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Life of an eight-year-old in China

Kindness, gentleness, understanding, gracefulness, and humor are some of XiXi’s qualities described by her mother, and she is right. I had the pleasure of knowing XiXi, and I can surely see these great qualities in her. XiXi is well-mannered, polite, and neat. She is also very organized, accountable for the things she owns, and a responsible young girl.

XiXi is an eight-year-old from China who attends an international school in Tianjin. Like most children in the country, XiXi has a full day of school starting at 7 am when she wakes up to get ready for the day. After school, XiXi continues with additional lessons or activities until she is back home for dinner time. This time is spent relaxing with the family before preparing for bedtime by 9:00.

This is a brief description of the life of an eight-year-old in modern days, especially in China, where the primary job of parents is to give their children the best education, skills, and tools to prepare them for their future.

I sometimes think of my life as an eight-year-old, I only have a few memories of those years. I remember a few things about my school, I still remember my teacher, some of the lessons I learned, a couple of my friends but that’s about it. The memories I carry are mostly playing with my sisters which we did after school. In Latin America, it was typical to have a school day that ended at noon, just in time for lunch at home. Children had time after school to rest, do homework, and enjoy some playtime. It was certainly much simpler times.

I’ve had the honor to teach children of this age for the past 5 years, and during this time I have noticed how busy their school life is, with an 8-hour day of learning topped with more activities for the remaining hours of the day, added with more classes on weekends. It’s a very packed schedule, but families and children are determined to persevere and do their best in such a demanding routine.

XiXi is the only child in her family but she has cousins and friends she interacts with regularly. She enjoys playing with them and making them laugh. Other recreational activities she likes are riding her bike, swimming, dancing, and making crafts. XiXi also enjoys writing letters to her mom. These letters are mainly about how much she loves her although sometimes her letters might be about things that make her worried or sad.

During the summer holidays, XiXi still maintains a well-balanced routine of fun and learning. Traveling is one of the fun parts of her summers. XiXi enjoys visiting new places and learning about them, especially if she’s never been to these places before. XiXis's family encourages her to learn about her home culture at the same time that she learns about other cultures from her international education. They want XiXi to understand and be connected to her roots, more so when she doesn’t receive Chinese education.

It’s impressive the work that these children go through from an early age, all to be ready to compete in the world that awaits them. XiXi loves art and she is already taking lessons on the subject. She wishes to become an artist when she grows up. She also wants to help people in need, this is something she is envisioning in her future. For now, XiXi stays focused, studies hard to be a good student, and is cementing a strong foundation that will lead her to accomplish the future she dreams of.


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