Thursday, November 18, 2010

Highschool in The Netherlands

I rarley talk about my life here and what it's like. I've done posts about why I came and I have talked about the differences from time to time..but never really indepth. I don't know why I don't. I guess I don't find it all that interesting unless I am going somewhere the Christmas Markets!! wich I am heading to soon,so expect a post on that :)

Anyway I thought I would post about the school system here since it is so different from the U.S.. My son who is 12 is heading to highschool next year. He would of gone this year but because of the language thing, we were all in agreement that we would allow the boys an extra year to really get the language down. The highschool system reminds me of college. Right now he is taking tests wich sound very much like an SAT in order to find out wich highschool is best for him..Unlike in the U.S. where you go to a specific school based on your they can go anywhere they want. It's the same throughout their entire school years. After he takes his second test in February,we will then go in and talk about the test and figure out wich school best suites him. Now within that school are also different levels. There are kids who will be in the lower,middle, and upper learning levels...and within those levels you are also learning certain skills.

So lets say you want to be a Veterinarian. Yesterday my son went to a school that had 3 different areas. One had an entire section of animals for the students who wanted to become a vet. There was an entire Horticulture section where you can learn how to become a gardener,designer,or open up your own florest. They each made a floral arrangment and brought it home. My son brought me the rose in the photo. There was also a section to learn the building trade. Each week they will be touring a different school that offers certain careers. I realise at 12 it's young to be thinking about what you want to do but thats where the test scores come in. Based on the scores they kind of let you know what your kid might be happy in..Thats not to say it's always correct and that you have to listen to the's just a guide.

I've asked my son to keep in mind what he might be interested in and I guess we will learn more when the tests come in and even though the test might say one thing..he may want something else for himself or change his mind later on..wich he totally can..What I love though, is that they are giving them a chance to work towards something. I think growing up had I been able to go to a highschool that offered photography,cooking,or veterinarian skills I would of been a bit more happy to go.

Also the whole prom,football,cheerleading thing does not exsist here. You go to school,get your work done and anything else you want to do is done after school and on your own time. The whole mentality of the kids here is so different. They are way more grown up in alot of areas that I never was at their age..and I struggle with some of it sometimes. In 4 years my son will be legally allowed to drink. He can buy beer,wine coolers,enter a bar, but they are not allowed the hard liquor until they are 18. The driving age is not until 18 so he has a few years to make a complete ass of himself while riding a bike..and most every dutch person I come across has a million funny stories of being drunk on a bike. I have many things to come to terms with in the next few years but I am excited to see him head towards the next stage in his life and find out what he will make of himself in the future :)