A few days after arriving in Sweden, Cody enrolled in Nolaskolan, a local gymnasium where he was assigned a temporary guide, given a tour of the building, and placed in the Natural Science program.
While the Swedish educational system has a structure similar to the American model with grades 1-9 compulsory and grades 10-12 optional, I have read online that there are major differences in how the Swedish classroom is managed. Here's what various websites have indicated:
- Swedish students address their teachers by their first names.
- Swedish students do not have to report to class or explain their absences.
- Swedish students are not given homework assignments.
- Swedish students are expected to learn the material on their own.
Hmmm ... that sounds a bit too good to be true. Let's ask Cody about it.Hi Cody,
Tell us what it's like to attend gymnasium in Sweden. How does it compare to the American high school?
Cody: I read a lot about how relaxed school was in Sweden before moving here, but it's not how I expected it would be.
Regarding your statement about being tardy or absent, it's only partially true. You still have to call or e-mail the school to say you won't be coming in, but you can walk into class 30 minutes late and no one will say anything. There's one student who comes in to every class 10 minutes late.
We do have homework albeit not as much as in America. I have only had five or six hours of homework in the two months I have been here and I used to have two to three hours of homework every night in America.
Teachers are like friends here, unlike in America. I have a friend from Estonia who lives here and he went to his teacher's house to watch soccer. My teachers in America were afraid to add us on Facebook because they might have been fired. That's a huge difference!
We have so much time between classes that we can play games. The least amount of time I have between classes is ten minutes and on average I have between 15 to 25 minutes. We have so much time during lunch that sometimes my friends and I will walk into town to have fika.
But don't worry! I still learn a lot. Each lesson is usually around an hour, or an hour and a half. The teacher spends about twenty minutes or so lecturing and the rest of the time going around helping people individually who don't understand.
Leslie: Thank you, Cody. Maybe next week we can tell everyone about the Swedish custom called fika. :-)
Cody is in Sweden for his junior year of high school. Come back often to hear more about his adventures as a foreign exchange student. And to learn more about YFU, go here.
(Photo from the Nolaskolan website.)