Growing up in a European country and never witnessing what it's like to go to an American school, watching American high school comedies, to me, has always been a pretty surreal experience. I'm sure that most of you fellow non-Americans reading this article could relate to me on this.

There are so many things about American schools that have always seemed utterly fascinating to me. For instance, you get letter grades instead of number ones, schools have swimming pools inside them, there's a club for almost anything, you have to get a hall pass to go to the bathroom during class, and lunch meals are usually pretty bizarre. The list goes on. With that being said, Bored Panda invites you to look through this list of tweets from non-American Twitter users in which they share things that they find the strangest about American schools. Feel free to explain to us the things we don't understand or add your own in the comment section!

#1

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

scultator Report

GC
Community Member
7 months ago

I don’t ever know what A levels etc. are. One of these days I need to look it up.

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#2

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

morosexuaI Report

konnarw1
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

mine starts at 8:00 till 3:00

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#3

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

bieberexhale Report

Ms.M.
Community Member
7 months ago

1. Usually 2. Usually

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#4

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

chromaticaution Report

Jamziee
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, because if you're in the hall without one, then you MUST be commiting murder (Sarcasm lads)

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#5

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

hilaryagro Report

Ms.M.
Community Member
7 months ago

It didn't when I was a kid, but it does for my children. I hate it.

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#6

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

ShadyFennec Report

Michelle C
Community Member
7 months ago

Yep and we decorate them too!

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#7

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

TROUBLET0NES Report

Eva Bryson
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, don't you?

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#8

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

Nonisbitch Report

Ms.M.
Community Member
7 months ago

That's always bugged me too.

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#9

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

kirstyclyne Report

GlassHalfWay
Community Member
7 months ago

Yep, even a snowboard & skiing club in the Midwest.

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#10

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

Iivingxproof Report

Juniper
Community Member
7 months ago

Wait, don't all schools have cafeterias? Where do you eat your lunch?

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

Almost zero schools in Australia have cafeterias. You just find somewhere to sit, there are benches usually scattered over the school like the courtyard, on the oval, in front of the library etc or you just sat on the grass on the oval. In primary school you often eat your lunch in the class and then after 10-15 mins you get to go outside and play.

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ramen noodle
Community Member
7 months ago

huge, loud, head-ache inducing cafeterias.

Brandon Collinsworth
Community Member
7 months ago

Well, I was today years old when I realized school cafeterias were an American thing. I know we are weirdos here in the USA but this one I just assumed was ubiquitous to the whole world. I mean even in Harry Potter they ate in the great hall.

Aiyana Menrige
Community Member
7 months ago

Where would we eat?

BABY_FOX_ヾ(•ω•)o
Community Member
7 months ago

If you live in Asia, or somewhere else, you eat in your classroom

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Christian Bradshaw
Community Member
7 months ago

I didn't realize that was abnormal...

Soggy Crumpet
Community Member
7 months ago

It’s not abnormal. It’s American :-)

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Brett
Community Member
7 months ago

Some people don’t!?

ArtistinResidence
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, we have cafeterias and selections of different foods. You get approximately a half an hour for lunch so you don’t really have time to go home and we don’t allow students out because we have had occurrences of them getting into accidents or getting stoned or getting drunk and then coming back or not coming back. Seniors usually have greater privileges and their own lunch area. We have staggered periods for eating so all students are in the cafeteria at the same time. For quite a few students who are uncomfortable with all that socialization there are teachers that usually allow them to eat in their rooms.

backatya
Community Member
7 months ago

They got stoned? Who would throw stones at them? lol

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¡ Rachel ¡
Community Member
7 months ago

British here, every primary school i went to, and that my children went to, had a huge hall for assembly's that would be used for meals but no cafeteria. However all the middle / secondary schools had cafeterias.

Erin Kavik
Community Member
7 months ago

Both my primary and secondary had large cafeterias. Most kids I knew exclusively ate school provided meals while at school.

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Ms.M.
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, that's where the kids eat their lunch....

CatWoman312
Community Member
7 months ago

This is what they say is weird?

tangy chip
Community Member
7 months ago

my cousins in mexico are still in grade school, and by the time they finish it is lunchtime, so they eat at home.

Gwenda Christenson
Community Member
7 months ago

Where would you go to eat your lunch? Most of us can't go home (living 10+ miles away). Because school are mostly in rural areas there are no local places to eat. Some schools are actually located between towns - so the only thing nearby is a field.

