Italian vs American school


Sofia Meritano, General Assignment

“Ring out the bells again

Like we did when spring began

Wake me up when September ends”

 Yes, the bells are ringing again. They are waking you up from a resting period that never seems to last long enough, summer break. It happened this morning, and it will happen for the next nine months.

The question is, are you ready? Or do you want some extra weeks of sleep like Green Day?

If I was still in my home country, Italy, I would probably choose the second proposal. However, for the last few weeks, I have woken up in a new bed in another part of the world, and I’m excited to wake up and go to school every day. 

 In Italy, in the morning, everybody must be in class by 8 a.m. Going to school can be a very long trip for some of us. In fact, not everyone attends the closest school to their home. Instead, some choose which school to attend based on certain hobbies and enjoyments.

I attend an art school which is about thirty minutes away by train or five minutes away by subway. There are people who walk or take other types of public transportation. Italians cannot drive to school because we cannot get a driver’s license until we are eighteen. 

 A normal day is composed of seven or eight periods from Monday through Friday/Saturday (the hours and the days depend on the type of school you go to).

The big difference from the USA is that everybody is in the same class with the same people during all five years of high school, contrasting with the four years of American High School. 

While you get to know people better in the Italian system, there is more potential to meet new people in the American system. 

 In both the scholar systems, the teachers play an important but different role. The bond between students and educators here is more confidential so that teenagers can see their superiors as an example to follow. For most of them, it’s also okay if students call them just by their last name without any Miss/Mrs or Mister, and they know their students primarily by their first name. 

 In Italy, instead, we must call every teacher “Professor,” and we must speak with formality. We even have special pronouns to use for strangers.  These social dynamics prevent students from getting too close to their educators and prepare them for a professional future.

My lessons used to be listening to very detailed explanations about a lot of different topics and taking notes about them. We still use textbooks for many subjects. When we come home, the time spent studying outweighs the time doing homework. Here, teachers give grades based on homework, assignments, tests, and exams, while in my country, we get grades just by written and oral tests.

 Italian classes are very similar to the Americans’. We both have History, Math, English, Art, and Psychology. However, we certainly approach things differently. Here, you talk about American history and government, which are relatively old. In my native country, instead, we deepen the European population of antiquity.

 The lunch period is the only break during the morning here in the US, and it’s a good opportunity to eat with your friends and relax. In Italy, on the contrary, we don’t have lunch at school, and we must wait until the end, which means that students eat at around 2.30 or 3.30 p.m. These can sound like crazy hours, but in Italy, everything seems to happen later than here. 

 So, we only have two ten-minute breaks during the day where we eat snacks and look at our phones. The use of technology is theoretically limited just to these two moments of the day, but in many classes, we can listen to music on our phones. Some teachers can be very strict about this subject, but we don’t have an official rule like here at Lakeland.

 As far as athletics, in my home country, they are very lacking. We do two hours a week of P.E., but if kids want to play competitive sports, they must go to places like country clubs. In the United States, instead, there is a kind of cultural attachment to sports. Playing sports is an important part of the education system in America. 

What is common on both sides surely is the importance of growing into young adults. Some of you may think that the Italian school system sounds nice or that you like the American school system better. It doesn’t really matter as long as students are open and happy to learn, and their schools offer them the ability to do it in the best way.