How do you celebrate the first day of school? Our EAL students share how the first day of school is celebrated in their own countries.
Join the discussion – tell us how the first day of school is celebrated in your country in the comments section!
Ziyi, 12th Grade:
The school year in ChangSha always starts at September 1st and ends in the start of July. Unlike schools in Turkey and Bulgaria that students bring teachers flowers or the assembly of a football team in the U.S., my school usually holds a ceremony at the first day of school. The principal would make a speech to welcome new students and encourage students to work hard. Except the the ceremony, we also get new textbooks from teachers. Then we have normal classes, although we actually just chat with our classmates and talk about our summer. Nothing is special…
Yunfei, 11th Grade:
In Shanghai, we have two types of local schools: one is called “Experimental School”, in which you will have 5 years for elementary school, 4 years of middle school; the other one is just normal schools, in which you will have 6 years for elementary school and 3 years of middle school. For high school you normally need to have a city-wide high school entrance exam and it is always 3 years. The school year starts in mid-September, and ends around the end of June. For my school, student go to the school on a Sunday afternoon around 2pm. For the afternoon, we don’t learn anything. We meet our classmates (usually don’t change) and help the teacher hang out textbooks (usually many). The teacher will talk about things we need to pay attention and need to do in the next year. The Monday morning, we will have a ceremony on the playground and we listen to the principal’s speech. Then the school year formally starts.
Nina, 10th Grade:
In China, school year starts 1st September and ends end-June. Most schools in China are public school, and we just need to pay for our books and uniforms. My elementary school is a public school, too. China has a large population so we have 45-50 students in a class. In my elementary school, students don’t need to wear uniforms everyday except Monday, because we have flag-raising ceremony every Monday. I felt very excited at my first day of school because I met many new friends in my class, however, our head teacher spent almost 3 hours to give a long boring speech to us. And this also happened at the first day of my middle school. I think it’s becoming a tradition of Chinese schools.
Kevin, 8th Grade:
– I went to a private school before going to the Dwight.
– There are no book we need to buy because It were all photo copy.
– School provide the uniform for the first one but later we need to get by our self
– In the first day of school we have a ceremony, principle will have a speech. after that we will have fun on the field and doing game in the class room
Christy, 9th Grade:
We have lunch in the cafeteria, and school will provide the food for us. We have to wear uniform, and there are people to check it when you come into the school gate. If your uniform is not appropriate then you will have a dentation. We don’t play games during the lesson but we have break during every classes, and you can play games with your friends at the time. School will provide the books for us. We start school on September 1st, and we have different schedule everyday.
Kentaro, 11th Grade:
In my previous school in Japan, the first thing we do on the first day is to check the list of our home room classes. The HR classes are changed every year, so we know new classmates then. The next thing is the opening ceremony. We just listen to our school principal’s speech. Finally, we introduce ourselves in the HR class, then we can go home. The classes start from the next day, so we also have to prepare for them on the first day.
Maya, 3rd Grade:
1) Meet the teacher
2) We see all our friends
3) Talk about school
Aru, 11th Grade:
In Japan, the school starts the beginning of April and we have 2 months of vacation in summer and 3 weeks in winter and 3 weeks in spring. If they are a new students, they have an entrance orientation and listen a head’s speech, usually long and boring. After that teachers inform them which classrooms to study for a year. In Japan, we usually stay one classroom and wait teachers. Then they introduce themselves and dismiss before the lunch. Some of students will hung out and play, other will return home.
Maya, 9th Grade:
The first day of school in New York and Tokyo are very different. For the first year of Dwight, I was surprised that there was an orientation day before the school actually starts. Because there no such thing called orientation in Japan. And second thing which I felt different from Tokyo was the first day of school. In Tokyo, students have to weaar the formal unifor for the opening ceremony, and we don’t have any class on the first day. However in New York, the class storts normally as if there was no vacation. Therefore, it is little hard to adjust myself changing the style from vacation mode to school mode. When I compare two schools in different country, I realize couple of interesting things. Firstly, my school in Tokyo didn’t have any new students for 9th grade. Comparing to that, in Dwight, this year, more than half students in 9th grade are new students. Other example is, most high schools in Tokyo are very strict about their uniform and students have to wear particularl clothes which the school has selected. However in New York, I see many students wearing plane clothes under the “dress-codes.”
Lisa, 1st Grade:
In Japan the school year start in April. There is a welcome ceremony on the first day. A school day is from 8 o’clock to 3 o’clock. In japan there is no morning snack time.
Y-Lan, 6th Grade:
The school year in Paris starts September 3. On the first day of school all the student looked at their paper that their teacher gave them the year before, on it it says :the class number, the teacher and the class materials you have to bring. When everyone is in their classroom we all say our names, age and something about yourself. Then the teachers tell us about our subjects, books, homework everything that we need to know about.
During a school day we have 3 recesses : the first one is 15 mins, the second one was 2 h( including lunch), the third one was 15 mins.
A school day started at 8:00 am and ended at 4:50pm.
During the entire year there are 5 vacations including summer vacation.
Anouk, 3rd Grade:
In France, school starts on 3rd of September until 30 of June. School starts at 8:30 on the morning and ends at 4:30. The first day of school teacher talk about the rules. The last day of school we play games in the classroom.
Thelma, 8th Grade:
When I came in the class the teacher showed me two girls and told me that the seat behind them will be my seat for the rest of the week. At lunch I went with them and they showed me five other girls who where their friends, they were all nice. We laugh for an hour and we came back to our classes. Classes start on the first of school. Some teachers are already starting classes and others are explaining to us how school is there and where is the locker room, what we are going to do this year, etc. School starts at 8am and ends at 1:30pm. The school in the year starts at the beginning of September and ended in the middle of June. There were twenty-five students in each class,but each grade had six sections. Latin was an option for the 7th to 12th grade. Every grade had a field trip for one week each year. The last day of school of the year we could play games,bring food and candies in class.
Sabrina, 3rd Grade:
1) Meet the teachers
2) Explain the rules
3) Talk about our summer vacation
Monica, 3rd Grade:
The first day of school we will meet the teacher and talk about what we will do. Then we will meet with the class.
Scott, 10th Grade:
In South Korea, the new school year starts in the early March and ends in the late Feb. Our school had the broadcasting stations and each class had a 60 inches big Samsung LCD TV. I was camera man of the broadcasting crew. The principal of the school will start the speech and it goes live on the TVs. In addition, we introduce ourselves to our classmates. We don’t really have a class on the first day but we go over about what we will be learning for the year.
So-Eun, 9th Grade:
When I think of the first day of school in Korea, it excites nostalgia, reminding me of all good experiences at school. In the morning, it was really hard to get up because I was habituated to wake up late. However, this mixture of feelings, annoyance, nervousness, excitement, and happiness, made my heart flutter and made me to jump out of bed. I packed my bag, checking things again and again to make sure that I don’t miss something, or I might give my teacher a bad impression on the first day of the school. It took more than an hour to get ready to school because I wanted to be perfect. I looked at the mirror over and over and fixed my bangs.
I went to school with everything in fresh, from my new Nike shoes to my mind. I walked to school with light steps. Everything felt different even though I have been taking the same route to school for several years. I was thrilled to enter the school, meeting new friends and teacher. The opening ceremony started and the principal gave a long and diffuse speech. No one was interested on the speech nor listening to him, instead people were staring at others, observing changes that were made through the vacation. Many boys got much taller, and some of them started to have light mustache. Some girls’ changed into different hairstyles. Many of my friends were similar to before, but some had drastic changes. Although it was a typical opening ceremony with boring speeches and sing the school song, the time passed quickly as it was fun to watch people.
Michelle, 8th Grade:
The most distinctive characteristic of schools in South Korea must be the homerooms.
Every student is assigned to one homeroom and homeroom teacher for the rest of the year. There are usually around 30 classmates in one homeroom and you are going to study and play sports with them for a year.
In addition, only the faculties in my country move from class to class unlike the U.S where students have to move to each class every time.
However, everything else other than these two distinction is same as the U.S.
Especially, they are always fun and exciting places!
MK, 6th Grade:
I went private school in South Korea. My old school have winter vacation and summer vacation. Winter vacation 1 month and 15 day and summer vacation is 1 month. School start 9am and is over at 3:40pm. My old school have school uniforms too. In Korea school elementary school is first to six grade. Same with Dwight School. If we have recommendation, it easy to get in school. Some time my old school do lottery. My old school awesome.
Lam-Ha, 10th Grade:
In Vietnam, every years when the back to school days come, the streets are very crowded . In New York, where I am studying, people go to work or to school by trains, buses or walk; but in Vietnam, most of them go by motorbike or bicycles so the streets are especially overcrowded these days. In Vietnam, they rarely have schools from kindergarten to twelve grade, however the number of students is always high. A normal average student that a school in Vietnam has is about 2500-3000 students.
