Laura Jones and the ARHS Brazil Exchange
Reporters: Colleen Hunter and Adam Fage

There are so many different cultures in the world. We often do not take time to find out just how different, or similar, they are from ours. There are so many aspects to look at and compare, it’s often hard to find a place to begin.Adam and I started where we thought would be appropriate, the literary and educational aspects of different cultures. We interviewed different international students that are visting our country and asked them about their country, and their education. We talked to students from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Mexico.The first interview was with Francisco Romero from Mexico. Francisco and I talked during a lunch hour one-day, and he told me much about his school and his education. The official language in Mexico is Spanish or Espanol. Fransico attends Rogens Hall, which is one of the top five schools on his area. In this school all grades, from preschool to high school, are contained within the one school. Considering this fact there are 10,000 people at least in this school. Each school level is in its own section of the school. Each section has its own cafeteria etc, so the high school students do not see the preschool students. School starts at 7:20 am and goes until 2:00 pm. Classes at Rogen Hall are 45 minutes long. Francisco and I continued to talk about school, but we focused more on how different our schools are.In Mexico, there is much more studying required than in our school. Francisco told me that they take 12 courses a semester each year. When I asked Francisco about their English class, if they had one and, if they did, what was it like? He told me that they do have an “English” class and it is called Espanol or Spanish class. In this class the focus is mostly on grammar. In Rogen Hall, they have Espanol classes from elementary until grade ten. After grade ten they stop taking that class to focus on other subjects. Francisco said that our English class is very different from his. He told me that they never read books and never interpret poetry. They study the technical aspect of it. (how you write a poem, definitions etc.) In Mexico, a famous writer that they study is Octavio Paz.At Rogen Hall they have an English class like we have a French class. Some other subjects that they take are physics, logic, math, investigation methodology, and history. In grade ten and eleven they take Greek and Latin courses because that is what their language is based on.Francisco pointed out that we, in our school, have so much freedom as to what we take for subjects. In Mexico, they do not have that freedom. He told me that in his school you pretty much have to know what you want to do with your life so you can take the right courses. They have the choice of a science/biology group (if you want to study sciences), math group (if you want to study math), society/economics group and society/ social group (if you want to study law etc.). Once you have chosen what you want to take, then you take that group for an entire year. During that year, you would take courses only to do with that group.
Francisco mentioned to me some of the better universities in Mexico and they were Technologico De Monterrey, UDLA, and Mayab. As our interview concluded, he mentioned that he found our school much easier compared to his but he enjoys it here very much.For the second interview, I spoke with Shel Ou, Johnny Hsieh, and Penny Hseih all from Taiwan. We all talked one day after school and I gathered a lot of information about their schools during this time.

Shel is in grade ten, Johnny is in grade eleven, and Penny in grade twelve. They all attend different regional schools in Tawain, and theier school year goes from September to June like ours, but in Malasia, it goes from January to the end of October.
In Taiwan school starts at 7:00 am and goes until 5:30 pm. They must get up at 6:00 am in order to be ready for school. This depends on where you live though because some people have different means of transportation to get to school.
At school, classes are 45 minutes long, and there are 10 minute breaks throughout the day. They have a 30 minute lunch hour and 30 minutes for a nap. I found this very interesting because I wouldn't think that at a higher level school you would have nap time. This is something that we only have in pre-school. They do not have any lockers at their schools. Something that is opposite to our school is that they do not change classes. The teachers change classrooms instead. Therefore, the students stay in the same classrooms all day while the teachers change from room to room. At their schools they have to wear uniforms and they have very strict rules in regards to piercings, nailpolish, hair jewellery etc. Their hair must be a certain length; they cannot wear nail polish etc. The schools have a many such restricting rules in general.
They have a choice of two different schools to go to. There is Regional School and Private School. Regional School is the one that most people prefer to go to because it looks better when applying for jobs. This school has the better education. Private school is much more expensive than Regional School is. Shel, Penny, and Johnny all go to Regional school. At Regional school there is no choice of courses to take. At a private school you have a little bit of choice, but most people prefer to go to Regional schools. They take the same courses all year round. They take 18 courses a year, and for those students graduating in Taiwan there is a government exam that they must take. The mark that you get on this exam determines what school you get into. The higher the mark on the exam the better school you get in. Their classes are a lot harder than ours are, they told me. They take English class after grade seven or in a private school. Some of the famous writers that they study in school are Bai Li, Fu Du, Dong Puo Su, Wei Wang, and Chi Chao Liang.
There are no computers in their classrooms, like we have. They have a swimming class, which I thought was interesting. There is a very strict student- teacher relationship. It is not like ours at all. We have a very open relationship. We can joke around with the teachers and the principal, but they cannot. It is very strict; you can have a conversation, and your own ideas, but you have to watch what you say. They do not have a lot of freedom in and outside of school like we do. Johnny is the only one who has a part time job. Their parents' stress high marks to the children. They are made to feel that low marks are bad. This is similar to our culture but I don't think it is quite the same. Our parents stress high marks to us but I don't think to the degree that their parents do. They mentioned that sometime it is a competition between parents. They like to brag about their children. 
As a punishment in school, your mark is cut back. They have a demerit and merit system at their school. You get demerits by doing something wrong. There are a certain number of demerits you get for a certain act. You can work off these demerits by doing something good and then you will receive merits. You can get these by helping a teacher etc.
When our interview finished up I found that our school and their schools have differences but also some similarities. Shel, Johnny, and Penny seem to enjoy our school, and the differences that they have to deal with.