EFZ and Peddie: Different and yet the same

Student Daniel Tao arrived at Peddie from EFZ after winter break as a participant in the student exchange component of the EFZ/Peddie sister school program. For the last two months, Daniel has lived in a dormitory, attended classes, and immersed himself in the Peddie community. He will return to EFZ over spring break, travelling with a group of Peddie students and their chaperones who will be visiting EFZ staying with host families, and touring the area. Daniel's Peddie partner, Elliot, will remain in China and attend classes at EFZ for a portion of his spring term.

How time flies! It has been two months since I entered the gates of Peddie School. In the past two months, I have experienced high school life in the states, which is sharply divergent from life in China. I was warmly welcomed by the incredibly friendly Peddie faculty and students as soon as I arrived. In the following passage, I would like to share the differences between EFZ and Peddie with you.

The sports at Peddie astonished me most. Back in China, we have an entirely different schedule for sports: instead of practicing after school every day, we have class periods just for sports. At EFZ, there are three forty minute blocks of sports every week. In addition to the different schedules, the attitude towards sports at Peddie is way more serious than that at EFZ. At EFZ there is no track team, and the basketball team at EFZ only trains twice a week. Sports are not a very important part of school life. At EFZ there is no gym, no training room, no locker room and no indoor track, not to mention the wrestling room and turf. There is only one indoor basketball court for more than a thousand EFZ kids. Unfortunately, my ankle got twisted during my visit, however, I never would have known the training room existed if not for my injury. Thanks to the training room it only took me three weeks to recover. Professional help from a training room is not available at EFZ.

After-school activities are another significant difference between EFZ and Peddie. At Peddie sports seem to be the only option after school, while at EFZ there are a variety of ways for students to spend the afternoon. Every Tuesday afternoon there is 40 minutes of club time, which is more intense and official than the occasional club meetings in Peddie; we also have celebrities and scholars who visit EFZ to give speeches on a regular basis. These talks usually happen on Wednesdays, and speakers have included a professor from Cal Tech, a professor from Fudan University and even Yao Ming. Similar to Peddie, EFZ also organizes field trips regularly (usually twice a term). As for music, EFZ has two rock bands, but no orchestra. There are fewer art classes offered at EFZ.

The schedule is another interesting point of distinction. At EFZ, “class” usually consists of 40 people and is consistent for three years (high school in China only has three years). Usually the class gathers at 8 a.m. and stays in the same classroom for all eight periods of the day. It is the teacher who moves from one classroom to another, not the students. Each class period lasts for forty minutes, and between two blocks there is a  ten minute break. Students in EFZ cannot choose their classes; they have to follow whatever school requires them to take.

There are so many differences between the two schools. However, both of them share the most professional faculties and the best students who are not only smart but also hardworking. I feel fortunate for having been able to study in both amazing schools!