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Showing content with the highest reputation on 01/16/2020 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    I haven't been here in a while, but the updates kept pinging in my inbox about a thread I'd posted in years ago, so I thought I'd come back! Good to see so many old names still here. I don't think Labour have attacked private schools. They haven't been in power for 10 years after all. They have raised the fact that private schools have undeserved charitable status (ask your local private school how much they give back, and it's all about preserving the endowment, not about bringing in more assisted places and scholarships). Labour also proposed putting VAT on school fees which I don't think is too bad an idea if the tax revenues went to those at the bottom of the state sector. The great thing about that, is the private schools would all take the hit and absorb the cost, rather than raise fees 20% and see their enrolment fall. My local state primary school keeps topping the league tables, so everyone tries to get their kid in. However it's a Church of England School and if I wanted to get my daughter in there for entry at 5, I'd have to go to church every Sunday for 3 years, pretend to believe in God, and hope the vicar writes me a good reference. The closest private school to me is the UK's first dual language Mandarin and English prep school. My wife has vetoed that for cultural and political reasons (simplified characters etc), although our Taiwanese friends are happy to send their daughter there. The school follows a Chinese language curriculum from America rather than one from China. However the Chinese govt keeps sending people to visit the school for some reason... WIth regards to the original topic of this thread, It's also going in reverse, UK schools are going out to the Far East. Are Chinese parents tough enough for UK private school? The private school I went to as a child (essentially a grammar school that went rogue when Labour ended grant maintained status in the 1970s(?) has done well over the years and has become a "brand" and is this year opening branches in Singapore and Suzhou. The idea of 11 year olds in Shanghai learning Latin and the adventures of Caecillius and Grumio still makes me laugh. It's a hard enough language to persuade people to study in the West. Trying to persuade a Chinese parent that their son/daughter needs to do the Cambridge Latin course rather than spend more time doing maths or science will be tough. The best prep school near me, famously has a non competitive policy. There are no rankings, children are never told where they are in the class, its all about building confidence in the child. I really can't see anyone in China accepting a report that doesn't tell them what position they are in class. As I now have a 2.5 year old toddler, I seem to spend a lot of time in various Facebook bilingual parenting groups. If you think the Chinese Tiger and helicopter mums are bad wait till you experience the West Coast American mum (non Chinese) putting their kid through immersive Chinese pre school. To update the old phrase, 天不怕地不怕,就怕老外soccermom讲普通话
  2. 2 points
    I would echo what ZhangKaiRong said above. I have undergraduate degrees from both Fudan University and one of the top universities in the UK. There are a few things to consider. One is the quality of education. In China, the syllabuses are essentially the same across universities, which are dictated by the few standard text books available. Most lectures will essentially just consist of a lecturer going through exactly what's in the textbook. Exams essentially rely on you memorizing the material by rote - there is little scope for creative or your own analytical input. I'd say this contrasts with the UK, at least, where the emphasis is on your understanding and application of the material, rather than just your ability to regurgitate it. Also, I can't speak for all institutions, but cheating in exams in my UK university was almost unheard of. Yet in Fudan, cheating (mainly through talking to each other and reading each other's answers) happened to a greater or lesser extent in every exam, and the invigilators did little to curtail this. This puts you in a difficult position - either you stay honest and suffer against everyone else's inflated marks, or you join in with the cheating. The other thing is, no matter how good your Chinese is, covering the vast quantities of material will be difficult, especially when you are competing against some of the most diligent students in China at those top universities. Also worth considering is that learning resources are very limited - apart from the standard textbooks, there is little other material available, either in Chinese or English. Resources on the web in Chinese pale in comparison to those available in English (Wikipaedia for example), and most of the outside web is blocked from China. You can use VPNs to circumvent this, but they are slow and unreliable, and who knows whether these will be working at all by the time you get to that stage. Doing a degree in China is an experience. I would not want to dissuade anyone from doing this if it is the experience they are after. But from a purely academic point of view and in terms of future job competence and prospects, I would really recommend you do a degree in your own or another Western European or similar country.
