Differences between Italian and American schools
November 14, 2011
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Since I have been here, teachers and students asked me how different school is inItalyand if I think school there is easier or harder than it is inAmerica. Honestly, the Italian school system belongs to another world.
One major difference is that a school week inItalyis from Monday to Saturday and we have only one day off. This is the reason why Italian teenagers are even exhausted and sleep deeply during the night. Sometimes you may be so “possessed” by school that your night could become a giant nightmare where teachers are following you with a magic wand. The school day starts at eight and ends at one or two in the afternoon; some schools have lessons during the afternoon until five for one or two days per week but usually consist of students having lunch at home with their families. InAmerica, you have the football team, the basketball team, the cross country team and so on; inItalywe do not have sports at all in school. However if you want to play a sport, you have to go to a private club. This is really expensive and if you live in the country, you may spend a long time to get there.
Italyis the only country where the school lasts for five years. Another difference involves Secondary School (High School): high school is called “Liceo” (lyceum) and there are many different types of Liceo, each specializing in a certain track with similar courses. For example, a “Liceo Classico” (classical high school) concentrates on studying things like (classical) literature, the arts, humanities, Latin, Greek, etc. On the other hand, a “Liceo Scientifico” teaches things like math and science or ‘Liceo Artistico” specialized in drawing and studying artists and artistic currents. These different types of Liceo do not exclude the subjects of the other Liceo, they just concentrate more heavily on the subjects necessary. I attend a Linguistic school and the main subjects are obviously languages (Italian, English, French, German and Latin). I am involved also in humanities such as philosophy and human rights.
My school is an ancient building because it was a famous monastery. We do not have lockers, every student has a school bag to grab his/her books and you stay in one class for all five years. Your classmates become your friends, you start to feel comfortable in the first year and the atmosphere is pretty pleasant. Despite this aspect, a day in my Italian school is very stressful even if it is way shorter. We have tests every single day, both written and oral! When you wake up in the morning, you feel lots of pressure because you have to deal with lots of hard work. After lunch, I usually take a break for 30 minutes only because my afternoon is busy doing homework and studying at least three hours per day. I do not care to have excellent grades at school; I’m satisfied to have good grades and spend my time not on school, but even cultivating my hobbies like playing the guitar, scouting activities, running and last but not least, relaxing.
Furthermore, I have never taken multiple choice tests before I came here; our tests are composed by long speeches, extended responses and oral essays. To graduate we have a huge exam that lasts for four days about everything you have learned during your 5 years of high school; if you do not pass it, you have to repeat your last year!
Another thing that will sound weird to you is that we pay for our books; every year you have to buy your books: the school does not have to provide them (the amount is nearly to 300 Euro per-years, added to 300 Euro for the season ticket of the bus).
These are basically the most significant differences between the Italian and American school; you might come to try directly these stressful feeling that apparently will be awful, but one day it will give you the satisfaction of having a diploma and you will remind those years as the best ever.
I have some advice for you: the next time you complain about your school, you can think about mine and consider yourselves lucky to live in theUnited States of America!