A letter from an exchange student in Australia

Topics: Christmas, Australia, High school Pages: 5 (2183 words) Published: October 13, 2013
Hello friend,
I’ve been in Australia for about 2 months now and I’m still speechless. It’s such a beautiful country! The land, the people, the climate, everything is amazing! I’ve gotten to experience the most remarkable/wonderful things, things I never could have imagined. As you know I went here as an exchange student and I’m living with a wonderful host family in Brisbane. They have been very welcoming and loving, the student exchange agency made such a good match. Brisbane is located in the east of Australia, in the state called Queensland. I’m attending the Brisbane State High School where I’m taking all the mandatory classes like English, math’s, science, social studies, art, health and physical education and so on. I’ve gotten to continue my French education as well, but everyone in that class is way better than me! Luckily they are all so nice and very patient with me, and that goes for all the classes! I had a hard time understanding the Australian accent at first, but it gets easier and easier every day. My host family taught me some Aussie-slang to help me out a bit, like “hoo roo” which means goodbye, “ripper” means something like fantastic or great, “sheila” is a girl and “dunny” is a toilet. A word that’s very confusing is “thongs”. It does not mean what you think it means! It’s another word for flip-flops, which can create quite an awkward situation. Fortunately I managed not to humiliate myself! Anyway, like I said are there mandatory classes just like there is in Sweden. Australia has a national curriculum to make sure that they have the same educational standards in schools all over the country, which resembles our “Skolverket”. You asked a lot about the schools over here in your last letter, so I’ve asked my new friends in my classes and found out some basic info. Like, something that’s similar to Swedish schools is that you’re in kindergarten or pre-school when you’re 3-5 years old. In Australia you go to Primary School between the ages 6 to 11, unlike Sweden where we go to “Lågstadiet” and “Mellanstadiet” when we’re 6 to 12. One year doesn’t make that big of a difference, but Secondary School (High School) resembles both “Högstadiet” and “Gymnasiet” together. So from what I understand, you can’t choose a specific program like in Sweden, but you can choose some classes you want to take (other than the mandatory ones) in High School. When you graduate from Secondary School you can apply for a University, just like in Sweden. As you can tell there are a lot of similarities to Australian and Swedish schools, but I found out that there are many differences as well. School uniforms for example, we don’t have any rules about dress code in Sweden, but over here it’s a part of life, at least for the students who attend High School. Almost every school has a special uniform that every student has to wear, even I have to wear one when I go to school. Even in gym class we wear matching shorts and shirts. I think those outfits are better because they’re unisex, and the rest of the day the girls wear skirts while the boys wear pants. I’m not very comfortable in skirts and dresses so I think that if you want to wear pants you should be able to! It’s kind of nice not having to choose an outfit every morning, you only have one thing to wear and everybody else wears it too. There’s not any pressure about having the latest fashion or not changing it up every day. The only thing you have to worry about is bad hair-days! I have to admit that I wish we had to wear these in Sweden as well… Not only are they a gift from heaven for the morning-tired person, they make you feel a bit more fancy and formal too. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that comfortable being formal all the time and I’d probably get sick of wearing it every day, but I like the idea a lot at the moment. I never think it would work, introducing this to Sweden though. Everyone would lose their right to express themselves through their clothes. If we would have...
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