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
10 months ago

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

Dilly Millandry
Community Member
10 months ago

A level stands for Advanced level. Normally pick two or three subjects to study more intensely than you would many more subjects at GCE (General Certificate of Eductation) Ordinary Level. Hope that helped!

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Joanne Haywood
Community Member
10 months ago

What confuses an oldie like me are the UK school “years”. Once upon a time it was simple. You started in the Infants, moved to the Juniors then onto High School when you were 11. Then it was 1st year to 5th Form, or 6th Form if you were clever enough to do A Levels. Now if someone says their kid is in year whatever, I have no idea how old they are.

nettie netwitch
Community Member
10 months ago

I only know because of Harry Potter.

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Juniper
Community Member
10 months ago

I was on 8 year gymnasium, each year was called different and you called the students accordingly - Prima, Secunda, Tertia, Quarta, Quinta, Sexta, Septima and Octavia.

Joanne Haywood
Community Member
10 months ago

Sounds like a very posh school.

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Dave P
Community Member
10 months ago

Um we have both. We have 9th grade, 10th grade, 11th grade, and 12th grade. But each grade also has a name. We use both.

Avery S Alberico
Community Member
10 months ago

Highschool levels: Freshman (9th), Sophmore (10th), Junior (11th), Senior (12th)

Nikki Sevven
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

The term "freshman" dates to the 16th century and means "novice." Freshmen are usually 14/15 years old. "Sophomore" derives from the Greek "sophos" (wise) and "moros" (foolish). Sophomores are usually 15/16 years old. Junior and Senior should be fairly obvious.

Tabitha L
Community Member
10 months ago

The ages are not so cut and dried. I was 13/14 as a freshman....16/17 as a senior. But now, plenty of people are 19 when they graduate high school.

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Emily Smith
Community Member
10 months ago

Ironically the words are Latin and have been in use since the 16th century to describe scholars in their years of study. The words are used to describe the maturity level of the students they apply to.

Benjamin Lensgraf
Community Member
10 months ago

Wow, different countries use different words for things...wait till this guy finds out there are completely different languages and alphabets!

Hera20
Community Member
10 months ago

Also in private schools in the Uk we use first year (age 13)lower fifth (age 14) upper fifth (age 15)Lower sixth (age 16)and upper sixth (age 17) just to be quirky and different

RaroaRaroa
Community Member
10 months ago

That's pretty confusing. In NZ we used to have Primer 1 to Primer 2 (ages 5 to 6), then Standard 1 to 4 (Primary School ages 7 to 10 approx), then Form 1, Form 2 (Intermediate School), 3rd Form etc through to 7th Form (college). We still have Primary, Intermediate and College, but they changed the year names to be Years 1 to 13 (ages 5 to 17 approx). So, so much simpler.

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Benjamin Lensgraf
Community Member
10 months ago

wHy dO dIFferENt CouNTries UsE DifFerRent wORds fOr ThINgs

GC
Community Member
10 months ago

Your answer is in your question.

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Horror Hero13
Community Member
10 months ago

I'm American and I don't even know.

JessG
Community Member
10 months ago

It’s just a different way of saying “first, second, next-to-last, and final

Nia Loves Art
Community Member
10 months ago

Freshman is the first year, then sophomore, then junior, then senior.

Celtic Pirate Queen
Community Member
10 months ago

Freshman: a first-year student at a university, college, or high school. Sophomore: a second-year college or high school student. Junior, senior - you get the drift. I don't know why either, but they don't let me make the rules anymore.

Susan Mercurio
Community Member
10 months ago

Those terms came from England with us.

Kimberly Reetz
Community Member
10 months ago

Ask England

backatya
Community Member
10 months ago

Why not?

Sara Mccracken
Community Member
10 months ago

When I arrived in the USA I would ask how old someones children were. They would say for example 6th grade and freshman... they might as we'll have said orange and sausage.

elfin
Community Member
10 months ago

Why not. It works. American students know what it means.

kathoco
Community Member
10 months ago

In France when they hit junior high, they count backwards starting at 6 and going to 0, which is called terminale.

GC
Community Member
10 months ago

That sounds like death. Yikes.

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Scratch
Community Member
10 months ago

You can't piece together what year freshman is?

Mimi777
Community Member
10 months ago

Getting up for school that early all of my life is the exact reason I will never be a morning person. 10 years later and I still hate getting up early. No matter how early I go to bed it’s like it’s not normal for my body.

