There is an unwritten agreement that in the Westerners' eyes all the Chinese look the same. After attending a Dutch language course under the name of an absent Chinese student (whose initials are QH) on Tuesday night, I think it is probably true. Thanks to QH's absence, I enjoyed the experience of a Dutch course for free.
It was a beautiful mistake. I had planned to inform the teacher that I wanted to be an auditor during the course. But she misrecognized me as the Chinese guy in that course, who was coincidently absent. My wicked instinct kept me from telling her the truth. Instead I used the mistake to integrate into the course.
The course was called Dutch II. From 19.15 to 20.45, the whole class was conducted in Dutch by a good-natured lady. We practiced the appearance description as a warming-up. One had to use several sentences to describe his or her deskmate. Following was a listening section. First the teacher played a doggerel verse on the computer and then explained some minutiae of the text. During the break the teacher recommended several websites for Dutch learning.
After the break came the poetry recitation; one by one, three students from Portugal, Czech and Indonesia presented a poem in their mother tongue, and explained it afterwards in Dutch. I was so enthusiastic that wanted to perform a Chinese poem. ‘No, don't be so active Derek, you will get QH into trouble when he's back next time,' my Indonesian deskmate Aris stopped me when I going to ask for permission. His reminder nearly made me burst into laughter: I almost forgot I was just a phony QH. ‘He is a bit quiet, not like you,' Aris saved us from troubles.
It was a productive 90 minutes. Beforehand I heard some rumors about the price being too high and bad quality of this Dutch course. When I tested the water myself, however, I found it exceptionally well-prepared but also interesting. What's more, I found it an advantage to be Chinese, thanks to the Europeans' incapacity to tell two Asians apart. Finally, I just hope everything will go well with QH's Dutch study.
Vid of the Week:
When I studied in China, being absent from class now and then was common in almost every university. To solve this problem, the teacher did the roll-call to check the attendance. But many students asked their friends or classmates to do the sign-in or answer for the roll-call. For instance, A can help the absent B to say 'I'm here' when the teacher calls B's name, when A's turn to be asked, A can make up another different voice for response.
Here is a video in Chinese about this phenomenon: