American vs Australian School

By Jessica Bruening

This past summer, three other sophomores and I participated in the Australian exchange. While we were there we met so many amazing people and got a feel for what life is like for a girl our age in Australia. It was an incredible experience that we all really miss, and we hope to have the chance to go back and visit someday. The school our exchanges attend, Ravenswood, is similar to HB in many ways, but it’s different in many ways as well. I personally loved being a high schooler in Australia for a few weeks. I wanted to see what my exchange student, Aerin’s, experience of American school has been so far, and how it compares to my experience at her school.

  1.     Before arriving, what did you imagine American/Australian school to be like?

Aerin: I thought it would be noisier with more people and have smaller grounds and less class rooms.

Jessica: I hadn’t really heard much about Australian school, but I thought the teachers would be a lot stricter and that the school in general would be more formal than American school.

  1.     What was your first impression of HB/Ravo and the students?

Aerin: My first impression of HB was that it’s not as busy as Ravo and you don’t go outside to eat lunch.

Jessica: The girls at Ravo were all super nice and welcoming to all of the exchanges.

  1.     Who/what is your favorite HB/Ravo teacher/class?

Aerin: My favourite teacher is Jamo the photography teacher as he gets everyone involved. However, my favourite class is Chemistry as they do more experiments and I can take part.

Jessica: I really liked Food Tech because it’s not a class we have at HB and we got to make food and then eat it.

  1.     Do you think HB/Ravo’s workload is more difficult than your school’s?

Aerin: HB is more difficult in the sense that I don’t know how the school is run and where everything is, compared to Ravo where I know the flow and what teachers expect of you.

Jessica: It’s hard to tell since I didn’t have to do any of the homework when I was at Ravo, but I think school is very stressful anywhere you are.

  1.     Do you prefer wearing uniforms or just having a dress code?

Aerin: I personally prefer having a school uniform as you do not have to worry about what others are wearing and if you’re going to be more dressed up than your peers. The school uniforms make everyone equal and it is a lot easier to get ready in the morning.

Jessica: I loved getting to wear the Ravo uniform while I was there but I definitely prefer not having to wear one at HB.

  1.     What will you miss the most about HB/Ravo?

Aerin: I will miss the girls the most as they are so friendly and helpful. They are very inclusive and want to know a lot about Australia which helps us get to know each other.

Jessica: I miss all of the people I got to meet. All of the Ravo girls and the exchanges from other countries were such great people and I hope I get to see them again sometime.

I think I speak for both of us when I say that attending school on the other side of the world was an amazing opportunity, and we both learned so much. Sydney may be far away, but when it comes down to it, Australian and American high school students aren’t that different.  I would love to return to Ravenswood sometime in the future and see all of the wonderful friends I made while I was there, and I hope Aerin comes back to visit in a couple years as well. This is definitely an experience I will remember for the rest of my life.