While study abroad programs are well known for providing the opportunity to study different courses, travel the world and make new friends, they’re also a great way to experience some of the best education systems in the world. In fact, many students choose to embark on study abroad programs so they can discover the differences between school life at home and in another country.
Below, we explore the unique features of seven school systems around the world:
The secondary education system in the United Kingdom is quite different to that of other countries. At age 16, students usually take exams for the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). They can then choose what type of education they would like to pursue for the next two years. Many choose to study for A-Level qualifications that allow entry to universities like Oxford and Cambridge, while others continue at vocational colleges or spend time undertaking work-based apprenticeships.
Equality is a central feature of the Finnish education system – often named one of the best education systems in the world - and many efforts are made to ensure every student in the country leaves school with the same level of learning. For example, students are not separated into different classes based on ability, and every school draws from the same bank of highly-educated teachers. This Nordic country also avoids comparing students against one another so, apart from one exam at the end of the final year of high school, there are no mandated tests in Finland!
The United States is home to many of the world’s top universities - such as Columbia in New York, Harvard in Boston, and UCLA in Los Angeles – and the education system in the USA seeks to prepare students for the fierce competition to secure a place at these institutions. Student strive to improve their grade point average (GPA), a score from 1.0 to 4.0 that marks how well they have performed in all their classes. Furthermore, the Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level classes to high school students - some universities even grant course credit to students who have completed AP classes.
The education system in Australia is influenced by its climate which is very different to countries like the United States and the United Kingdom. For instance, because the summer occurs from December to February rather than mid-year, the school year Down Under typically runs from late January to early December. Plus, most schools require students to wear hats when outdoors in spring and summer to protect against the risk of skin cancer caused by powerful UV rays from the sun.
Have you ever dreamed of enjoying a multi-course meal between Math and Science classes? France might be the perfect place for you! School lunches in this European country often last up to two hours and include many courses featuring French delicacies like gourmet cheese and fresh bread.
While the school year in countries like the United States and Australia is typically divided into semesters or quarters, the education system in Spain favors a trimester approach. This means Spanish students have a lengthy summer break of nearly three months, providing plenty of time to visit the beach, tour basilicas and museums, and enjoy Flamenco shows!
School in China tends to be quite intensive. Chinese children typically start their formal education at the age of two and are expected to recognize 400 Chinese characters by the first semester of first grade. Many students in China also spend hours after school completing homework or attending music classes, sports clubs, and additional lessons with tutors.
Who knew school could be so different around the world? We hope this article has taught you more about some of the best education systems in the world and are excited to experience them for yourself!
Oxbridge Academic Programs’ summer study abroad programs are a brilliant way to experience some of them for yourself!