592 School Life in Asia

Nitiya compares schools in India and Japan.

Todd: Nitya, (Yeah) you grew up in India (Yep) In India, what are things that school children like to do for fun?

Nitya: I think playing "hide-and-seek" and I think what all children like in the world, it's the same I guess, because like when I came here in Japan, there was one thing that I was really surprised, I was like, I went with the first and second grade kids one day to their school, and I was shocked that they play the same games which we play back in India, so I think that kids find all over the same things to play (right) I mean like jumping on their one leg and like holding hands and running and "merry-go" and things like that.

Todd: Yeah, it's always the same.

Nitya: All the same.

Todd: Now you went to a school in Japan, now you live in Japan, is school the same in Japan as it is in India?

Nitya: No, it's totally different there. The education system. The things. The whole administration, it's just very different from India I guess, yeah.

Todd: Yeah, like can you give us an examples of how India might be different?

Yeah, like, the first thing is like, here one period is ninety minutes, but there we have 45 minute periods only.

Todd: Oh, I see.

Nitya: Like in the class system, and here it's like, even though if it's a quarter a system, you take a subject and you learn it only for two and a half months, but the same subject if it's back home in India, we do it like for one year, or six months so the length and the depth is more than here I guess.

Todd: Now in India, in let's say primary school, or elementary school, normally how many students are in a class?

Nitya: Primary school is like 30 students, 30 or 35, but keep increasing as you go to secondary, and it goes up to sometimes 60, yep.

Todd: Wow. Now in your town, in your village, is instruction in English or is it in another language?

Nitya: OK, like, though it's a small town, but we have a university with the second largest in India area wise in the whole world, (Wow) so I studied there my whole education and was there up to my high school, but then later I went to southern part of India for 4 years education

Todd: Uh-huh, and so the instruction was in English?

Nitya: In English and in Hindi, both because they are central government schools, so it's supposed to be in English.

Todd: Oh, I see.

Nitya: On the whole it turns out to be back in mother tongue when we speak in school and everything, but the teachers do give instructions in English.

Todd: OK, and how about, even to a Japanese school, what about school lunches? Like what do kids eat for lunch at a school in India?

Nitya: In India?

Todd: And how do they eat lunch? Is there a cafeteria? Do they bring a lunch?

Nitya: I think most of them bring lunch, and the cafeteria is supposed to be considered unhygienic by mothers, so they are not very favored towards cafeteria food, but we love it, because there are so many snacks and oily things which usually kids like, you know, spicy kind of things with mothers always against it, so we do bring lunches, sometimes we take it back, or eat it in the cafeteria, or give it to somebody, things like that.

Todd: Well, in India, what is a typical lunch, that a mother would make for her children?

Nitya: OK, it is usually Chapatti, which is made by wheat flour, and some kind of, stew kind of thing, or you know, like potatoes, vegetables kind of thing.

Todd: Right, you said, Chapatti? (yeah) What is a chapatti?

Nitya: A chapatti, it's like a pizza base, and it's made by wheat flower, (so it's) a round thing. It's a round thing.

Todd: It's a thin round piece of bread.

Nitya: Yeah, exactly.

Todd: And is there something on it, or in it?

Nitya: Yeah, we eat it with some potato curry, or things like that.

Todd: Is the curry on the outside or the inside?

Nitya: No, it's separate.

Todd: Oh, really.

Nitya: You eat it this with this.

Todd: Oh, I see. Sounds pretty good. Alright. Anyway, thanks, Nitya.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


I was shocked that they play the same games which we play back in India.

If something surprises you or is very unexpected, it makes you feel 'shocked.'  Notice the following:

  1. It shocks me that they believe in vampires.
  2. When he told me he was getting married, I was shocked.


The whole administration, it's just very different from India.

'Administration' in a school setting refers to management of the school.  It can refer to members of the administration board as well as the management structure.  Notice the following:

  1. He is starting an administration position at the end of the month.
  2. The administration of the office was very effective, so it was a wonderful place to work.

central government

In English and in Hindi, both because they are central government schools.

The 'central government' is the national government.  A central government school is a school owned and managed by the government, or a public school.  Notice the following:

  1. How many central government offices are in this city?
  2. We are waiting to receive more money from the central government for books and resources.

mother tongue

In mother tongue when we speak in school.

Your 'mother tongue' is your native language.  Notice the following:

  1. Although they both speak perfect English they prefer to communicate in their mother tongue.
  2. You have almost no accent from your mother tongue.


And how do they eat lunch? Is there a cafeteria?

A 'cafeteria' is a type of restaurant where all the food has been prepared in advance and you ask for the food you want and get it immediately.  Usually you carry your food to your table on a tray.  Notice the following:

  1. She worked in a cafeteria for a while.
  2. What are they serving for lunch in the cafeteria today?


Answer these questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
shocked • administration • government
tongue • cafeteria
  1. He learned to speak English when he was so young that he has almost no accent from his mother .
  2. There have been a lot of changes in the this year, and the employees aren't happy about it.
  3. The central has really been trying to promote public health recently.
  4. We usually just eat in the next to the office.
  5. I'm that they didn't offer you the job. I thought you were more than qualified for the position.