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From San Mateo Adult School

The ESL City Government Academy - Fall 2018

by Rita Noguera, San Mateo Adult School

I'm Rita Noguera. I have lived in San Mateo since February 2017, and started studying at SMAS that same month. This August, Professor Stephania informed me that I could participate in the ESL City Government Academy program. I was curious to know different places of the City of San Mateo. Our first visit was to City Hall, and there I understood the program's importance. The visits are well organized, everyone is very attentive, and they are open to showing their departments and what their work consists of. The mayor received us in his office, and he and many other officials have given us their cards. At the end of the visit I felt that I had the responsibility to share this information with other people in the community and to take more advantage of the opportunities that the City of San Mateo offers its residents. The second visit to Beresford Parks & Recreation and all it offers for our recreation surprised me. The place itself is beautiful, both its internal and external spaces. The playground is beautiful and I liked learning that they asked the future park users, children, how to design it. For me it was the confirmation that the City of San Mateo does looks for the best way to serve its residents. In this visit we were given a map of all the parks in San Mateo, and there are so many! I intend to visit every one I do not know yet. Our third visit was to the library, a place that I use frequently, and yet I learned new things, such as the Museum Passes, the Scanner space, and the WiFi hotspot loan program.

This program is great, and I feel fortunate to be able to participate in it. Thank you very much to everyone who makes it possible.

The ESL City Government Academy - Fall 2018

by Claudia Asselborn, San Mateo Adult School

The ESL City Government Academy is a program offered by the San Mateo Adult School for ESL students that "opens a new door" of access to learn more about the City of San Mateo. Therefore, it is not a tourist tour for San Mateo, it is a carefully organized plan with an educational intent.

The program has been team work between the Adult School of San Mateo and the City of San Mateo. We as students continue to learn English as a second language, but do it connected and immersed in the community in which we study and/or live.

We increase our vocabulary, we learn about rules and laws, we know the staff that works in the city, we get information about volunteering, we learn how to apply for state jobs, and we access places, that if not for this program, we could not do it.

In my particular case, to know the City Hall of San Mateo was a very nice experience because they had received us kindly and with joy. The Main Library was also interesting because although I already knew it, I discovered new things. I wish to continue learning and gain more knowledge about the community.

The City Government Academy program has become a unique and enriching experience for all.

Amazing! The Government Academy

by Shelley Cheng, San Mateo Adult School

Through attending the ESL City Government Academy program, I gained an amazing experience.

First of all, I learned about what is the organizational structure of the City of San Mateo government and how the various departments work. Every department works hard and also supports each other very well to provide the best services for the community. I am full of respect for this and it makes me think about what I can do in my own life to help others.

Secondly, I have acquired some channels to find volunteering opportunities. For example, with the help of the volunteer coordinator, I applied and volunteered during the "Mid-Autumn Festival" and the "Health & Wellness Fair" successfully. I not only felt the happiness of helping others but also improved my English conversation skills.

Thirdly, I gained knowledge and improved my English that I can't learn within the classroom, such as specific vocabulary used and many unexpected services available in each department, the role of trees, a lot of information and programs to help us in our studies and life. By doing every assignment and attending a Focus Group, it inspired me to think and communicate more in English.

Also, I made many friends. These friends included both the classmates who have explored this process together with me and the teachers and staff members who have enthusiasm and patient guidance.

In a word, I am very fortunate that I participated in this project which has deepened my love for the City of San Mateo and it improved my ability. I am really grateful to everyone who has worked hard for this project.

From the Pui Tak Center in Chicago, Illinois

Differences Between China and the U.S. - New Years and time zones

by A.J.

In the U.S.A, there are many people from different countries, and they have different cultures. I am from China. We have a different culture from the U.S.A. For example, China has an agricultural calendar, so every year, the date for Chinese New Year is different. But in the U.S.A., the date of New Year's Day is always January 1st.

The second difference is the time zone. In China, there is only one time zone for the whole country. But in the U.S.A., there are four different time zones. When you first come to the U.S.A., I think you will be confused. So good luck, my friend.

China and America: We are not the same - guardrails and wallets

by Baldwin

There are many differences between China and America-different languages, different cultures, and so on. I will give two examples. In China, there are guardrails in almost every city's metro station platform. These ensure that no one can cross the guardrails and fall down from the platform. But not all of China's urban metro stations have guardrails. Some of the older metro stations still have no guardrails like the Chicago metro stations. I think maybe guardrails in metro stations in China are necessary because the population of China is so large. Guardrails help make the metro stations safer at busy times.

Another difference is that in China, most young people do not bring their wallets when they go shopping because many stores let you pay using cellphone apps like Alipay and WeChat Pay. So younger people only bring their cellphone with them when leave their homes. But in Chicago, we need to bring our bank cards.

Differences between China and America - new babies, names, 'teacher!'

by Chris Lin

In China, families have a big celebration for new babies when they are thirty days old. But the tradition is different in America. In America, families and communities usually come together to honor and welcome the new child.

Also, first names and last names are in a different order. In China, the family name comes first and the given name is second. And Chinese people don't have a middle name, but Americans usually have one.

In China, students usually call their teacher "Teacher" and don't say the teacher's name. But in America, students usually call their teacher by their last name. In America, if a student says, "Teacher!" people won't know which teacher they are talking to.

Differences between China and the U.S. - food and emergency phone numbers

by Hui

There are many differences between China and the U.S. First, in China, there are many kinds of delicious foods with various different ingredients. But in the U.S., food is more simple.

Another difference is emergency phone calls. In the U.S., the emergency phone number is 911. But in China, the emergency phone number is 110.

Differences between China and the U.S. - politeness, food, and appointments

by James

One of the differences between this country and China is that American people are usually very polite. But Chinese people rarely use polite words. Maybe it's a cultural difference, or maybe it's related to the amount of education people received.

Another difference is the food. American food tastes mild compared to Chinese food. And Americans rarely eat meat with bones, like we do in China.

The third difference is the concept of time. In the United States, you must make an appointment to meet others. But in China, you can usually meet at any time and don't need to make an appointment.