Nosey Notes: Sweden Schooling

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Schools in America seem to be standard. You have the football team, algebra, the noisy cafeteria; it is the go-to cliché for movies about high school. But what about students outside the U.S? What are their major sports teams, classes, or hobbies? This addition to the Nosey Notes will bring you out of the Land of the Free and give you an inside look at what school is like across the pond in Europe.

Through groups I am a part of on social media, I was able to get in touch with high school students from Europe and ask them about what an average school day is like for them. I was lucky to get in touch with fifteen-year-old Mira from Sweden. Sweden is a Scandinavian nation between Norway and Finland. Mira is a ninth grader who goes to school at Kunskapsskolan in the country’s capital, Stockholm.

As I imagined, Mira’s typical school day is disparate from mine as a student at Pentucket. School starts at 9 a.m. for Mira and ends at 3 p.m. While her day may be six hours long, she only has about two 45 minute classes each day. Her schedule rotates between math, English, and Swedish class, and the remainder of the school day is given to students to study whatever subject they need to.

Mira has been learning to speak English since she was in the third grade. Curious about what an English class is like in foreign countries, I asked Mira to describe her English class for me. She said that “it’s mostly about grammar and talking about the future language.” Compared to Pentucket’s foreign language department, they focus more on becoming fluent in the language because it is predicted that English will eventually turn into a universal language. Meanwhile at Pentucket, we learn Spanish, German, and Latin with the purpose of using the languages occasionally.

After school, Mira does not have homework, so she enjoys sleeping and going to acting classes in her free time. Her school does not have any sports teams, but she and her classmates will sometimes play soccer, or football as they call it, during their breaks. When asked if she would change anything about her school, Mira wishes that “it had more teachers so that you can get help faster.” Kunskapsskolan has only about 20 teachers with 700 students, so it can be difficult at times for students to get the help they need.

Mira has never been to the United States before, but she intends to study in Florida, California, or New York for a year. She is excited to spend time in our country and meet Americans, as she finds them funnier than people from Sweden. However, she does love the nature of her home country, for it is known for its beautiful green spaces.

A special thanks to Mira for graciously giving me insight on her life. It was a pleasure to meet her and learn about her everyday life, and I hope I am lucky enough to one day visit Sweden for myself.