vocational school that specializes in one subject like engineering or cooking, or going straight into the workforce. 

    Their school years are also numbered; high school is called 高中 (gāozhōng) so the years are numbered 高一 (gāo yī) ,高二 (gāo'èr), and  高三 (gāosān). None of this freshman, sophomore, junior and senior stuff!


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Erin Dumke

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