Last week was my first week at my new, german speaking school. It was also one of the longest and hardest weeks of my life. School in Switzerland is so different to Australian school which made settling in a challenge but a good challenge.
I thought for this post I would show you a couple of the differences between schools here and in Australia and then tell you a little bit about how my first week went and how my german is going.
|Gymnasium (Switzerland)||PLC (Australia)|
|Most of my school days are about 10 hours long. I start class at 7:30 in the morning and finish at around 5-5:30. Although some days are the opposite. I start at 8:30 and go home at 1:00!||I start school at 8:15 and finish at 3:15 every single day.|
|My class periods can go for up to 2 hours but can also sometimes be only 45 minutes. In the 2 hour classes we are given a 15 minute break halfway though but they still make me exhausted! Each day the amount and length of the periods change.||Our periods run for the same amount of time each lesson. Each class is 1 hour long and we have 2 before recess, 2 after recess and 1 after lunch. There are always 5 periods in a day.|
|I’m assuming you know that here in Switzerland there are no school uniforms so everyone wears ‘mufti’ to school. The typical outfit is jeans and boots.||I have to wear a uniform every day to school. There is also a different uniform for summer, winter, class sport and other sporting or activities.|
|I walked into my first class on the first day and reached for my pencil case only to quickly glance around and realise that everyone’s pencil cases were very different to mine. Everyone has the same size and shape pencil case just with slightly different colours and patterns!||Everyone’s pencil cases are different although they are mainly from Sportsgirl and typo or if you’re feeling fancy; Kikki K.|
|Most people purchase a school lunch from the cafeteria but if you live close to school you can go home for lunch. You are also allowed to go to cafes outside of school during the breaks.||Generally everyone brings a packed lunch from home or occasionally buys food from the canteen. You are definitely not allowed to leave the school during the day!|
|Most people in Europe speak at least 2 languages fluently. At my school students are expected to take English and French class. In the English class that I am in they are studying a book that I studied last year in English! Thats is how good at english they are.||It is only compulsory to take a language for year 7 but after that language is optional. But even people who have been studying a language for 6 years are normally still not fluent.|
|There are hardly any co-curricular activities to do before or after school. There are about 3 sports offered and they are only for competitive students. But outside of school there are lots of clubs available to join.||At PLC there are probably over a hundred sports and activities to choose from ranging from soccer to painting. You can do any sport at any level and you train a couple of times a week.|
So hopefully that gives you a bit of an idea about what school is like here in Switzerland. In my class there are roughly 20 students and only 4 girls including me. This has made it quite hard to make friends as everyone sits with their class at lunch so I have no chance to meet other people except for the girls in my class. School is going fine and I don’t have any problems but it is just a bit boring which I think is completely normal as I spend 10 hours a day sitting in a room not being able to understand a single thing being said. My favourite subject so far is art because I actually got to do something! On my first day of school I met up with Chloe (the other exchange student from Australia who is at my school) and Francesco, my oldie (an oldie is one of the students who was an inbound last August but he is ‘my’ oldie because he lives in Biel). We went for a walk beside a river and then to a park and finally a cafe for a snack.
I walk to and from school each day but luckily the walk is really nice and scenic. It is a tree covered path that runs right alongside a river. The only problem is that in the morning when I leave it is pitch black outside!