Partner Schools

The Best Semester of My Life

by Cordell Jacobson

Cordell writes on European lifestyle, his classmates and the main differences between American and European schools and education.

My four months in Slovakia were among the best four months of my life. Originally not knowing what to expect, I was welcomed with an unfamiliar environment, new faces, and new challenges. I watched myself grow more confident as the weeks and months passed by, changing into a new person. A few of the most influential parts of this change were the school, the school environment, and, not to mention, my classmates, who became my best friends.
There were many things I liked about GYMES. The system of education itself is rather different. First and foremost, in the United States, class units are composed of the entire grade, or, that is, the “class” is a unit of grouping that includes all the students of one age group. Despite having many individual courses and classes for one particular student, depending on what he/she would like, there are some required classes as well. Every classroom has mixed grades, as well, so younger students are often mixed with older ones. I think this is a disadvantage to all the students. Learning with a particular group of people, like at GYMES, can help students focus on their studies better, and form closer bonds with classmates around them.
One difference between the United States’ system of education and the Slovak is the difference in homework. In the United States, it seems there is more homework assigned to students than in Slovakia. This can have a few positive applications, but also a few drawbacks. For one, the extra homework allows the student to study a topic in a more thorough manner. The extra course work strengthens weak skills. On the other hand, less home allows students to study at their own pace, which allows them to take their education into their own hands, as their own responsibility. Overall, I found my experience at GYMES to be much more pleasant and education-oriented than in the United States.
I would like to thank GYMES, the staff, and the students for allowing me to come and study for the Spring 2019 Semester. I will take what I have learned and apply it to the rest of my life, and will carry my friends and memories with me always.