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Shanghai, China, Going Global 2015-06-10 오후 10:32:00

Shanghai, China. This is where I have lived for my whole life, or at least as long as I can remember. The city with the largest population in the world, Shanghai holds a mixture of traditional and urban atmosphere, which excites people inside and outside of the city. Tourists admire all the unique sights and sounds, while the residents feel a sense of comfort in their neighborhoods. But to both, it is impossible to ignore that Shanghai is now a strikingly different city from what it used to be only a decade ago. China’s place in the world has changed; people now seem to care more about the world rather than just the nation itself. Shanghai, already recognized as a global city, is a place that holds the potential to take the lead.

First of all, an increasing number of people in China hope to study or work abroad; thus, the importance of receiving proper education in English is being noticed by more and more students, parents and teachers. In big cities like Shanghai, private educational institutes are gaining popularity, and many parents are sending their children to English camps during vacation for more exposure to the language.

However, migrant children from other areas in China do not have the opportunities to do the same, for they are not as well off financially; they experience difficulties during English lessons at school in Shanghai due to the lack of basic knowledge. To help them, non-profit organizations such as “Stepping Stones” and “HandsOn Shanghai” are sending volunteers to community centers, where they provide free tutoring. Many Chinese and foreign students from international high schools have joined; each time the volunteers visit the communities, the children show great excitement and joy.

In the place my school volunteers, what we do usually includes reading, playing word games and solving grammar quizzes. The children often struggle with English spelling, but they work their hardest to remember each new word they learn, reading and answering questions eagerly. When recess comes, they run outside, never forgetting to invite their teachers to play together. It does not matter if their nationalities are different; both the volunteers and young students enjoy their time spent together, and part with hopes to meet again soon. Needless to say, the extra education is significantly helping the migrant children for the future.

Another point to focus on is that the nation of Korea has been noticeably attracting Chinese people as well. This is due to the growing Korean community in Shanghai, as well as the increasing popularity of Korean media.

Currently, “Korean town” has quite a strong presence; this community slowly started to form a number of years ago, as Korean residents increased near Hongquan Road, Minhang District. Korean supermarkets and restaurants came into business, which attracted even more Koreans to this neighborhood. Now, the residents regard this miniature of Korea as a familiar and natural place; Chinese citizens, on the other hand, marvel at such a foreign town. Especially since Korean drama and entertainment continuously made hits in China, the Chinese have shown special interest toward Korean food and lifestyle. On weekends, crowds of Chinese people visit the neighborhood to look around Korean cafes and taste Korean food.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of Chinese people are now interested in studying the Korean language. In Shanghai I&C Foreign Language School(上海工商外国语学校), the Korean department provides students with opportunities to learn and communicate in Korean; students participate in Korean speech contests, and visit the Korean school to spend a day together with the Korean students on Hangul Proclamation Day(Oct. 9th) every year. In the latter event, the students also watch performances and speeches by Korean students. This way, they learn about Korean culture as well as the history and everyday use of the language. It is not only them who study Korean passionately; the Korean language test for foreign students, called TOPIK (Test Of Proficiency In Korean), has become a popular exam among Chinese people. On test days, it is easy to see youths crowding into the test center, talking to one another about vocabulary words and hardships in writing.

The international city of Shanghai, China. This is where I am living today. It has become very easy to see children making an English conversation with a foreign teacher, college students holding a Korean book, and even Chinese employees who speak fluent Korean. New generations of citizens are individually seeking eye-opening experiences with the whole world in view, and thereby achieving more international competitiveness than ever before--it looks like the opening up of China has finally gained full speed.

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2015-06-18 오후 5:39:21
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