KMill
Community Member
10 months ago

That’s okay - we don’t understand UK’s grade levels either.

sylvantic
Community Member
10 months ago

my school's a 6-12 so we don't use this.

Rae the lemon
Community Member
10 months ago

I say 1st year sometimes (even tho I’m in America) or 2nd year and stuff, and my friends judge me. ITS JUST EASIER! You know what I mean? (Plz don’t downvote)

The Pansexual MELONLORD
Community Member
10 months ago

I don't even know what those are and I'm probably one of them

Gwenda Christenson
Community Member
10 months ago (edited)

we do have numbers for them. -- long explanation - but a very good one that i foundThe following terms are used to describe students in grades 9-12; confusingly, they are also used for college undergraduates. Freshman: Grade 9, or first year of college (American usage of the word "college") Sophomore: Grade 10, second year of college Junior: Grade 11, third year of college Senior: Grade 12, fourth year of college.

Tabitha L
Community Member
10 months ago

Your wording is a bit confusing. Freshman is a term used both for 9th grade and 1st year of college/university. The way you write your sentence, you seem to imply that 9th grade is also referred to as first year of college.

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Demetri
Community Member
10 months ago

A "freshman" is FRESH MEAT at the high school level, so is prime fodder for harassment. A "sophomore" is viewed as a WISE FOOL compared to the FRESH MEAT "freshman". You've had that first year to become accustomed to high school but you still don't know anything.

Troux
Community Member
10 months ago

What's worse is that some areas are different. You could have elementary go K-5, Middle 6-8, High 9-12, or have Elem K-6, Junior High 7-8 or 7-9, High 9 or 10-12. Bizarre, and I never understood the need to "name" each class, either.

Ana Vaquer Perez
Community Member
10 months ago

We also have numbers

ズムᄃノ
Community Member
10 months ago

Because they are above us people with number grades.

Christian Bradshaw
Community Member
10 months ago

I mean, I'm american, and I find it weird. I mainly use the numbers

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Seth Linn
Community Member
10 months ago

We have both. Schools here are just low paid daycares though.

David Dwyer
Community Member
10 months ago

Even as a 12 yr old kid, I don't really understand that system even though I'm about to go into High School.

Slippy The Banana
Community Member
10 months ago

I’m American and I have no idea either ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

John Merline
Community Member
10 months ago

You'll be perfectly understood if you say, for example, 11th grade, but these are just old traditional terms borrowed from university (where they're also still used), I assume originally from England. Some of these terms date back to the 17th century or earlier. One of the few examples of any kind of culture we have in the US -- probably why we cling to it. ;-) Freshman (meaning 'novice')=9th year; sophomore (meaning 'wise fool')=10th year; junior = 11th year; senior = 12th year.

Santa Claus
Community Member
10 months ago

Ikr just use numbers

Elizabeth Molloy
Community Member
10 months ago

Also, in America they don't start school until they're seven. Seven!

Tinykame
Community Member
10 months ago

I'm in America and I started at 4. But now days it's normal for most to start at 5. I have no idea where in America they start at 7. Never heard of that before.

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Eva Bryson
Community Member
10 months ago

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Because it's the way Americans identify school years. Why don't you?

Aunt Messy
Community Member
10 months ago

That would be because it's a stupid system.

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#2

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

morosexuaI Report

konnarw1
Community Member
10 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
10 months ago

1. Usually 2. Usually

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#4

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

chromaticaution Report

Jamziee
Community Member
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 months ago

Yes, don't you?

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#8

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

Nonisbitch Report

Ms.M.
Community Member
10 months ago

That's always bugged me too.

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#9

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

kirstyclyne Report

GlassHalfWay
Community Member
10 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
10 months ago

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

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#11

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

bettesbich Report

Brett
Community Member
10 months ago

Yes sadly

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#12

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

argentdols Report

Aunt Messy
Community Member
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 months ago

Yep. ours was awesome!

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#18

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

CryinInATaxi Report

Eva Bryson
Community Member
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 months ago

my elementry did

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#24

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

livculture Report

Jamziee
Community Member
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 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
10 months ago

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

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#30

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

UnamusedSnorlax Report

Caitlin Davenport
Community Member
10 months ago

Yes

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#31

American-Schools-Weird-Things-Non-Americans

00lisa0 Report

konnarw1
Community Member
10 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
10 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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