This time’s interview is with Ms. I, in the first year of the Master’s Course of Biotechnology Major, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering. (This interview was made in November, 2013.)
She is an overseas student from the People’s Republic of China, who has been studying in this university from the first year of the undergraduate course. Surprising stories about the education in China! Surprising pursuit of hers! This interview is full of things. Please enjoy.
The exploration of life phenomenon, the revelation of the mechanism of the transference/ transformation of its energy, information and materials, and their applications to the biotechnology give our life a great impact. This major is to foster human resources with expert knowledge and cutting-edge technique of vital functions and food productions.
In this course, students learn the basic knowledge and the latest experiment technique of micro-organism engineering, cell engineering, biogenetics, molecular biology, and bioorganic chemistry. Then they further learn the methods to solve a wide range of problems such as the functional development of the cells of microorganisms, animals, and plants, a global environmental restoration, how to secure energy and food, the improvement of food safety/ functionality, and health promotion. We also explore the functions of useful cells of microorganisms, animals and plants, and conduct research especially for the application to the bio-industry, from a perspective of “manufacturing”.
●First of all, I am very much interested in the education in your country. What is it like?
● I think high-school life in China is very tough. Generally, the curriculum for three years must be finished in two years, because in the third year, the students have to study intensively for a university entrance examination. From the first year, we go to school even on weekends to study voluntarily so I studied almost every day for three years. In the third year, we studied from 6 or 7 o’clock in the morning until 10 in the evening at latest, so the sleep time was only 3 to 4 hours every day.
Many children start to learn English while in kindergarten, and other lessons for children also start early.
●China has a large population. The scale of a high school must be large, too. How many students are there in a high school on the average?
●In my high school there were at least 600 students in one grade. One class has 60 to 70 students.
Don’t you think there are much more in a class compared to Japan??＾＾
●Do the university entrance exams in China have a system like the National Center Test in Japan?
●Well, we also have a similar unified examination, but in a different style. In this examination, a part of questions are unified but the rest are special to each province. This is to make up for the gap of the academic level among the provinces. Also the passing marks (score) are changed according to where the students are from. The passing marks are set lower for the local students, to help them enter their provincial university more easily. The passing marks are also set lower for the examinee in the provinces where the academic level is higher. This is because these provinces present higher level of questions, and that is taken into account.
●How about the difference between the universities in China and Japan?
●Before coming to Japan I went to a university in China for about six months. A major difference is the number of lectures. Chinese universities don’t have an elective system, and all lectures are compulsory. So the lectures are given from 8 o’clock in the morning to 8 in the evening, or sometimes to 10 o’clock in the evening. Maybe because of this, Chinese universities are basically residential. Four to ten people share one room, and the members will not change for four years. Even the students from the area where the university is situated must stay in the dormitory, except on weekends. And they must return to the dorm by Sunday evening, before roll call. It’s very strict, isn’t it?
Another difference is that in Japan, students must purchase the designated course materials, which are fairly expensive. I was surprised by that because in China, these expenses are included in the tuition.
●Is there a compulsory subject special to China that you can’t find in Japan?
●Well, it’s not a subject, but the students have to take military training for one month soon after they enter university. Σ(°д°lll)!!! Hard training is given for how to walk or how to form a line, etc. Maybe it means a kind of discipline. Actually this training is given for the first year of high school too. Imagine how tough it is.
●What was the reason that you left university in China you once had entered, and chose to study overseas in Japan?
●I started to think of studying in Japan when I was in high school. Many of my relatives studied overseas, in the U.S. or in Japan, so studying abroad was familiar to me. Besides the high school I went to had been established in the States, and the teachers had been all Americans until the generation of my grandfather. With such a background, many of the students of the school would go abroad to study including to the States. I was influenced by my cousin studying in Japan, and started the procedure to come here when I was a third-grader. However I was not sure to be able to get the necessary permission from the government, so I took the entrance examination of a university in China, and was enrolled. After a while, I was allowed to come here which had been my first intention.
So much for today. The next time, we will ask her in a wide range; from how she chose the University of Yamanashi, to her pursuit (←you can’t miss it, seriously)!