Olga, 9th Grade:
In Russia, school starts on 1st of September. It’s a very big event and the whole country celebrates it. Students come to school with their families, everybody is dressed up. Boys are wearing suits and ties and girls are wearing black or navy skirts or dresses and white blouses. Pupils always bring flowers to their teachers on the 1st of September. There are no lessons on this day; usually children receive their schedule and textbooks. After they do some formal things like meeting new students, or meeting teachers everyone goes for the school meeting. In the school meeting students read poetry in front of everybody, sing, or dance. Afterwards, there comes principal’s speech.
Maxim, 8th Grade:
You come to school and find our class dean. He or she brings all our class to the classroom and gives us our schedule. After that we usually have a Russian class and than a Math class. But we don’t really do anything on those classes. We just talk about our summer and new students tell everybody their names an some information about themselves. On the first day you can’t wear jeans to be well dressed for the first day.
Christian, 10th Grade:
In Brazil, we have many different types of schools, we have the public schools, that only the people whom can’t pay for private schools go, they usually have a really bad quality.
And there are the private schools, one more expensive than the other but they all teach the same thing.
In Brazil since we have opposite seasons from US, our school start on end of January, and end in December, we also have a 2 months vacation in the middle of the year when is hot, June and July.
Since Brazil is a big country, we have big schools, and for consequence, many students, for that reason i used to have 30 to 40 people with me in the class. But different from the US we stayed in the same classroom the hole day. The teachers that switched classes not we.
Its hard to stand 40 people in the same classroom in a hot day, so we have a different dress code, my dress code was a school t-shirt with any kind of pants or shorts.
That is how I remember my school from Brazil.
Maria, 8th Grade:
My first day of school in Brazil
My first day of school in a private one, was not so exciting, because my friends already started, so I just went in the middle.
I needed to use dress code, that was not so pretty, white and blue. In Lourenco Castanho we needed to order our own books.
One thing very cool from the schools in Brazil was that the school is just until one p.m.
Enzo, 5th Grade:
In Brasil we start school in February and end in the middle of December. I was in a different school then others so school started at 6:45am to 2:30 or 3:30. In Brasil we want to start school as quickly as possible so we start when you are 3 years old. We have many more stages and grades then other schools around the world. We have: EC, KG1, KG2, G1. They stay in one fifth of the entire school; other grades from G2 to G12 stay on the other side. When G12 finishes school to go to University they do a big water party in the whole school. They get BIG water guns and BIG water balloons and splash water in everyone in the school even teachers. We go to school clean and come out dripping water and soaked. If you are in primary school you would have lunch on Fridays and Thursdays. If you are in secondary you have lunch every day and you could have the opportunity to learn English. P.S. bring a change of clothes when G12 has a water party!
Arthur, 8th Grade:
The schools in Brazil are very different from the schools in the us for example in Brazil school starts in the beginning of January and ends on the beginning of November. The first day of school in Brazil is no big deal. School starts and we have no big party, but on the last day what we do is we take our uniform and we write notes on the shirts for the people that are leaving which is real fun. I was at a Swiss school so on the last week at lunch time each grade in different days of the last week went to eat German sausages. The school made a huge BBQ on which the student was given a stick with sausage and bread and the student was the one to roast he sausage. Another entreating fact about my school in Brazil was that the twelfth graders on the last day painted they’re hand and place it on a big inside school wall with their class year and their names. School in Brazil is really fun.
Gabi, 7th Grade:
In Brazil you must start school when you’re 6, even though almost every child do pre-school. You don’t have 1st grade, they call it a different name, but is the same thing. You have “Ensino Fundamental” which is Elementary School, “Ensino Fundamental 2” which is Middle School and then you have “Ensino Médio” which is High School, Elementary School starts when you’re six and it ends when you’re 9, Middle school starts when you’re 10 and it ends when you’re 14 or 15 in ninth grade. High School only has 3 years and it’s when you have the freedom to don’t wear uniform. During other years, in some schools you need to wear only the uniform shirt with whatever pants/shorts/skirts you want and in others you need to wear the whole uniform, which basically consists of either leggings, leggings shorts or sweatpants and the school shirt, which is a normal t-shirt with the school logo on it.
