A day in the life of German high schoolers


Lara Rieger, staff writer

No matter where you live, you have to go to school until a certain age. But in other  countries, a typical school day can look pretty different. Here’s what it’s like in Germany.

Most students go to school either by bus, or are dropped off by their parents. I always used to take the bus, which was pretty fun because I met all of my friends there. In most parts of Germany, there are no school buses, which is why we used public transportation to get to school and other activities.

When I arrived at school, the first thing I did was walk to the “substitution plan” to see if any of my teachers were absent. If they were, we didn’t have a substitute, but an open period, which means that we could go home, or to the mall, or do whatever we want.

On a regular day, school started at 8:10am. Each period was 45 minutes long, but we usually had two periods of the same class in a row which means a total of 90 minutes class time. After two periods there was a 15 minute break. 

The lessons were pretty different too.  In my opinion, the biggest difference are electronics. In my old school we didn’t use them at all. That’s why before I got here, I had never heard of Google classroom, Kahoot or StudySync, but I really like working with these because it makes the lessons more interesting and fun. 

Another difference is our relationship with the teachers. Here, students and teachers are pretty close. You can joke with them, and you feel like they actually care about you. In Germany, our relationships with most teachers are more formal. You barely talk to most teachers about private things. Also, when our teacher walked into the room, we all had to stand up and say “Good morning, Mrs/Mr. XY”. 

My schedule in Germany was different every day, which is why I always had different classes. Some days I had 10 periods and got out of school at 5:15pm. Other days I only had 4 periods and could go home at 11:35am. Especially in the beginning of the school year, this can be pretty confusing because you never know which room you have to go to. 

Lunch is also always at a different time. If you have seven periods or more in one day, the counselor tries to create your schedule so that you have an open period during lunch time. Unfortunately, that was not always possible, so sometimes you could have 10 periods in a row without any lunch break in between. 

For lunch, the younger students went to the school cafeteria and most of the older students went either to the shopping mall right next to our school or to the pizzeria around the corner. It was also not as hectic as here because we had a full hour for lunch. 

After school, everybody went home and did their homework. Those who played sports went to practice. Then the day was usually already over, so there was not much free time left.