Living in Minnesota, we always get lots of snow in the winter but very hot summers. I like to run track and field there throughout the whole year, and even for school. The schools in the USA have different sports for each season that you can practice. My school in Minnesota offers soccer, football, hockey, swimming, gymnastics, baseball, track and field, softball and a few other sports throughout the school year. In the US, I was in ninth grade before coming here to Finland. I was beginning my first year of high school. High school is four years, and after graduating the twelfth grade, you can attend a college or university.
The kind of school day I had there, was quite similar every day. I took a yellow school bus there everyday, which is the way most kids get to school everyday. Unless of course they can drive, which you only have to be 16 years old to do so. School started at 7:30 right away with your first class and ended at 2:00 (14:00). Each class lasted for about 50 minutes, with 5 minutes in between to get to your next class. I had 7 classes everyday. The class sizes were large at my school, with about 35-40 kids per class and 1 teacher.
In Finland I have noticed a lot of differences in the school system and the way things are taught. One big difference I noticed was that here in Finland, the students seem to have a lot more freedom. They are given 15 minutes in between each of their classes, while most schools in the US offer about 5 minutes. Here you are allowed to ask to go to the bathroom or go to your locker to get something during class, while at my school you had to write on a piece of paper where you wanted to go, the time you were going to go there, and then get it signed by a teacher. You were not allowed to leave the classroom the first or last 10 minutes of class. Each day you usually got homework in all seven classes, which would always be checked by the teacher the next day, or you would turn it in to get graded.
Some of the differences I have noticed between the 2 countries, would definitely be that people on the streets and the store workers here, don’t seem to be as friendly. Not in all stores, but a lot of them don’t seem to ask for help very often or don’t seem like they’re trying to be friendly. People on the streets also seem the same way. In Minnesota everyone always smiled or said hi to everyone as they passed one another, even if they had never met. But not having to greet every single person you see here is sometimes a nice thing to have.
Another difference would be that people seem to maintain their weight at a healthier level here in Finland. In many part of the USA, it is true that there is lots of greasy and fatty foods, and many adults and children are overweight. One thing that we do not have as much of, is all the people who smoke. Smoking is strictly prohibited for children under 18 years, and you can get into serious trouble with the law if you are caught doing so. At least half the people I see here typically are smoking, even the kids who seem like they aren’t older than 11 or 12.
So far, I like living here in Finland. One of the hardest things I’m still trying to learn is the language.
Annika on Tehtiksessä kevätlukukauden ajan vaihto-oppilaana 9e luokalla. Kuva ei ole Vuosaaresta vaan Yhdysvalloista Annikan kotiosavaltiosta.