American High Schools and the German Gymnasium Comparison

American High Schools and the German Gymnasium Comparison

Attending a U.S. High School is very popular in other countries. It is part of the American dream life some people would like to live. That is probably the reason why so many exchange students spend one year in the U.S.

I am Lorena Freier, an exchange student from Germany this year. I am writing about the differences between the German School, which is called Gymnasium, and American High School and which school system I prefer.

I have been attending the gymnasium in Germany for 11 years, and these years are really hard for students who are not really good at math, language arts, foreign language or science. But it does not matter if they are interested in these subjects or not, they have to learn it. Occasionally, you can choose between 2 classes like arts or music, but students are not really able to decide what they want to learn in school. 

Meanwhile in the U.S. the students mainly can choose their classes on their own, and it is sometimes really difficult because there are so many different options; but it can keep the most students interested in school while they learn to explore their own interests.

Lunch is different outside of the United States. In many U.S schools the food offered is often not very healthy, but students sometimes can get it for free and that is helpful for people who don’t have that much money. While the German students have to bring lunch on their own. That can be sometimes healthier, but after a long time it can be very expensive.

In addition, the German Gymnasium does not offer such school athletics or activities like in the U.S. High Schools are very popular for their extracurricular activities and their school spirit. Some schools in Germany offer drama, but this is nowhere near as large a selection as at most U.S. schools here. But it should be because it brings you into the school community, you can easily find new friends and you stay active.

All in all both of the school systems have pros and cons, but in my opinion the U.S. high school is the school I would prefer. You have just more options in choosing classes, you can do activities that let you find more friends and you can get lunch. Of course the German school system is well known for its stronger education system, but more and more students drop out of school earlier because whether it is too hard for them or they do not have fun in being at school. 

I think the German Gymnasium should add more possibilities in choosing classes and let their students follow their own interests. Besides that they should add more extracurricular activities to create a better school community.