As students travel abroad, a lot of them attend schools in other countries. Something they don’t consider are all the students that travel from other countries to attend school here. My friend Emily is an exchange student from Taiwan. She is 21 years old, in her junior year, and majoring in Economics at the U of M. I emailed and asked her about the differences between the schools in Taiwan and the schools in the United States. Emily went to the public high school in Taipei for 5 years before coming to the United States, where she attended Healy High School in Pierz, Minnesota. She said she was surprised at the differences she encountered:

Emily first explained that the only knowledge she had of the United States before the move came from music, movies, and the news. So she experienced quite a culture shock upon arrival. She told me the biggest differences between the school systems were how they were run, and how much time was spent studying.

“In Taiwan public high school, the system is a group of students staying in the same classroom, and then having different subjects as teachers switch classrooms.” She explained that Taiwanese students have to get used to studying together, because they are always in the same class with one another. School in Taiwan started at 7:30 am and ended at 5:00 pm; even with that long day, students would still go to the library after classes to continue studying.  But if you ask me, that just sounds intense compared to my high school!

Emily also said she noticed that American schools put more emphasis on sports, as well as students having part-time jobs while in school. She believes all these extracurricular activities take away from the importance of education.  It’s an interesting take on things.  Just remember that when you study abroad, the differences in school systems are likely to affect you.