Exchange students adapt to new education system

November 26, 2019

Exchange students from all over the world set foot into Grand Haven High School, overwhelmed with their new surroundings.
“Exchange students, you know, are just like any other kid,” teacher Ben Lawrence said. “They want friends, they want to feel connected. But, it’s not necessarily their job to do that. They are guests here. So we need to be better hosts.”
Exchange students deal with unfamiliarity in adapting to changes in their home life and navigating a new learning style. Lawrence helps exchange students better understand the differences between the education system in America versus other countries.
“If they don’t know how different it is, and the different expectations we have here, they might not understand how to meet the needs of teachers and grades.” Lawrence said.
The biggest difference is that teachers in America have their own classrooms while the students travel from class to class. In most other countries, the students stay in place while the teacher comes to them. They do this to avoid the logistical nightmare we all know as passing time.
Other education systems place less stress on homework and buffer point systems in America. Teachers give a lot of responsibility to their students. It is left to the students to understand the material taught in class.
Access to technology and extracurricular activities is limited in schools around the world. Some students don’t even have access to paper and pencils. If a student wants to participate in a sport or club, they often have to do it in private rather than through the school.
Some schools (mainly Asian schools) use harsh forms of punishment, including public humiliation and paddling. In fact, there are even some states that still practice these methods.



Siham Zouitine

What are the major differences between school in and school here?
The major difference is the classes. In France, we just have one group of students for every class and every day. Also in France, it’s 8 hours a day. The teachers are completely different. It is much stricter. The professors are much cooler here. We have no team sports but only one and a half hours of sports per week and always with our same group of students.


Ginevra Vella 

What are the major differences between school in Italy and school here?
The subjects are the same for all five years. [For grades,] we don’t have A,B,C. We have a scale from one to ten. Ten is the best. We do not call them by grade [level]. We call them by year. [For example,] if you’re in the first year of high school, you’re first.

Marta Bello 

What are the major differences between school in Italy and school here?
Italian school works different than here because you don’t choose classes, but you choose the kind of school you want to go to. We don’t switch classes. So, we stay in the same class for five or six hours a day and the teachers switch classes. We are less, you know, technological. So, we use more papers and pencils.


Leire Rio Rico 

What are the major differences between school in Spain and school here?

In Spain the teacher changes classes and you are in the same desk with the same people all the time. Our classes are different every day. There are not sports or clubs, you have to do it outside of school. We have optional extra math, English and history classes.


Vladyslav Admenko 

What are the major differences between school in Ukraine and school here?
It is smaller. We have one class with the same people. Different teachers, different subjects, but the same class, the same people. In Ukraine, we don’t have the same classes every day. Something new for me here is that I have the same classes. We have more vacation.



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