  3. 1 point
    Having just returned to Canada, following a rather lengthy Christmas visit, I would like to provide a bit of an update to the current WeChat/AliPay cashless options for non-Chinese nationals. I have experience in IT, have lived in China, and speak the language rather fluently; so, one would assume that if the average person should be able to get this working, I should find it a breeze: Foreign nationals who reside in China can use both services, just like a local, provided they have a local Chinese bank account number. Non-resident foreign nationals do not have this option. AliPay does work, provided you are OK with the rather significant caveats. First, non-resident foreign nationals MUST use the AliPay Tourist Pass option, as a regular account requires either a domestic Chinese bank account number or a Chinese ID card number. Second, AliPay Tourist Pass MUST be configured using an overseas mobile number, so make sure you get things set up before you depart. This also means that if AliPay Tourist Pass ever locks your account, you're out of luck as you likely won't be able to access your SMS text messages, from back home, which is uses for verification. Third, AliPay charges a 5% transaction fee in addition to the 3-5% transaction fee charged by credit cards for foreign currency transactions, making this an absolutely horrible value proposition when compared to simply carrying cash. Fourth, if Google/Apple store reviews are anything to go by, not only are there significant limits to time (max 90 days per account), and significant transaction limits (currently 5000 CNY), but some accounts are being frozen (along with all the money in them) with little to no recourse. Summary: Can work; but with high fees, and high risk. WeChat Pay is further behind the curve even than the AliPay Tourist Pass mess, described above, to the point where it seems non-resident foreign nationals still cannot use the service at all. You may be able to add your foreign credit card; however, you will not be allowed to add funds from them, nor will you be able to send/receive money from other WeChat users. Real name verification still requires a local bank account or Chinese ID card number, even though a passport option exists. Finally, attempting to use said passport option got my WeChat Pay account frozen. After three weeks of dealing with telephone support (Chinese language only), my WeChat Pay account is both frozen (due to "suspicious activity") and unable to be cancelled (due to a balance which exists from before these regulations barring foreigners took effect). Odds are, I will need to start a whole new WeChat account, in future, and somehow move over all my contacts, in order to rectify this mess. If this ever does get fixed, however, I will update the post. Summary: Doesn't work, full stop. Make use of the passport option and you run the risk of permanent loss of WeChat Pay functionality even if/when they full support on-resident foreign nationals. in a nutshell, I would bet that very few non-resident foreign nationals will make use of either service any time soon, and those that do are subjecting themselves to what feels like a Wild West of extortionate fees and frozen accounts. I normally like to present things in a more positive light, or at the very least provide mere facts without editorializing. That said, it would be remiss of me to not admit that the whole mess has left be with a very poor impression of both services. Use at your own risk.
  4. 1 point
    This Chinese-made detective game looks interesting: https://store.steampowered.com/app/942970/Unheard/ "What if you could hear every word spoken at the scene of a crime? “Acoustic Detectives” wanted for testing our new device! Return aurally to crime scenes and use the voices you hear to identify potential suspects and solve the mysteries. What is it that’s connecting these seemingly unrelated cases?" "Step through time as you use our device to eavesdrop on conversations from past crime scenes. Every clue, every move, and every motive will be presented in the form of audio. Rather than controlling any one character, you only need listen to their conversations, following along as the story evolves. Use the information you hear to match names to voices and determine how everything (and everyone) is related. Can you discover the truth?" I haven't played the game (the system requirements look to be a little over what my laptop can handle), but these reviews give a good idea of what to expect: "Answering questions about an incident using only audio from the incident. Matching the voices with the names and piecing together what happened. It's a recipe for a good few hours of thought provoking fun. The only downside is there isn't really any replayability once you've figured it all out" "Extremely unique game that is most enjoyable. The idea of solving mysteries by sound requires a different skill set and is quite captivating! I recommend this for anyone looking for a new gaming experience that is very immersive!" Sounds like you would get a lot of Chinese listening practice from playing this game. It's currently on sale for £3.11 in my region. Might be worth a try.
  5. 1 point
    Are you just talking about fairy tale "once upon a time" or are you including today? Are you writing a term paper in school?
  6. 1 point
    In general I would not recommend someone from the Western countries with good education system to kick-off their academic life in China. Even though you consider these "top universities of China", their global reputation is still under development, and there is a good chance that a scarce number of people would recognize them in case you decide to come back to Europe and work and live here. At least do your bachelor here in Europe, then as a university student apply for scholarships in China, spend a year there as a language student, see for yourself whether you like what you see, and you can apply for master's degree program later (with quite good scholarship options).
  7. 1 point
    The Zhongguancun area in Beijing with all the big universities around is probably the biggest tech and start up community in China. However Shenzhen, Shanghai and Hangzhou all also have very big start up communities. Be aware though that all of these are in Chinese only, so you need to be able to speak Mandarin to really benefit from that. If you are looking for an English tech community, Shanghai is probably your best bet because a lot more people speak English, but in the end it is the same, without Mandarin most doors will remain closed, though it of course depends on what kind of business you want to run. In my experience Chinese Tech people tend to be good and many things, but learning a difficult foreign language like English is not necessarily one of them. Often the people who are good at English are not as much into technology (though of course that is a very general statement and each person is different, which especially matters when there are 1.4 billion of them).
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