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A Day in the Life of an International School Student in Sweden

A Day in the Life of an International School Student in Sweden

Advanced math. Sub-zero temperatures. Swedish. The metric system!? Something tells us we wouldn't cut it at Ayelet1991's International school.—SparkNotes editors

So far, I’ve read about public school students, Catholic school students, and Hebrew school students. But all these students live in the States. Lucky for them, English is a language they get to speak even (gasp) outside of school. Here’s what school looks like if you’re living in Sweden in the cold month of February (horrible, yet better than December and January)—which is when I started this post. Of course, most 12th graders in Sweden do not have a school day like my own—I’m an IB (Inernational Baccalaureate) student—and a lazy one at that, but here’s what my day looks like:

Wake up at my regular time and press the snooze button about six times before I realize that I’m getting a ride to school today and therefore could have slept longer.

My mother calls my cell phone. “Good morning, it’s 6:45. We’re leaving in an hour.” I allow myself to sleep for 3 more minutes before getting up. Interestingly enough, I went to sleep at 21:00 yesterday—I was working on my math investigation. It’s about roller coasters. Sounds like fun, right? Wrong. It’s mostly calculus, banging your head on the desk, and calling your amazing math whiz friend every 40 minutes for help. Finally, I got tired of the computer crashing all the time and went to sleep.

Finally I’ve taken a shower and gotten dressed and packed my backpack with my 6.6 pound math book (I’m not exaggerating. I think it might actually weigh more than that), my graphing calculator, and all the other random stuff I need for school. I no longer even bother checking my schedule… I just bring the stuff I’ll most likely need.

I make my way through the snow; I live in a separate house from my parents on what used to be a farm. It snowed an insane amount during the night. I run to the house, and have some breakfast (cereal and soy milk and bananas which are insanely expensive this time of year). I grab some leftovers from yesterday's dinner for lunch today and make some tea to put in my thermos. Seriously, my morning on-the-way-to-school tea is the only thing that gets me through the bitter cold days in this country.

I put on my boots, jacket, second jacket, scarf, gloves and hat and walk outside. It’s still freezing. I run to the car, where everyone is sitting, cramped cause of all the extra jackets, bags, shoes, and snow. It gets warm quite quickly. We start driving. It takes 20 extra minutes because the roads are icy and we have to drive extra slowly.

We finally get to school—it’s still snowing. Lovely. I’m 25 minutes late for art class. Usually I would have been in school on time; then again the only reason we drove to school was because the snowstorm was so bad that all the trains were either late or canceled, so I would have probably been an hour and a half late if we had taken the train. My sister is on time though; she starts at 08:30. I hate those lucky 8th graders.

I run up to the art room and meet my teacher on the way. He didn’t mind that I was late after all. This is the best lesson of the week: double art, 08:00-10:00. We also have one hour of art on Tuesdays and one on Thursdays, but those aren’t nearly as awesome. With an hour and a half left of class, I decide to get to work on my latest painting. So far, I’ve destroyed it about 3 times and now I’m about to experiment some more. By the time I’m done, class has been over for an hour. Standing up bent over a table and painting might sound like fun (it is fun) but it sure does make you tired.

I have 3 more hours of free time.The rest of my class has biology, history and business. Needless to say, I don’t take any of these classes. I find a World Lit essay of mine with comments from my teacher in my pidgeon hole. I look over it and decide to add the corrections to my final draft.

It’s lunch time, and I still haven’t done it. Instead I went onto SparkNotes and read random articles. I eat my lunch, not bothering to warm it up in the microwave…don’t have time, anyway. Must edit my essay.

Discussion with my teacher about my essay. It was about Hamlet and Antigone. I won’t bore you with the (awesome) details.

Hanging around in the study room, looking for volunteers for the psychological experiment I need to conduct for my Internal Assessment (it’s a project you do for a small percentage of your grade; kind of like a safety net in case you completely mess up on the exam). I got one volunteer.

Time for math class. I experience the familiar sick feeling I usually get prior to math class. Class starts. Our teacher gives us a question packet—past exam questions, yaaaay! I look at them. I don’t understand anything.

I leave class and go to the study room to work on my investigation, which os yet another internal assessment. This one only counts for 10% of the final grade, so it’s a whole lot of work for not much of a reward. Oh well. At least if I fail it it won’t make that much of a difference. Unless I fail the exam, which, unfortunately, is very probable at the moment. I look at my investigation. I attempt to work on it. I realize I don’t understand it at all. I go back to math class, and ask my previously-mentioned math whiz friend for help. Tired of constantly explaining the same thing to me over and over again, she just writes it down for future reference. I wonder what on earth possessed me to take Higher Level Math, and go back to the study room. I look back at the paper. Suddenly I understand! I run back and tell my friend that I understand, and then quickly get to work on my investigation before I forget how I understood it in the first place.

Surprisingly, I actually managed to get some work done on the math investigation. Time for physics. This is the only class in which we’ve actually finished the entire course, so we’re revising today. We start work on a past exam paper.

I have to leave class early for a doctor’s appointment. See, two years ago I would have been happy about this—yay, no class! But I’m not. Because all this means is that I miss out on valuable class time where I can get stuff done.

Doctor’s appointment is over, and I finally get to go home. The truth is that I'm too tired to work tonight. I’ll just go to sleep and… No no, work. Work. My mom isn’t home, and she has the laptop with her. So I go to her office and work there.

I get stuck again, and call my friend again. Suddenly I realize it’s 22:00. Oops, way too late to call. Luckily, though, she was still awake, also working.

I realize that I won’t get any more math done. I do some research for art instead.

I print out the photos for art. I decide to call it a night and go to sleep. Once again I run through the snow in the creepy, silent darkness to the house. The door is locked. Wonderful. I run back to the apartment where, through some miracle, the door is unlocked. I forget that the key to the house is on the kitchen counter and instead just sleep on the sofa.

That, my friends, was a day in the life of an IB student in Sweden. I'd say it's about 30% procrastination, 10% worrying about how we'll never pass, 10% learning stuff from our teachers, and 50% learning stuff from the textbook. Obviously, not every day is like this. If I were a better student, I’d probably be done with all my Internal Assessments by now and studying for the exams already. Oh well. Wish me luck: there’s only 3 more months of this before it all ends. Unless I fail. But I try not to be too pessimistic about it all!

How do you think you'd fare at a school like this?

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