German Schools vs. American Schools: My Perspective

Editorial By: Franziska Ayers

I am Franziska Ayers, a German exchange student, and will be attending Knox County High School as a student for a few months this fall and winter. 

Even though Europe is adapting in many ways to be similar to the American high schools, there are still many small and big differences not only in the school system but also in the whole atmosphere and mentality. 

The first big difference in a typical school day is for one that over here nobody comes to school by bike and for two that the USA has these fancy school buses. In Germany, everything is relatively nearby so that a huge part of the students and also teachers ride their bikes to school. The few people who take the bus, have to take the public buses everyone takes, which makes it more complicated to catch the right one. 

The first thing I saw when I entered the school building at Knox County was the lunchroom which we don’t have in Germany ether. Over there students either go home for lunch or take something but normally we don’t even have school after 1 p.m. The difference in schedules is also a huge difference between the two countries. American students typically have the same seven hours every day. German students usually have 12 different subjects, which meet for three hours a week, making our schedule different every day. 

German high school students are often jealous of American students. Not only do American students have a bigger variety of interesting subjects, like band, agriculture, or business, which Germans don’t have, but they also have a nicer learning environment. It is hard to find teachers with their own personally decorated classrooms in Germany.

We actually have a whole different school system. We have high school separated into three different levels of graduation. Ether you go to school for 10 years and go right into the workforce or you go to school for 12 years and then attend college. You have to decide which form of school you want to attend after fourth grade, but you can switch school form throughout the years. School sports is also a huge thing in the USA and there are many school teams and a variety of sports. That is another thing which we don’t have in Germany.

All of those are huge differences but what I personally find the most different is the difference between the teacher-student relationship. While in Germany the teachers are strict the majority of the time and would probably not really have a friendly attitude towards the students. I have noticed that it is the opposite over here. All in all, there are many differences but after all the point of school to learn and be prepared for graduation. This is the same in the USA and Germany and so is the motivation of teachers and students.