These past few days of school here in Sweden have been really great. I am learning more Swedish, making more friends, and feeling even more at home. Not much has gone on though so I thought I would tell you what my days are like and some things I’ve already learned from going to a new school in a new language.
Monday I was able to sleep in because my first class didn’t start until 10:50am, like WHAT?! But trust me, I’m not complaining! Physics was first for an hour and a half and wasn’t too bad since I managed to only get lost a few times. After lunch we had three hours of Chemistry which went pretty well. My partner helped me translate questions as much as she could and it was easy for me to guess some of the questions since I have already had Chemistry. Some of the sentences I could even read on my own!
We relaxed in the lobby area on our breaks and I talked with some girls in my class I hadn’t talked to before. Back home, I am normally pretty shy and reserved when meeting new people or trying new things. I tend to think about things over and over before deciding whether or not I should do something, say something, or even talk to a certain person. Here, I have tried to be as careless as possible when it comes to making new friends. I really want to get to know everyone in my class and the only way to do that is to sit down with a new group, even if you haven’t talked to them much before or only exchanged smiles, and say hello.
I have found that whenever I do this, they normally have lots of questions about me, my school, my state, they love knowing if it’s just like what they see in the movies! I have already befriended so many nice people just going up to them and asking how they are. This is something I hope I can take back with me once I return to the U.S. because I feel it is the best way to get to know people and let them get to know you.
My small, yet beautiful school, S:ta Ragnhild Gymnasiet.
Tuesday is a day full of many small lessons. I start the day at 8:59 with Spanish which is a little bit tough since my brain isn’t ready to handle three languages yet, but it is only 40 minutes so I survive. Social Studies begins at 9:40 and goes until lunch. After lunch, I get the best hour and fifteen minutes of the week, English!
Since I don’t have Swedish in my schedule yet, I see this as my Swedish class since we often have to translate between Swedish and English. As everyone works on their English, I get to learn new words in Swedish and work on my pronunciation. This week we worked on translating our favorite song, whether in Swedish or English, to the other.
Our last class of the day is Physics which is nice because I’m getting better at following each and every class. It helps that a lot of the work is done on the board and not just said to us because even if I don’t know what our teacher says, I can always figure it out by what’s on the board and ask questions later. One thing I have found in all of my classes that makes it hard to follow is the teacher’s writing.
Before coming here, I always thought I would just be able to write down what’s on the board and get translations later. All the other kids know what they say as they write it on the board so if they know what the word is supposed to say or the context it is being used in. I, however, don’t have that luxury and when the teachers write messy, it’s hard for me to know what word they have written on the board.
I often find myself looking at the person’s notes beside me so I have to warn them why it looks like I’m copying them! It’s so interesting to me to notice things like this that I never thought would be a problem before experiencing school. I have noticed a few moments like this and it’s made me realize how useful certain things are to us when we don’t even realize.
Wednesday, we started the morning with a test. Every Wednesday, we have a 2 hour lock set aside for the test we have that week. This week, I was super lucky and we had an English Placement Test! It wasn’t for a grade, just to see how much we remembered from the past years. I finished in half the time and got to sit outside and have a break while others continued to work and joined me when they were done.
I think the test was really funny because some of the phrases and words they used were things we don’t use much in America so I even got stuck in a few places! But it reminded me of exercises we do in elementary school where we fill in the blank with missing words. I was definitely surprised though by some of the words they used because they were pretty advanced and I didn’t expect them to know those words.
After tests I have two hours of Spanish before lunch. We finish the day with 2 hours of math and are out by 15:20. In the evening, Ebba and I went to a step class at the gym which was super fun. It really worked your endurance but it was so fun you barely noticed. I think we will do this class a lot together while I’m here.
Thursdays I get to sleep in a little since my day doesn’t start until 9:10. Today we started with three hours of math which is nice because my math teacher likes to give us lots of breaks if we work hard in class so it goes by fast. After math we have lunch to energize before I have to tackle Spanish one last time for the week. I am definitely getting better at Spanish class, being able to understand more of both the Spanish and the Swedish so its not so confusing now, but I still have to work hard.
My last class of the day is my last physics lesson of the week so I can hold my own a little bit in that class. It’s fun to learn interesting new Swedish words like “force” and “pressure” that I wouldn’t learn out of a textbook. When I got home, Mamma and I headed to the gym for another Circle Room class and had a great workout.
Tonight I plan to work on some homework, help cook dinner, and study for my social studies test next week. I love that this place is starting to truly feel like home!!