International Student Compares U.S. and European Schools

Tereza Kankova, Staff Writer, Journalism I

After spending almost one semester at the United States of America as an exchange student from Europe, I have noticed some key differences between American and Europian educational system. Is the American school system more enriching than the European, or is it the other way round? 

My name is Tereza Kaňková, senior at Notre Dame Academy and exchange student from C.S. Lewis Bilingual High School in Slovakia. 

The school system at Bilgym (nickname of our school) is slightly different than regular schools in my country. Why? Leadership of our school is trying to provide quality education on a higher level. That is why these differences are not as visible as it would be at different high schools.

The basic setting of a regular school day is different. When in America students are attending the same classes every single day in the same order for one semester, in Europe the schedule is different for each school day, repeating every week, and this schedule remains the same also for the second semester. 

Students in America are in general more involved in extracurriculars at schools, which is the complete opposite in Slovakia. However, there are plenty of different options for your personal development outside of school, which is replacing these activities at school. Students are part of various sports teams that are not part of school activities. In addition, my school is providing different clubs such as tea club, debating, workouts and their popularity is rising.

One thing is really similar. Maybe because both of the schools I am attending are private, maybe not. I can see the enthusiasm of students to be involved in school. This “phenomenon” might be new at my home country, but more people are trying to build school community. At Notre Dame these characteristics are more visible as students have more space to be involved, and most of their participation is at school. 

To summarize this up, both of the school systems have some pros and cons. People living in those countries are naturally adapted to them. For me, these changes were not that big as we have some key concepts of American style of education at my school in Slovakia. In my opinion, both of these systems are great and working efficiently.