Alright, time for a quick update. You may have noticed this blog went a few weeks without any posts, sorry about that, things were kinda hectic for a bit, and unfortunately, the blog got lost in the shuffle. So, what I will do is post tonight, tomorrow, and Saturday to catch back up. After Saturday, I’ll return to the every Thursday schedule. I hope you check it all out, and with that, let’s get back to talking all things Italian!
We started watching a movie called “Caterina Va In Citta” (Caterina in the Big City) in my Italian class the other day, and it became the topic of discussion during Italian tutoring later that day. The kids in the movie were around the junior high school age range, so we spent time talking about what that time was like for us when we were that age. Our tutor, who is Italian, and some of the students who have studied abroad compared school in America to what it was like in Italy. After the movie and that discussion is when I realized school is much different in Italy. So, tonight’s post will be about the three biggest differences between American schools and Italian schools.
1 – Time
In America, we go to school Monday-Friday for about 7 hours a day. In Italy, they go to school for about 5 a day. You’re probably sitting there thinking, “Dang… I should’ve transferred overseas.” Not so fast.. Italian students go to school Monday through Saturday, and more days total in the year. I don’t even wanna imagine an extra day of school. School on Saturday is for those delinquents who get detention. I, for one, was a good noodle (or at least that’s what I’m going to tell you guys). I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll be damned if I had to show up to that hellhole that was high school for another day. Besides by Friday, this was usually me:
2 – Coursework and Grades
Surely, we all had this conversation with a friend many times throughout high school:
“Did you read chapter 4 last night?”
“Lol, no! Did you?
“Nah, it’s a waste of time.”
We’re lucky our schools aren’t like Italian ones because that conversation would not only get you a bad grade but probably embarrassed in front of all your classmates as well. Italian students study 24/7. Why? It’s not because they just love school, they’re trying to prepare for “interrogazione orale”. The oral exam is one of the many, and I mean many, exams Italian students have to take. The teacher randomly calls on a student during a class and basically interrogates them on anything covered in class or the textbook. It’s intense and stressful.
When it’s not an oral exam, it’s a written exam. Multiple choice tests are pretty much nonexistent, so my favorite test-taking strategy of being a good guesser and BSing my way through the test is definitely off the table. Overall, Italian students can expect 4-5 of these exams a week. Yeah… a week. Smoke is coming out of my ears due to my brain short-circuiting just thinking about all that stress.
Italians don’t use a letter grading scale like we do in America. They use a number scale, mostly from 1-10, to grade exams. So, when you’re in Italy and a student tells you they got an 8 on their test, don’t panic, it’s not 8%. They’re smarter than that. Basically, think of Italian schooling as a dunk contest. You want a 10, but instead of dunking with your arms and legs, you dunk with your brain… wait, what? I don’t know what I’m saying, it might be less stressful that way, so whatever. Anyways, next point!
3 – School Spirit/Atmosphere
We complain about it a lot, but we’ll admit that high school was fun at times. Every once in a while, we miss the fun feeling when everyone came together to get excited at pep rallies and the big game on Friday. We loved the big events like Homecoming and Prom. Some of the best moments came from being around friends at lunch or in the halls in between classes. We even had our favorite teachers that we liked to see every day. That’s not how it works in Italy. There are no sports teams, they don’t have the events like we do, and the teachers aren’t your friends. Lockers don’t even exist in Italian schools. School in Italy is about education, and education only. When the clock hits 1 p.m., everything shuts down. Italian schools are like the McDonald’s ice cream machine late at night, you know the one that is “broken”, aka shut down for the night. Nothing else goes on, school spirit is not a factor at all.
Well, that pretty much sums up the basics of life in an Italian school. Next time you’re fed up with school, just be glad it isn’t any harder because it could be if you were in Italy. As always, leave comments and questions if you have them, and don’t forget to share. Make sure to be on the lookout for what’s next! Ciao! A Presto!