Thursday, September 1, 2011

First day of school post!! on the second day...

So like the title says, yesterday was my first day of school. I was far too exhausted to blog last night because I also had to do some dutch HOMEWORK!! So yeah, lets see.. yesterday was... interesting. I'd say in good and bad ways. A whole lot of different things happened and it was a pretty... unique day.

But first let me explain some things. I am the only American at my school, so I'm all alone and there are no other foreign exchange students, however they have one every year so its not a new thing. The school system here is very interesting. Everyone attends 6 years of "primary school", so basically elementary school for us. Then they go to secondary school, and you can pick where you want to go. So we go to R.S.G. 't Rijks, because Anne-Claire and Jelle picked to go to that school when they were finished with primary school. And depending on your grades, that is what determines what level you get into. So after that you get to go into VMBO, HAVO, or VWO. VMBO is the lowest level of secondary education you can get, and it lasts until you're sixteen. This is geared towards students who are looking to go into vocational training after school, instead of university or college. So those are the kids who are going into a trade school basically. Then there's HAVO, which is a level for kids who can go to college. This ends when you're 17, and then you go to a college. College here is alot different than university, because you can only go to university if you get into VWO track. So VWO is the highest level of secondary education you can choose, so it's also the hardest. This is the class I was placed in, and I'm in my fifth year at school, which is the level before the final exam year. But here's this handy picture from wikipedia explaining the ages and education levels. If anyone wants more explanation of the way the system works just comment, but I think I explained it as simply as possible.

So I had to go to school with Jelle because it was only my second time going that way by bike, and Anne-Claire didn't have class until 10:10, so I rode with Jelle. BUT about halfway to school it started raining!! So that reaally sucked because then I got to school wet.. But luckily it wasn't pouring, which is not typical of weather here, so there was just a nice typical drizzle on the way to school. So my pants and hair were wet, but luckily since it was only a light rain I dried off quickly.

So since I didn't have a class first period, I had to try and get a bike lock/parking spot and a locker. BUT the guys who are in charge of it apparently have off on Wednesdays, so I had to wait another day to figure that out. So I sat in the library and tried to get organized for the day, and try not to get lost. Anne-Claire was nice enough to draw me a map and put a location of where my classes were, so that was also very easy. The librarian also talked to me and was asking me where I was from and things like that so that was very nice first thing in the morning. Then after that I had my first period class, double english haha. So I thought it would be perfect to have it as my first class, but he started out speaking dutch!! So that was kind of frustrating because I expected the entire class to be in english, like how our foreign language classes are back home. But eventually he was leading the class in English, I think just the outline of the year was in Dutch. So we read in that class from our text books, and then did some things in our work book. So the teacher asked me to read the last paragraph, and everyone was a mixture of confused and amazed. (this was translated for me, but) After I finished reading one girl was like, why are you in here, but she said that in dutch. But the girl sitting next to me was kind of quiet, but maybe its just because English is a really hard class in school so she was focusing. But its too bad she was quiet because usually you stay sitting next to someone for most of the year. I think it is a pretty hard language to learn, and the books seem to ask some strange questions, but Dutch is hard to learn too.I've gotten used to spelling differently in school now, so I'm grateful for googlechrome underlining my misspelled words!

After english we had break, and I found Anne-Claire and she let me put some things in her locker so my backpack wasn't as heavy, because we have alott of books!! I met so many people this day that I can hardly remember their names! Because alot of them are kind of hard to pronounce, or they're very unusual names. So I got to meet a lot of her friends.

After break I had history which was really hard because of course, it was all in dutch. But I took notes and one day i'll have to translate them. I sat next to a different girl, and she was very nice, but also very focused on her work. So she didn't have alot of time to translate what was going on for me, but that's okay. Then I had a free period again, this time with Anne-Claire so she let me sit with her and her friends and they talked to me a little bit, and we ended up staying there through lunch because that was after the free period. After lunch I got a little bit lost and ended up being late to dutch. This was kind of awkward because I had to walk into class and hand my teacher the AFS paper that explains I am a foreign exchange student and important things like that. So I had to take the last seat in the front of the room since I was late. So this class was really hard since it was all in dutch. We had to do this exercise in the book that was matching words to their definitions, but the definitions were in a big paragraph so it was also kind of hard to find them. But the guy sitting next to me helped me, and the girl sitting next to him on the other side was also getting help from him. But this was pretty hard because we had to do it for homework since we didn't finish it. So I had to do it last night, and Hans and Andrea helped me alot but some of the definitions were weird and confusing so I had to look them up online.

After this class was where I had my first problem, I accidentally went to the wrong class and stayed there!! The whole period! And I have absolutely no idea why I thought that the economy class I was sitting in was M&O! But the sad part is that I really liked that class and that teacher, and now I don't have him and I'm in a different class. But the good thing that came from that was that i finally sat next to someone that I liked! I sat next to a girl named Vera, and she's in V5D with me, so she's in a lot of my classes, and has been helping me out alot. She was the first person to take interest in me (I know it was only the first day, but still) and ask me questions about myself so that really made my day alot better. It's really lonely when you feel like no one wants to get to know you, so I just have to be really social. But it's also hard at the beginning of school because everyone wants to see their friends that they haven't seen in 8 weeks. And its especially hard when you can't understand half of the things they're saying. That's really hard to deal with. But things will get better and the dutch will come to me.


  1. Sounds like quite a time, Anna, and I hope things get easier as time goes on!

  2. I am glad your day ended on such a good note. You are amazing. To know that you have to put yourself out there so much and also to know that the students are more interested in each other right now is really insightful on your part. I hope your days have started to settle into a routine of where to be and when -- I know it will feel so much more calm just knowing where to go!

  3. Thanks Mrs. Nobles! When you're in a situation like I'm in right now, you just look at everything differently with open eyes. The routine will hopefully come soon, but each day is such a different schedule so I need to get through at least a full week!