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Exchange Students from Germany, France and Italy Talking about Intercultural Communication

G: Teachers and students, good morning. I am Ge Maike from Class 8, Senior Grade 1.
H: I’m Huang Yuening.
C: I’m Cao Yukun. This morning we are going to talk about intercultural communication.
H: As we all know that every year we will have international communication events, either long-term or short-term. This year is not an exception.
G: We believe you, especially students of Senior 1, might have already noticed that in our campus there are several boys and girls who have different skin colors and faces. They go to classes and eat at the school cafeteria with us, and have become an indispensible part of us.
C: Before we know, the 4 boys and girls have been with us for over a month. During this period of time, they must have their own experience and thoughts about life in China. They may want to share about food in the school cafeteria, friends that they just made as well as the special ways of life of their own countries. First please listen to their brief instruction about themselves in Chinese.
H: have these exchange students from France, Germany and Italy fit in by now? They are going to share from 4 aspects, food, relationship, family and school. Please listen carefully. 

Arthur: Hello, teachers and schoolmates. I’m An He from France. My French name is Arthur. Back in France I have two little brothers and one little sister. I’m going to study in China for a year. I believe this will be an unforgettable experience. I love learning languages and have interest in science. I like sports and music. I play bass and form bands. I also know how to do British boxing. Hopefully in China, a country full of culture, I could learn more different things, know something new for me and make new friends. It’s been nice to know you all.

One of the reasons why, I really like being in an foreign language school is that you can learn many languages, but when i first arrived in the school, there are also problems for me, I had troubles in communicating with the others.Because not all of the students in this school speak english. Some of them speak french (which is good for me), german or even japenese instead of english.  

I can speak french, english and a little german but the hardest thing for me is to switch from one language to another... sometimes it happened that i could not speak at all because i didn't remember the words in the right language... it was a really weird sensation, just as if i lost my voice...

Now i have a better understanding in chinese, english and german, and with the help of my friends and their patience i don't have much more problems of communication.

Each saturday i do taichi with a master but he only speaks chinese, so at first, it was hard for us to understand each other. But now we found a way to solve this problem, he teaches me chinese and i teach him french, when we have problems in understanding each other, we just explain the words by drawing and miming.

If i say, that I’ve learned something from these situations i guess it’s that there is always a way to be understand.

Vivien: Then I'd like to tell you a bit about my daily life in Germany. I usually get up at 6 am and take the bus to school together with my friends, my sister Sophie and my brother Henning. At my school "Gymnasium Am Breiten Teich" class starts at 7:45. Normally I have 4, sometimes 3 classes. One class is 90 minutes long. I finish school at either 1 or 3 pm. So in comparison to NFLS school ends very early and also we don't wear school uniforms. However, I really like wearing the school uniform and wish we would do it at my school as well. Also, there are way less students at my school (only about 750) and we don't have any activities like morning exercise.  

Sometimes I have some extra activities at school after regular classes like taking part in the history club and choir rehearsals on Friday. On other days of the week I have lunch, do my homework and study for tests once I get home. However I have some other hobbies. On Monday and Wednesday I give English tuition, on Tuesday, I go to band rehearsals in the evening and every Thursday I play the accordion with our orchestra. When I am free from any other activities I read, listen to music  and watch TV series. In the evening I always have dinner together with my family. Finally I go to bed at around 10 pm.


Clément: Hello, everyone. My name is Clément Doctor。 I’ll try to speak in Chinese, but my Chinese is not very good. So please forgive me if I make mistakes.

