So this is a post I have been meaning to do for a long time. A whole year actually. I kept planning to write this post and then would just procrastinate. Which is something I don’t normally do with my blog, I enjoy writing and that’s one of the reasons I have it after all! Thee good thing that has come from waiting until the end of the school year to write this, is that I have gone a whole entire year in a Swedish gymnasiet. I’ve been writing thoughts about the schooling down in the “notepad” on my phone during the whole year.
This post is just going to be about the Swedish gymnasiet, which is high school for those who don’t know. I’ll compare it to the American high school, since well that is the other education system I have been though. Whole other posts could be written about Swedish grundskola (grade school) and universitet (university/college). Maybe I will make posts about them eventually, but I haven’t gone through either of them, so it would require a bit more research.
There is a key aspect that makes the structure of Swedish gymnasiet fairly different from American high school. In Sweden, incoming first-year students pick a “linje” or line they want to go into. The lines are based on one subject, and there is a wide variety of them. Some I think are common are economy, science, social science, construction, etc. Some I’ve just looked up that look intriguing are Marine technology, Aeronautics training, and Maritime training. Though it depends on your school, sometimes not enough people want to go into a program so there isn’t that program for that year. If you want to go into a more special program, like the flying program, you would move away from home (yes, by yourself)!
I think that having lines is good. You are studying something that is specific to you, that you hopefully like doing. For example, I am in media, under the social science line. A majority of our classes are media, however we still take the core subjects: Swedish, English, math, science, and have had half a semester of social studies. Our math and science classes are of a lower level compared to someone in a math or science program.
A bad part is that the student must choose which line they want to go into at 15-16 years old. Most college students change their major and have no idea what they want to do, how can you expect someone even younger to do the same? Of course, if a student wants to change lines it is possible, some catching up may be required although.
But how do Swedish lines compare to the American system? In the US we take our core classes of English, science, history, and math more seriously, leaving our electives second of importance (not saying that Swedes don’t take all the classes seriously, they do). Electives are classes that aren’t required for everyone to take, such as art, music, foreign language, gym, social sciences, business (economy), etc. There is a little bit of an exception to this however, to graduate you need 2 years of a foreign language, you must be in gym freshman and sophomore year, and social sciences count towards the amount of years you need to study history. I would say normally you have 2-4 electives you can choose yourself, depending on how many hours you have in your school, and what year you’re in.
There is definitely the opportunity to study what you want to an extent in America, but I don’t think you get the same feel for the topic as in Sweden. In Sweden the line you are studying (ex. Media), is just as important as the core classes. You’re getting a more in-depth education on it since you are concentrating on that subject longer and not on a wide variety of different subjects for short amounts of time. Possibly, if you don’t know what you want to do, the US system gives you the opportunity to learn and try new things. Not to be tied down to just one subject you aren’t entire sure you will like.
You can’t say one of these school systems is better than the other, they both have their perks and drawbacks, in my opinion.
This is just the start of a few posts, I still have much to say about the Swedish high school, but I think that’s enough to start! If you have any questions about the schooling leave them below, I’ll try to answer them in the next post!