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
7 months ago

In Australia we eat wherever we can find to sit. We don’t have cafeterias but we have benches scattered around the school yard or you can just sit on the grassy oval. In primary school though a lot of kids eat their food in the class room for 10-15mins then after that they go and play in the school yard.

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Panda_Plush<3
Community Member
7 months ago

My school don't have a cafeteria

Jessica Bertram
Community Member
7 months ago

it should. there's a bunch of secretly hungry kids at your school. I'd bet my life on it, if you're anywhere in America.

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angie but who cares
Community Member
7 months ago

yeah you guys dont ?

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
7 months ago

Nope, we sit wherever we can find a spot scattered around the school.

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Eglė Bukauskaitė
Community Member
5 months ago

This question should be the vice verca. Your schools DON'T have cafeterias??

Viv Hart
Community Member
6 months ago

In South Africa, you or Mom makes your sandwiches to take to school for lunch, with a bottle of milk or juice. We had a tuckshop which sold cold drinks, what the US calls soda.

Philly Bob Squires
Community Member
7 months ago

I went to Mastbaum in Philadelphia from 1973 to 1976 and we'd eat lunch (if we brought it) up on the roof or on the front steps. The cafeteria was a zoo. I usually just hung out as I mentioned in another post, that I'd save my bus fare and lunch money to buy records!

Celtic Pirate Queen
Community Member
7 months ago

Most do. It's the way only way a lot of kids get a decent meal (sometimes breakfast, too). I went to Catholic school and our cafeteria was basically for Friday night Bingo. We got a hot lunch on Fridays (hot dogs or hamburgers, even during Lent - go figure!).

Kimberly Reetz
Community Member
7 months ago

For kids who don’t have cold lunch brought from home. I would sometimes forget to make/bring my lunch, but I could still eat.

Amanda Hunter
Community Member
7 months ago

Well, Euopean schools do too.

Elizabeth Robert
Community Member
7 months ago

YES and my Mom was the school cook for all 8 of my elementary school years....

Gregg Bender
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, and the food is frequently awful.

Patti Renwick Parrish
Community Member
7 months ago

yeah, but the food sucks! at least in my high school it did

Heather Hayllar
Community Member
7 months ago

eat homemade lunch in the playground

Faith Hurst
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes. Teachers need to have a break, too.

elfin
Community Member
7 months ago

Many do. It is a convenient way to feed a lot of students. It is also a way to make sure that students from underprivileged homes get a solid meal. It's awful that that's a thing, but it does serve a good purpose.

Jane Alexander
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes. probably most do.

Kimberly Herbert
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes and a program where kids that are food insecure get at least 2 meals every school day. SOme districts even have an evening meal for kids that stay after school for sports or clubs.

Ivana
Community Member
7 months ago

Didn't know this was an American thing but it works really well. Highly recommend.

Goth Nurse
Community Member
7 months ago

Huh? Here in Finland we have cafeterias/dining halls. That's where they serve the (free) food.

pink
Community Member
7 months ago

Where I live we have cafeterias but they're not like American ones. You get only 1-2 dishes and you don't get pizza or Doritos. We get to leave during lunch hours too.

I Like Jelly
Community Member
7 months ago

We get a cafeteria to sit in and eat lunch for 15 minutes then straight back to the classroom we go (no recess or freedom of any sort)

あんぱんまん
Community Member
7 months ago

we have cefeterias too... but we dont get to eat their, noooo, we have to buy the damn oily food wrapped in one layer tissue paper and go to the class to eat! and did i mention we have to wait in line even though there are more than two cafeteria stations to sell food

Marilyn Bojanowski
Community Member
7 months ago

Yeah. Where else would you eat?

Hobbes Maxwell
Community Member
7 months ago

it also comes from the concept of providing lunches for the students, since the school lunch is kind of a social program that made sure kids were fed. one of the few decent things America does. so having a designated lunchroom made sense, since it's next to the kitchen. When i was in grade school we had a breakfast program as well that kids could go to instead of playing in the yard before the school day start, so homes that had financial trouble could get that extra assistance.

Emily Smith
Community Member
7 months ago

Of course we do! It's a big room with tables and chairs where students can buy lunch or just eat one brought from home.

Amber odom
Community Member
7 months ago

yes mostly by laws. It believe it is to help underprivileged students get a meal. Some schools give breakfast and lunch as well. Sadly they are programs that are underfunded or getting canceled.