I’m from a small town called Bordeaux in France. I love making movies and writing. I came to China to learn Chinese and Chinese culture, because I think it is very important to explore new things. I’m staying in a family in the south of Nanjing where I have two little cute sisters, one 10 and the other 2.
Since I’ve been here, I’ve found that the biggest difference between the 2 countries lies in how we study. There are too many assignments for Chinese students. Here the students spend more time on study, and they don’t rest even on holidays. But in France, we have more spare time and do not study on holidays. However, I think spending so much time on study is a good thing, because you do a better job than us in many subjects. In French schools are much smaller, and there are not many students associations for you to choose, no flag-raising ceremony on Monday, no time for exercise or rest. We do not wear school uniforms and no one cares about the campaign of the Student Union.
Instead of settled classes, in France we have classes in different classrooms. There will be only 3 minutes for everyone to switch from one classroom to another. But we have a 15 minutes’ break between classes, a 2 hour lunch break and a lot of free time on our schedule. So things are quite different from China. Last I’d like to say, “I love this school and I’m very glad to be with you for the year. Thanks!”

Giulia: Hello! I’m Giulia. I haven’t got a Chinese name. I’m 17, from Italy. I’ve decided to spend a year here, because I like Chinese culture and history. What impress me most are the people here. Everyone is nice and kind. Chinese food here is really delicious. My favorite is steam dumplings and sweet soup balls.

I have a little brother in Italy called Marco. I love volleyball, music and travelling. Sorry my Chinese is not good enough. I will keep trying and make progress. Thanks!

I decided to talk about food in my speech, because I find  it a very significant part of the cultural differences between countries.  

First of all, have you ever tried Italian food?  if you have never, I strongly suggest you to give it a chance, 'cause I think that Italian cuisine, with the Chinese one, are two of the best cuisines all over the world.

Now let's start with some differences.

One of the main differences is the "meal time". In Italy I usually have lunch at one or two o'clock  and dinner after eight o'clock. Here in China, with my host family, I have dinner at about six o'clock. It's really early for me, so at 9 o'clock I usually get hungry ahah.

(Another important difference is cutlery. I'm sure you all know that in Europe we use fork, spoon and knife instead of chopsticks to eat. During the first few days it was very difficult for me to get used to chopsticks: I was very dolt using them but now, even if I'm not a master, I can eat without  problems.)

Here, during the meals with the family,  everyone have a bowl of rice and all the people share food which is at the center of the table. In Italy, every person has his own plate and we don't share food. Yet Italian people don't eat rice everyday, but its equivalent is "pasta".  

In China, while eating, people make a lot of sounds to express their appreciation towards the food, while In Italy it's really gross to do so. There is not a right or wrong in this, it's only a cultural difference.

A curious thing that Italian people do before eating is to "wish a good meal". In Italian, we often say "buon appetito".

Despite the differences, China and Italy also have something in common when it comes about food culture.

As in China, meals in Italy is a very important part of family life and culture. Even though Italy is a very tiny country compared to China, there are a lot of different kinds of cooking: in every part of Italy you can taste different specialties, among which, I think it's useless for me to mention the most known Italian specialties as pizza, spaghetti and lasagne.

Thank you for listening!


H: Thank for sharing. From what they say we could feel their curiosity and expectations for the new life. Wish that they would have a good time and wonderful and unique experiences during the year to come.

G: There are students coming here and students studying abroad. In our eyes, what is different about studying in another country? Those who have not such experiences must be very curious. Now let us welcome the 2 students sharing about their life as an exchange student in America.
We arrived at Saint Louis University High School in the first half of 2017. About the five months in the US, we have a lot to share with you all.
First, you must take inclusiveness as the basis on which you may fit in the local life. Inclusiveness is not just to forgive other peoples’ mistakes, but to accept according to what it is in another culture. Sometimes you may want to complain about the ineffectiveness of the city, or that it is too boring to live in that place. However, all this makes up of the unique life style here where people take comfort and freedom as the most important thing. Instead of complaining, it is better to try to take part in some local events and to get used to the different culture.
Second, no matter how much you accept, remain true to yourself and express your need and thoughts boldly. When you respect people, don’t be afraid of bothering them otherwise you may appear to be too passive. People will pay more attention to you and support for your uniqueness. Spend more time communicating with people here, you will truly understand the differences between you and them and enjoy a different life more.
H: Thanks for sharing. Maybe it is because of the different cultures in NFLS that we could have such tolerant, loving and kind students.
C: Hopefully every one of us has felt the charm of culture exchange by the meeting this morning.
G: that will be all.