School life – differences and similarities

Anni –

We had our first day of american high school on Monday, 1st of May. We’ve definitely noticed some things that are done differently in American schools (or at least in McFarland) than in Finnish school.

Everyone has been really welcoming at the school. Especially during the first week, people seemed genuinely interested in us and why we’re here. I think people are definitely a little more outgoing here especially towards exchange students than in Finland.

The school days are a little different too. We have A days and B days every other day. We have different subjects on each days. A days some of as have for example US History and Study Hall (a class where you can work on your homework, we do our blog stuff during this hour), and then again on B days we have Lifetime Fitness and Photography.

A picture from the school´s art hallway

One of the differences between the high school here and school in Finland is the freedom. Over here the bell tells you when the class starts and ends. Even if you’re done with your work 5 minutes before the end of class, you have to wait for the bell until you leave the class room. Also, in some classes you need to ask for a specific restroom pass in order to be able to go to the bathroom.

Then obviously the food. The food options change from day to day, sometimes there is pizza, sometimes burgers or cheese sticks. There are also some salad meals you can buy.  Most of us bring our own lunch to school because the lunch at the school costs money.


On the left Anni´s lunch from the school and on the right Essi´s lunch brought from home. :))

Just like in Finland, the way of teaching differs depending on the teacher. Some teachers have more lecture type classes, some have the students more involved. But something interesting that we’ve noticed is that the teachers and students  (or ”kids”) talk to each other like friends. There are often also more than one teacher in the classroom, especially in freshmen classes.


Also something that we´ve noticed is that kids don´t really bother to dress up nicely to school. They mostly come in sweatpants and t-shirts. Jeans and a nicer shirt are considered as a pretty fancy outfit over here.