On the first day of school you don’t have anything that is really important, it’s basically for you to meet the teachers and they tell you what are you going to learn that year. In Brazil they have the a lot of classes with 40 people on them. They divide it into 2 periods, the morning period people -class starts at 7:30 am and it ends at 12:30 pm – and the afternoon people – class starts at 1 pm and it ends at 6 pm – for each period they have about 7 different classes, each one with 40 people on it. You have a break time of 20 minutes usually at 9 am for the morning period people and 3 pm for the afternoon people and you need to bring your own snack or buy on the school -it’s expensive- . People from morning period and afternoon period don’t have classes together. After school activities are after school so for some people in afternoon period you go home at 8 pm.
During the school year you have after school activities -you don’t need to do them if you don’t want to- and some activities that the school program to make everything more interesting.
Dawn, 10th Grade:
The school system in Europe is very different compared to the American system. In Holland you are in one school (Basisschool) from first grade till sixth grade. Then as soon as you’re done with sixth grade, you go to seventh grade which is the start of high school (Middelbare school). This high school is different compared to America because it starts 3 grades earlier but then the Dutch schools are separated in two parts. Sixth grade till ninth grade is the first part (onderbouw) and tenth till twelfth grade (bovenbouw) is where you choose all your subjects and you get prepared for Exams.
I lived fifteen minutes away from my school. I always rode my bike to school, in Holland it’s the most usual thing ever. The bikes are more dangerous than all the cars! My friends and I all lived in the same neighborhood, so at eight in the morning there were two guys waiting for me and then 2 minutes later there were 3 other girls that were also biking the same way and we always ended up with about six or seven people.
Back in 2011 I started seventh grade at my new school. It was very scary, I only knew one other girls because we went to the same school before high school. The first day everyone met each other we went to a big lake to do group activities. This was so much fun! I went from only knowing one person to knowing a bunch of cool kids. I already started bonding with some people, two boys and one girl. All three of them are still my best friends.
After the fun few introduction days, the real classes started. On my first school I had about half an hour of homework a day, that changed because now I had about two hours off homework a day. Also here in the USA we have about eight subject and in Holland we have about thirteen. The teachers on my school were very helpful and helped us through the first few weeks of school. Then they kind of let us go to follow our own structure and to find out what worked best for us. While I was in this school I thought it was really hard and that it wasn’t fun at all, however when I’m looking back right now at the two years I spend there they were the best moments I’ve had. I made awesome friends, I learned a lot and not only in school but also in making good choices and being responsible.
United Arab Emirates
Julien, 10th Grade:
My first day of class in Dubai
My first day of class in Dubai was very special, it was a new country where people speak English and Arabic. I still remember how I felt, it was my first private school, I had to change my school system (Swiss -> French) and the first time for me in a school where we had uniforms, it was really special. The location of the school also really marked me, it was located in the middle of the desert, my sister and I had to take the bus for one hour to reach school. The first year I didn’t like it at all, but now I love it and I miss it, not especially the school, but more the town, my friends and my lifestyle.
Laetitia, 9th Grade:
In Dubai, School started on a sunday and ended on thursday.
The food was horrible, no one wanted to eat in the cafeteria.
We had to wear a uniform, dark blue and white.
We didn’t play games in classes, only if it was new teachers and they wanted to get to know us otherwise we started the classes on the first day.
The school gave us the books and everything but we had to give them back at the end of the years. If we didn’t we had to pay for them.
Our schedule was really different then the one here. not everybody had the same, sometimes we had more time for lunch, or sometime we finished at 4:40 instead of 2:50. I was lucky because on Sundays and Wednesdays I was out of school at 1.
Junior, 8th Grade:
I went to a private school, the first day of school you get your book and note books, pencils and a lot of other supplies. before school started you buy your clothes and the morning when you go to school you make your lunch. after school you didn’t have home work only in the weekends you had home work. After school you go to a sport club, like i went to a field hockey club were I practice and play games, here is field hockey for girls but in the Netherlands everyone plays it.
Jenny, 10th Grade:
Here are some sentences about the first day of school in Norway.
The first days of school in Norway are very relaxed. I went to public school who take school serious but gives the students some time to settle in. The first week or so was used to get to know new students and teachers, settle in, get books for all your courses and so on. Public schools are free in Norway and you also get all books that are needed for free. Public schools are much stricter, they have uniforms and cost a lot of money. Public schools do not have uniforms, so we could wear any outfit we wanted to. School usually starts in the mid of August and end in mid-late June.
