Over the past three or so weeks, I have noticed a lot of differences between the education system in the US versus the education system here in Italy. Some of these differences include: relationships between teachers and students, communication between teachers and students, and lunch time.
Relationships between students and teachers is something I find very interesting when comparing it to what I am used to in the US. Here in Italy, the teachers have casual, informal relationships with students whereas in the US, teachers have to be very professional with their students. More specifically, physical touch. Students here in Italy are way more likely to run up and hug their teachers than in the United States. In the US, teachers usually aren’t allowed to give their students hugs (unless the student does it first). Also, the way teachers talk about/to their students is so different than anything I have experienced. Something I have noticed is that the teachers will talk openly about the students’ personal lives such as financial status, parent’s occupations, houses, etc.. This is fascinating to me because in the US, you have to tip-toe around a lot of topics and cannot usually talk about those kinds of topics.
The next cultural difference I have noticed about the education system is that communication between teachers and students is very very different than in the US. Here in Italy, the teachers are allowed to be a lot stricter and provide more of a disciplinary role than in the United States. People in the US tend to be very sensitive with how their children are talked to/ disciplined so it is interesting to see a completely different view where the teachers can be more harsh towards the students. The students here are a little more wild than what I have experienced in the US so it makes sense that the teachers need to be louder and constantly getting on to the students.
Lunch time here in Italy is another cultural difference I have noticed. Growing up in the US, we ate in a cafeteria and had to wait in a long line to receive our lunches everyday. At the schools that I attended as a child, we had the choice between a salad, a sandwich, or the “hot lunch” which switched everyday. At my school here, the students all sit at their tables while the teachers come around to each of them and individually serve them while they are seated. They are first served a type of pasta then after they are done with that, they are served the second course which is usually some sort of meat. This interesting to me because it feels more like a restaurant than a school cafeteria.
Learning about these cultural differences has been one of my favorite parts about the internship so far. As an education major, it is very fascinating getting to experience a different education system that I have grown up in my whole life.