Do you have or did you have good classmates in school? Classmates can often end up still being good friends after they leave school and in Asia, it’s quite important to attend class reunions for many years after you’ve left school! Charlie Hoffs is a student in the USA who is also an expert Mandarin speaker. She and ShaoLan talk about school experience and the importance of classmates. Charlie notes that the Chinese word for “classmate” literally translates as “together study” which she sees as including a sense of cooperation and support, as opposed to “studying against” other students in a competitive environment. ShaoLan also teaches the words for different kinds of school and therefore allows you to describe classmates from each one, be it the elementary school, middle, high school or university!
In Chinese, the way to say “classmate” is 同學/同学, where the first character means “together” and the second character means “to study.” So the people who “study together” with you are your classmates.