Emma, 5th Grade:
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
THE FIRST SCHOOL DAY IN NORWAY STARTS WITH ALL THE STUDENTS METING IN THE SCHOOL YARD. WE USUALLY DRESS UP A LITLE BIT THE FIRST SCHOOL DAY, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE STARTING IN 1ST GRADE. PRINCIPAL WELCOME EVERYONE AND GIVE A LITTLE SPEECH. AFTER THAT SHE CALLED OUT GRADE FOR GRADE THEN WE GO TO OUR CLASS ROOM WITH THE TEACHER. IN 1THGRADE THE KIDS SHAKE HANDS WITH THE TEACHER BUT IN 2-7TH GRADE THEY DON’T HAVE TO DO THAT.
ELEMENTRY SCHOOL IS FROM 1-7TH GRADE AND WE START THE YEAR WE TURN 6 YEARS. IN MY SCHOOL WE GO IN THE SAME CLASS FROM 1-7TH GRADE WITH THE SAME STUDENTS. IN MY SCHOOL WE HAVE THE SAME TEACHER FOR 3 YEARS AND THE OTHER GRADE HAVE THE SAME TEACHER FOR 4 YEARS. NOTHING SPECIAL HAPPENS THE FIRST DAY AT SCHOOL BUT WE HAVE A SLOW START, GET OUR SCHOOL BOOKS THAT WE HAVE TO PUT COVER ON AND THAT’S THE HOMEWORK THE FIRST DAY.
THE FIRST SCHOOL DAY IN NORWAY STARTS 17TH AUGUST AND ENDS 20TH JUNE. WE HAVE AUTUMN BREAK, CHRISTMAS BREAK, EASTER BREAK AND PLANNING SESSIONS AND OTHER HOLIDAYS. MAY IS A NICE MONTH BECAUSE WE HAVE MANY HOLIDAYS, FOR EXAMPLE 17TH MAY WHICH IS OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY.
OUR SCHOOL DAY IS NOT SO LONG. SCHOOL STARTS 8:30AM AND ENDS 2:00PM. WE HAVE RECESS 3 TIMES EVERY DAY AND THEN WE MUST GO OUT AND GET FRESH AIR, EVEN IF IT IS RAINING OR SNOWING. WE HAVE A BIG SCHOOL YARD SO WE CAN PLAY, RUN, PLAY SOCCER, JUMP ROPE, CLIMBING AND SWING. THE SCHOOL IN NORWAY IS FREE AND WE DON’T HAVE TO BUY ANYTHING, THE STATE PAYS FOR EVERYTHING, BUT WE DON’T GET LUNCH AT SCHOOL SO WE HAVE TO BRING LUNCH TO SCHOOL.
Emilia, 5th Grade:
First Day of School In Norway
In Norway you start school when you are six years old. School starts in middle of August and ends at the end of June. The first day of school starts at 8.30 AM. and ends at 10.00 AM. Usually school starts 8.30 and ends at 14.00. On the first day of school, you greet the principal and your teacher and go in to your classroom. The only thing you this day, is your teacher tells you a little bit what you will be learning and doing in class. You also get a green cap to wear so all the other kids at school know that you are a first grader. When that’s done, all the first graders will go outside to hear the second graders sing an antibulling song.
Last Day of School In Norway
The last day of school, everybody gets to buy candy for 5 dollars plus a soda on the side. The only thing we do this day is watch a movie and have fun. The last day is very short. After we are done eating our candy, we go out and run through the summer gate, and summer break has started
Isabella, 3rd Grade:
In Norway you start school the year you turn six years old. School starts in the middle of August. At the first day the children are met by the principal and teacher in the school-yard. Last day of school before summer break is just a few hours, and is always candy day.
Riccardo, 9th Grade:
My first day of school was on the 8th september, I wake up in the early morning and i was so angry and tired. And I dress up with the some clothes of evry day! Then without taking breakfast I went outsides and wait for my best friend to pick me up with his bike. Then when I arrived at school I was at first happy because I met all my friends but when the lesson start I was angry with the teacher because they give us homework and they give us also some quiz.
At the of the school I went to eat with my friends and I went to the rugby practice.
Maria, 4th Grade:
The school start at the end of August and end the first days of June. The school start at 7:45 and end at 2:30. There is not special celebrations we just present each other. I think that the unique difference is that here we make our own flag.
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