Todd Cooper
Community Member
7 months ago

I've been teaching in Korea for years - Korean students eat their lunches in their classrooms with their teachers.

Petey the Foo
Community Member
7 months ago

If you don't eat in a cafeterias in Europe, where do you eat while at school?

aj B
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, because everyone knows exposure to the outside causes children's brains to melt, and eating in the classroom will cause them to ignore the teacher of that room for the rest of the year.

NWB
Community Member
7 months ago

Ozzie schools just eat outside, no hot lunches and trays etc!

Seth Linn
Community Member
7 months ago

Sure do, the food sucks, the lines are as bad as Disney land, and they will sue your parents for a dollar.

Lsai Aeon
Community Member
7 months ago

The Cafeteria in US schools isn't just a room to eat in. They furnish a breakfast before school and a lunch for everyone. Students whose parents can afford it pay full price (like $3) Those that are less able to afford a full lunch are charged $0.40 and some get free lunch. It's all the same food and now with the computerized system no one knows who pays what for lunch. I don't know the breakfast prices

Benjamin Lensgraf
Community Member
7 months ago

wait, do Americans eat food!?

Cal Capone
Community Member
7 months ago

Only if your school had enough money for one. A couple of my schools didn't

Eric Lafleur
Community Member
7 months ago

My god! Just where do you live?

Horror Hero13
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes? We have Cafeterias, don't you??

Jyri Hakola
Community Member
7 months ago

Here in Finland basically every school have a proper canteen

Kayci Landeen
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes. My high school even made us stay there until the bell rang. We couldn't even go get our books for our next class.

StrawBerry Turtle
Community Member
7 months ago

yup

Cee Mor
Community Member
7 months ago

Where do you eat lunch at school? I've seen cafeterias in English movies

elia 84631
Community Member
7 months ago

We have cantines

InfectedVoice
Community Member
7 months ago

We had a canteen, it was also the assembly hall, they would just lay out tables and chairs at lunch-time.

Lili
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

All schools I've been to (Asia) have cafeterias, but small and mostly selling snacks bc we come home for lunch. Unless if a school is placed pretty far from the center and children have to stay for lunch, then there's a fully functioned cafeteria.

Ana Filipa Lino
Community Member
7 months ago

Portugal schools has cafeterias and universities has small coffees inside them.

Whawhawhatsis
Community Member
7 months ago

Actually, some small schools don't have a cafeteria. The high school I went to was very small and if kids wanted to eat at a school cafeteria they had to go to the elementary school and eat with the little kids. My friends and I would walk the block or two to the small downtown, where there were several small shops that would sell yummy sandwiches and soup and whatnot for the same price as lousy cafeteria food. I still miss the fabulous salami in one of those shops, and it's been out of business for many years!

Diane Patrick
Community Member
7 months ago

We have cateterias in NZ.

Kim
Community Member
7 months ago

I thought this was a thing in most schools, not just the states. All schools I’ve gone to in Sweden have a cafeteria as well, from first grade up to university.

Pfia
Community Member
7 months ago

We don't have cafetaria, we have canteen.

sylvantic
Community Member
7 months ago

we have a tiny one... we usually eat outside or in classrooms, there isn't room in the cafeteria. this sucks cause where i live it gets to be over 100 degrees and there's no indoor seating.

The Pansexual MELONLORD
Community Member
7 months ago

In my elementary school, there was a 'cafeteria' except we had to bring our own food and snacks. The 'cafeteria' had a fridge, sinks, a microwave, and silverware just in case. My current school has a real cafeteria. But their food isn't murky gloop like in Hollywood, it's actual edible very delicious food.

Livvyol
Community Member
7 months ago

In my school in Ireland, you brought your own lunch and usually sat in the assembly hall or lurked about in corridors/outside. Later on, they started to sell (crappy) sandwiches for kids who forgot to bring lunch.

me
Community Member
7 months ago

My school (in America) doesn't. There is a small room to buy your lunch, and you just eat outside (there are tables and benches around school) or some teachers let you eat in their classrooms.

Demetri
Community Member
7 months ago

Now, THIS (to Americans) is a STRANGE question. A meal-break is required here from Kindergarten onward. No one has time to run home for a meal or have adults come deliver it. So, YES, there is a structured meal-plan and a cafeteria to eat at.

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
7 months ago

But why can’t you just bring lunch from home? We have meal breaks too in Australia but most people either bring their own lunch or have some money to buy something from the canteen. We then find somewhere to sit scattered around the school to eat.

