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The effects of books

Posted by Shaoqin Li (He/him) on

we are living in a society that contains words and writing. People wrote down their experiences and knowledge in a book and pass it to the next generations to develop further. Therefore, reading and writing is a mandatory skill that we must obtain since it is the way to obtain knowledge. Unfortunately, I hated and suck at reading and writing since I was a kid. I could literally fall asleep when I read the Chinese book for more than five minutes because I could not understand what is the point of reading those “nonsense” kinds of stuff and it was hard for me to comprehend and enjoy the beauty of those writings. Hence my Chinese grade was always at the bottom of the class ranking. I thought I will stay in this position for my life until that day I met the book that would change my mindset to readings on the book affair. The book was called “Charlie IX”, a large adventure Chinese novel for children, it is pretty similar to the other book that was also very popular in our class at that time, called “A Case for You and the Tiger-Team”.

The 28th book in this series

But at that time, I was captivated by Charlie IX because we all know that children always have those imaginations about adventures. This book satisfied all my imagination because of its exciting and undulating storyline, exciting and slightly thrilling subject matter, imaginative writing, and exquisite illustrations. These elements captivated me。 I can still remember the first time I saw this book and was attracted by its exquisite cover and the abstract. The mood that was expressed by the cover and the abstract gave me a sense of mystery and the desire to open it to see what was inside the book.

After finishing reading the first chapter, I was totally shocked and addicted to this book. its descriptions and illustrations literally brought me into the book.

The illustration in the book

Furthermore, in which I think it is the key to this book is the puzzles in the book, there are different puzzles in each chapter, and the readers need to use the scanner provided by the book to solve each puzzle in order to move on next storyline. This creates interactions between readers and the book and I have to be focused on the details of the plot in order to solve the puzzles. Because I was so focused, I rarely spend my free time finishing this book and wanted to borrow other books in this series instead of playing games. During that year, I spend all my time finishing the entire series as the sixth member of the squad, experiencing different kinds of adventures, and getting familiar with each character in the book. And I benefited from the book so much besides having so much fun, first of all, my reading and writing skills were increasing at an incredible speed because I was able to understand the sentences in the Chinese book from all those practices and was capable to cite beautiful sentences in Charlie IX in my writing. But what was important was that I was finally interested in reading other readings. Also, my logic of thinking and the ability to capture details on different things are the results of solving these puzzles when I was little. Last, my personality was changed by the book, now I am in love with traveling, experiencing different views, and creating my own Charlie IX.

my random snapshot of the sunset in manhattan

Although the book now seemed to be a little silly when I bought a book from the series a couple of days ago. But without a doubt, the books gave me a wonderful childhood and their impact on me was unerasable.



Posted by Jia Yi Karen Li (She/Her) on

In August 2019, for two weeks, I was in Germany for the German-American Exchange Program I had applied for a year prior. I had applied to the program because I had always wanted to visit Germany and the program offered an independent study course that would’ve given me credit to lighten my future workload. I was of course expecting a huge shock, with the unknown language/culture and not knowing any other program members. 

Before August, I had started messaging my German exchange partner. I was a little surprised at how great her English was, her messages were just as good as what I would expect a native speaker/writer would. I found out that English was an integral part of the German education system, as well as other languages. When I eventually went to Germany, I was shocked to see how much English was used, even in a country where it is not an official language. Every restaurant that I went to had an English menu, every museum had plaques in both German and English, and even the allergy medication I had to get had everything in both German and English. 

Brochure/Map of a Museum in Heese, Germany

I initially thought this was because of tourism but when I went to my partner’s school, I learned that children start learning English in Germany when they are children, usually in the third grade. This shocked me as a second language is usually taken up in either middle or high school in the United States. However by this time in Germany, students would be taking their third language, usually a romantic language, and even after that they take a fourth language, a classical language. It was really shocking to see how I was able to communicate fluently with nine/ten-year-olds. It really made me put in perspective how poorly I knew my second language and how learning secondary languages wasn’t as valued in the United States. I found that in Europe, a second or third language is expected while knowing another language, even at the most basic level, is seen as extraordinary here in the States.

Exchange Students at the German School

It was even shocking when at the welcome breakfast, my partner and I were discussing whether the word she was using was correct. We ended up having everyone from our half of the table chime in, both American and German. When we asked the American teacher which one of us was correct, he did not even know himself and had to ask the German teacher for clarification. This threw me off guard as it really showed me the difference between the American and German education systems. I was watching how badly the American education system failed us and while I knew that it wasn’t the best, it was shocking to see how poor it was compared to other countries that are also world leaders. 


Class #6: Async Only

Posted by Jesse Rice-Evans (she/they) on


Reminder that today is a holiday!! We will be doing async work only this and next week to account for the holiday closures.

Please stay tuned for another update a bit later with instructions for this and next week’s work!

Hope you are enjoying the nicer weather and staying safe!


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