Guest blogger: Ernst, 10 years old. When I first arrived in Switzerland, I thought: Hey, this isn’t so bad. Except, on the first day of school I was totally petrified. But enough about me, what I’m actually here to tell you about is what things in school are different. Take gym, for example. The first time I had gym I just showed up to school wearing gym clothes (shorts, t–shirt). Turns out, you have to pack a special bag with a towel, indoor shoes and gym clothes (don’t wear them to school!). And also, the gym is two blocks away…? Then, we have a co-ed changing room!!!!!!!!!! After gym, we have to take showers! I’m only in fourth grade! Besides gym, school is also pretty weird. We wear slippers in the building, and my teacher teaches gym, music, math, French, religion, history, German, arts and crafts and more! Isn’t that a lot? That’s at least 8 subjects! Other different things: 1. We take a public bus to swimming. 2. We go home for lunch and have half days on Wednesdays. 3. After school, me, and some of my friends go swim in the river. 4. We walk to and from school twice a day (because we go home for lunch). 5. Our school has 4 floors, plus the attic, so it’s tall, but not very wide. 6. The Swiss call 6th grade 8h, 5th grade 7h, 4th grade 6h, and so on. There’s also one class per grade. 7. At recess, all the grades come out at the same time, so it’s pretty chaotic. The games that we play are: soccer, basketball, tag, cops and robbers, and so on. 8. At the start of the year, I could barely speak a lick of French. It was pretty lonely, not being able to talk to other kids. But I got better, and now I’m almost fluent. That makes me happy.
Ernst Hatch, signing off