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Roadkill The Brave
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes but in highschool you don't have to sit in them anymore. I was a free-range highschooler and ate anywhere but the cafeteria.

Queen fhk
Community Member
7 months ago

Not all schools

YosemiteCat
Community Member
7 months ago

Mine doesn’t but we are a small school

LJ Robinson
Community Member
7 months ago (edited)

LJ Robinson We had cafeterias. We would line up, they would put our food on a tray that we picked up at the end of the steam tables the lunch ladies worked over. No choices, just what they gave us. Then we sat down at long tables with benches attached and ate and chatted or did homework or read until the lunch period was over, then went to your next class.

Potatogamers2
Community Member
7 months ago

In Netherlands, between ages 4 and 12 they eat at home at noon (everyone lives close by anyway) and in schools for ages 12 and up theres cafeteria as well. But no free food or anything.

Addie
Community Member
7 months ago

Where else would you eat your lunch?

Foxxy (The Original)
Community Member
7 months ago

Wherever you can find a seat in the yard like benches on the grass on the oval etc.

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Soph the Loaf
Community Member
7 months ago

A lot of kids go home to eat during lunch break. Not in the US but internationally.

Michaele
Community Member
7 months ago

In Canada students eat lunch in the classroom before going outside.

Ian Bartels
Community Member
7 months ago

Our cafeteria was too small to fit the large amount of students. We usually had lunch outside by the band room.

Imtiredandiwannagotobed
Community Member
7 months ago

Yeah... don’t you guys?

Dave P
Community Member
7 months ago

Well students need to eat somewhere and eat a table in a civilized manner

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#11

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

bettesbich Report

Brett
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes sadly

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#12

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

argentdols Report

Aunt Messy
Community Member
7 months ago

Canadian here. They don't close schools in Canada unless it's been colder than -40C for three days in a row.

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#13

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

wintersfalcvn Report

Imtiredandiwannagotobed
Community Member
7 months ago

Because we put all our budget into our announcements and lockers

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#14

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

insatiate0 Report

GlassHalfWay
Community Member
7 months ago

Because a gallon would be too heavy on the lunch tray.

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#15

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

lisaislovesick Report

Jamziee
Community Member
7 months ago

They aren't cool it sucks

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#16

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

http_taehyungs Report

Brett
Community Member
7 months ago

I wish I had school lunch that good

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#17

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

balletquartet Report

SimplySarcastic40
Community Member
7 months ago

Yep. ours was awesome!

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#18

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

CryinInATaxi Report

Eva Bryson
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes, teachers want you in class to learn, not loitering in the bathroom.

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#19

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

alienrat Report

SimplySarcastic40
Community Member
7 months ago

yep...at least in the suburbs because most of us start driving at 16

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#20

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

_smell_ya_later Report

Jamziee
Community Member
7 months ago

one word to answer this- ICE

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#21

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

sapphicnile Report

The Zooble
Community Member
7 months ago

To be very honest, I'm English and I usually do page count rather than word count

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#22

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

LazarusRags Report

konnarw1
Community Member
7 months ago

yeah i wondered this and are the woman stale or something lol

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#23

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

ERODAVOL6 Report

angie but who cares
Community Member
7 months ago

my elementry did

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#24

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

livculture Report

Jamziee
Community Member
7 months ago

No they force students to do it

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#25

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

bollobas Report

Caitlin Davenport
Community Member
7 months ago

So we aren't "distracted". Even rooms with windows usually had the blinds closed.

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#26

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

unsaidalex Report

Caitlin Davenport
Community Member
7 months ago

Not really. We have nearby schools we compete against in sports, but any rivalry is very light-hearted.

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#27

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

prostrider Report

SimplySarcastic40
Community Member
7 months ago

we had an apple machine...for $0.20 you got an apple.

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#28

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

hemsbucky Report

Brett
Community Member
7 months ago

The high school I’m going to does

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#29

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

aidansarson7 Report

Caitlin Davenport
Community Member
7 months ago

We don't, dances are usually 4 times a year.

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#30

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UnamusedSnorlax Report

Caitlin Davenport
Community Member
7 months ago

Yes

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#31

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

00lisa0 Report

konnarw1
Community Member
7 months ago

yeah sorry but you should move to america.(JK)

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#32

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

ThaumPenguin Report

Caitlin Davenport
Community Member
7 months ago

Candy was usually a very tiny part, if it was there at all. But it was the most exciting part!

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