My perception of school has changed a lot since I started my exchange because of so many differences dividing Polish and Icelandic schools. Going to school in Iceland is not a “day job” like in Poland. Here studying and school work is much more relaxed compared to polish situation.  Students tend to have around 25 hours of lessons in high school per week, meanwhile in Poland it is around 40 per week. This allows teens to work and develop their interests in free time.

What is more students in some Icelandic schools choose their own subjects – this way they’re studying what they want to really learn. The curriculum is very different among different subjects and usually chosen by the leading teacher. Some of my subjects, like geology are taught in classic way – going through theory, then exercises and tests summing up parts of our studies. Other like photography and English are based on projects which we have to finish before given deadline (usually around month). This results in students being able to adapt but also organize their time and work dedication.

From a technical point of view, Icelandic grading is based on scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the best and 4.5 passing grade. This way teachers don’t have to create grade boundaries based on percents, as it is in Poland. Also a lot of studying is based on e-learning platforms and work with computers. Not many schools adapt unified internet system of working and communicating with students in Poland. Meanwhile here nearly every school is using “INNA” – a website which is a grading register, messaging center and file exchange place for students and teachers.

These are the most visible differences between Polish and Icelandic schools. Except for one that is pretty obvious: in Iceland students use Icelandic as their studying language.

Mikołaj Końko (program roczny na Islandii 2017/18)