The polish school system is different from what I have come to know in Iceland. I will try to explain it and share my personal experience to you in this article.  

In Poland you start school at age 6 as many other, you have 7 years in primary school and then go to junior high school for 3 years, following 3 years in high school. I was 17 when I came here, so I went to second class of high school. There are both private schools and public you can choose from. When choosing school it’s not like in Iceland, there you just go to the school that’s closest to your home. Instead you try to find a school that fits your level of education, so from young age there is really different levels of schools. It takes me 35 minutes to go to school here in Warsaw (that’s quite short compared to many of my friends).  

The normal school day starts at 8 and finishes around 15. There are 10 minutes brakes between classes and usually have one or two longer brakes around lunch time. But when they go home the school follows… Almost every day kids have over 2 hours of homework that they have to do before tomorrow. It’s usually just something to read about and take test out of it the following day. It is necessary for the teachers to but so much work on the students because of the pressure put on by the Matura test.  

Matura test is a test that you take in the end of third grade, you take the test in all subjects, Polish, English, math and etcetera, it is from everything you learned in high school, 1-3 grade. The test in beginning of May, students in younger classes don’t go to school so they can’t disturb. After you finish your test’s you are free and don’t have to finish the school year, younger students have school until middle of June. The marks out of the test decide on what university you can go to. This is wildly different from the system in Iceland where we have test in end of every semester.  

What shocked me a bit the lack of social life with school. Where at home most social life I take apart in is organized by the school, here you have it more personal. Many people take a part in some sports or scouts or some similar groups, often organized by the church. When you meet your friends after school its more likely outside in a park, a mall or some coffee shop, not so much at home.  

The school was so much more different then I thought, I had a problem adjusting at first. I went to a school where the class was not very open and they had to learn a lot, it was one the better school in Warsaw. I didn’t really make any friends, so I asked to change and got a new school. My new school is great, kids are very open and not so busy. While I do prefer my school in Iceland (number 1 thing I miss) I think when you get used to this system it’s nice. When on exchange you spend a lot of time in school so it’s really important to feel well. 

Júlíus Waage  z Islandii (program roczny na Polsce 2017/18)