Everything in the Netherlands is different compared to Japan. Luckily there are some similarities in it as well. Just like now in Japan, I wake up at 7:00 AM as school starts at 8:30 AM. I think you all know that bicycles are famous in the Netherlands, and if not; it’s really true. Almost everyone goes to school by bike. And because the Netherlands isn’t that large, schools are usually very close to house. At most 30 minutes by bike. How long you have to stay at school depends on what subjects you have.


You can choose a variety of subjects yourself when you enter the first year of high school. It’s very handy for people who want to go into the social stream or into the science stream. Mostly, we have around five to eight different lessons that are 50 minutes each; a small break of 20 minutes after the first 3 lessons and a larger break of 30 minutes after another two lessons. There’s only one lesson a week that is similar to your homeroom. Not to forget, something that I noticed is that you have lessons on Saturdays as well here. Back in the Netherlands, Saturday and Sunday are both resting days.


You need to have a lot of books with you for the lessons; so many people use a safe to store their books in. The Netherlands is a really open country. We usually have no uniform so you may wear what you want as long as it doesn’t show too much skin. Also, instead of the teachers going in and out of a classroom, we have to go in and out of rooms to go where we have our lessons. So the teachers have their own rooms.


My everyday life at school would be waking up at 7 o’ clock, arriving at school at 8:20. Eventually I open my safe for the books I need today. In my school year, there are not many tests, but every test counts for your passing grade. I follow the science stream, and subjects I have are for example Chemistry, Physics, Maths, and languages like French, English and Dutch. Everything is taught in Dutch except for the foreign languages.


School usually ends at 3 to 4 PM, depending on your schedule. Afterwards, I go straight home just like every other student in the Netherlands. There are neither clubs nor festivals at school here, so that’s a huge difference. Instead, the Dutch usually do sports outside school, so I for one do bowling around 2 hours a week and I do a part-time job for 7 hours a week. The rest is spare time. That’s mostly used for homework of for your own hobbies. At such moments I can also play at friends’.


Moreover, although you have quite a lot of freedom at school, school itself is one of the most important things in the Netherlands. You need to have a graduation form of your high school before you can enter a university. It’s game over if you drop out and if you get too many insufficient grades on school as well. So you nearly always have to do your best here, the whole time. It’s quite boring without clubs but I still enjoy school because I can be with friends.

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