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Everyday school life in the USA

The American »High school spirit«, Which can be admired in numerous films and TV series, is famous and for many a reason to go to the USA as an exchange student. But what is everyday life like at an American high school really like? Which courses can be taken? And what happens on the first day of school? These are the questions that will probably keep you busy for the first few days.

To get a more detailed overview of the school system and some general information about American high schools, our travel tip on the American school system will help you.

Everyday school life during a student exchange in the USA can of course always be slightly different. Because every school has different rules and the number of students can vary - this ranges from a few hundred to several thousand. You will likely get to school by car or bus - walking or cycling is rather uncommon in the United States.

The first day

The first day at the new school is exciting and may even scare you a little. Before you start class, you will probably first receive a brief introduction in the secretary's office or in the office of a certain teacher and be informed about your schedule.

Armed with your new schedule, you will probably be accompanied by a school employee to your first classroom and introduced directly to the others. If you go out on your own and can't find the room straight away, don't be afraid to ask your classmates. They are sure to be happy to help and you may be able to make your first contacts. Did you find the right room? Then everyday school life can begin!

The choice of course and the timetable

When choosing a course, the guidance counselor be at your side with words and deeds. There are compulsory and elective courses. For example, American history or politics are often compulsory subjects. It is also possible that your home school will prescribe a few subjects for you to have credit for when you return. In addition, there are really cool electives, some of which are very exotic. Depending on which school you end up at, you can try your hand at acting, creative writing, cooking or photography, for example.

You should definitely use the electives to try out yourself and leave your comfort zone. Because you can really get a taste of where you might later be driven professionally - or not. Plus, your high school stay is not just about studying, it's also about having fun. The electives are a great opportunity to make friends as you will meet people with the same interests.

The lesson

In most schools, the first lesson starts between 7 and 8 a.m. Just like in Germany, coming too late is not welcome here either. Classes in high schools are more like frontal teaching and there is less group work. In addition, tests are written more often.

In contrast to Germany, it is the teachers who have their own classrooms and the students switch between the classrooms depending on the lessons. At around 12 noon there is a long lunch break in the school canteen. Here you can either buy food or eat your own lunch and chat with your friends. After school, around 3 p.m., the afternoon activities begin.

Extracurricular activities: Free time at school?

For us Germans it sounds strange to spend our free time at school. In the US, that's exactly what the High school spirit matters. After school has finished, you can still take part in numerous leisure activities at many schools, the Extracurricular Activities, take part.

The most popular are probably sports activities such as American football, basketball, athletics and cheerleading. These activities are often a year Try outs that you need to qualify through. Participation in clubs such as theater clubs, debating clubs or school bands are also offered. You can also find out from yours whether your favorite activity for the current semester is there and you can participate Counselor.

The various sports in particular contribute to the school's team spirit, not only for the athletes but also for the spectators. All students are dressed in the school colors, cheer on the team together with the cheerleaders and celebrate the victory - that is a great feeling of community. Here, too, you have a unique opportunity to quickly make friends and make friends.


In some schools or states there are special rules. For example, you can only share the classroom with one during class hallway pass leave. This is issued by a teacher and checked by the hallway supervisor. In addition, there are sometimes strict rules regarding leaving the school premises during class time. Violations of the rules are reported with detention (Eng. detention) punished. But don't worry, all of this will be explained to you in the first few days.

Another lesson can also be the study hall or study period be. During this lesson, you can do homework or study in a large room. But many also use the hour to simply chat with friends.

In many schools the Pledge of Allegiance announced. It is an oath of allegiance to the nation and the American flag. Optionally, the national anthem can also be used on special occasions The Star-Spangled Banner sung. If all the Americans around you get up, put their hands on your heart and you don't know what is happening to you, one of the two is likely to be said / sung.

Video tip: Anna Valentina's High School in the USA


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