Before I came to England, I had only gone to school in the same school district and had no idea how different other schools can be. After living in a new country for 5 months, I now realize how different school can actually be. Let’s compare:
I was shocked when I found out that summer is only 6 weeks long in England! My initial reaction was “that’s unfortunate”, but that quickly changed when I heard how many breaks they get during the year. Each school gets 14 weeks off, just divided differently. In England, every 6-8 weeks they have what’s called ‘half term’ which is a week off once they finish a term. In America, we only have a few breaks during the year which can be quite exhausting.
|Country||United States||United Kingdom|
|Summer length||10 weeks||6 weeks|
Another major difference is the breakdown of school ages. Students in America begin and finish education one year later than those in England. There are also different levels of schooling offered at different ages illustrated in the charts below.
The biggest difference I experienced was going to college at age 16. In the US, I was a junior in high school and had another year before I graduated. However, when I came to England, I was a college student. This was even better than I could have imagined.
In the US I would attend 6 lessons from 7:20-2:13 with only 6 minutes passing time between classes and 25 minutes for lunch.
In the UK I would start on most days at 9, but only have 2-3 classes a day giving me at least a 2 hour break.
This was great for me because I could sleep longer, spend my free time catching up on homework, or hanging out with friends.
|Country||Start & End time||Classes||Lunch|
|United States||7:20-2:13||6||25 min lunch|
|United Kingdom||9-4:30||3||2+ hours break|
I enjoyed attending 3 college classes because there was much more focus on each subject. With that extra focus, however, came more pressure. The grade received for each class was the final exam grade. In the courses I took, no coursework, homework, or quizzes counted towards the overall grade. This was very different to what I have experienced in the states as 85% of my final grade consisted of homework, tests, quizzes, and only 15% accounted for my final exam. Although I prefer the schedule I had in England, I enjoyed the grade breakdown of the states.
As there are pros and cons to both education systems, I cannot choose which one I prefer. However, I am fortunate to have experienced the differences and now appreciate them as well.