Exchange Student Series; School

As teenagers, school has a huge role in our lives. It‘s where we are all day, five days a week. It‘s interesting that this place is also the one place that has the most differences from Switzerland. It is safe to say that absolutely every aspect of school here is different than in Switzerland. 


I honestly did not think it would be this different. At the end of the day it is still just school. But from what I have learned the last few months, school is not just about reading books and writing essays. In the US, school is also about sports. A lot actually. That was very new to me. Usually if I want to start playing basketball, I’d have to find a club that offers basketball. But here students can just ask the coaches or counselors during lunch or after school. It makes joining a team a lot easier and I wish I would‘ve grown up with a system like that. On the other hand, is it very nice to have another friend group that doesn‘t go to your school, but that you met through a sport, which you can’t do at school. I think both systems have positive and negative sides, but it’s for sure easier here in the US.


Another thing that is very different is the teachers. I am sure everyone who went or is in high school can agree with me that some teachers are more friends, rather than personnel. To be honest, that was really weird to me at first. The first few weeks I thought it was weird that so many students were talking to their teachers about their private life. It‘s not like that is something we don’t do in Switzerland, but it is a different vibe here. Here, the teachers are friends that know you and your life. In Switzerland teachers have more of the role of a parent. Of course you could talk to them about anything, but not many people actually do so outside of things like subjects or other school material.


Another difference with teachers here is the help they provide with their subject. They always have time to explain the topic again or will offer counseling before or after school. I have to mention that I am kind of biased, because the school I am in in Switzerland expects the students to work without much help from teachers. But even in lower schools, the help students get there is unimaginable. So it was pretty shocking when my peers told me that if you don‘t understand something, I could just go to the teacher before school and she can explain it even more in detail to me. 


I think conclusions like that just make me realize how different the two countries are. And it is not just some aspect that varies. It is the mindset. People think differently, they want different things, and have different goals in life. And I think a lot of that comes from high school, because the time we spend in highschool is very important for building our character. So I am sure the fact that American people are so different from Swiss people  has something to do with the fact that the schools are so different as well. Even though changes come from many different ideas, during our high school years we change and develop a lot and the people around us have a big impact on our characters.


To me it feels like schools in the two countries prepare the students for different things. I don’t want to say school here is easier, because school is not only about the subjects and grades. But I have to say it is easier regarding the actual subjects and the stuff we have to know. But I will talk more about the actual school material next week!

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