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I'm a Chinese native, but even though I can't figure out the differences between 虽然 and 即使 clearly.
Here're definitions of these two words in 现代汉语词典 (Modern Chinese Dictionary) (Edition VI).

【虽然】suīrán
连词. 用在上半句,下半句往往有“可是、但是”与它呼应,表示承认甲事为事实,但乙事不因为甲事而成立。
Conj. Used in the first half of the sentence, the second half of the sentence often has "but" to correspond it, expressing the recognition that matter A is a fact, but matter B is not established by matter A.

【即使】jíshǐ
连词. 表示假设的让步。注意“即使”所表示的条件,可以是尚未实现的事情,也可以是与既成事实相反的事情。
Conj. Represents a concession of assumptions. Note The condition of "即使" can be something that has not yet been realized, or it can be the opposite of a fact.

However, I was writing a composition for school and came across the following expression:

作为学生,我们每日坐在教室里学习,但即使这样,“劳动”离我们也并不遥远。
As students, we study in the classrooms every day. (but) Even though, "labour" isn't far from us.

I am suspecious about whether I used 即使 correctly. 每日坐在教室里学习 (study in the classrooms every day) is a fact, so according to dictionary definition, I ought to use 虽然, but 即使 is widely spoken and I feel it's right, judging from the feeling for language (语感, I'm not sure if I got the right translation). So what exactly should I use in this sentence?

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  • 虽然 is for the indicative mood. 即使 is for the subjunctive mood. – Victor Jan 17 at 1:57
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作为学生,我们每日坐在教室里学习,但即使这样,“劳动”离我们也并不遥远。

Colloquially, your sentence is ok. However it's not a good writing. 即使 is usually used when the condition is opposite to the fact. E. g. 即使他在,我也会这么说。(it implies he is actually not here) If he is truly there, we would say: 虽然他在场,但我还是这么说了。

So your sentence can be improved like this:

作为学生,虽然我们每日坐在教室里学习,但“劳动”离我们并不遥远。

Compare this two sentences:

即使我付出了真心,他也不在乎。// imply I didn't 付出了真心.

虽然我付出了真心,但他也不在乎。// imply I did 付出了真心.

Hope this could help.

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【即使】jíshǐ ..... 也可以是与既成事实相反的事情。

  1. 即使 (despite)

  2. action: 每日坐

  3. (仍) still

  4. result: 离劳动不遥远

We expect the result of sit every day to be far away from labor

Despite the action '每日坐', which should yield the result of 离劳动遥远, we got the opposite result of '离劳动不遥远'

[即使] 我们每日坐在教室里 (仍) 离劳动不遥远 = [虽然] 我们每日坐在教室里 (卻) 离劳动不遥远

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