I have now successfully completed my first week of school at the Goethe-Schule, Flensburg. Some may note that I have previously written about attending the Auguste-Viktoria Schule, however once I arrived in Germany, they no longer had a place for me in their school.
The Goethe-Schule is a 25 minute walk from my house and is situated in the heart of the city. It is also convenient for me to catch the bus to school as I now have a student bus pass valid for the coming year.
My school day begins at 7:45am, so I have had a series of very early mornings this week, as I’m still working at establishing a new school routine. On Monday, Thursday and Friday I finish school at 1pm and on Tuesday and Wednesday the school day ends at 3pm. I enjoy finishing so early for half the week. This gives me time in the afternoon to venture into the city with my class mates or to head home and relax or complete any homework.
As I haven’t truly experienced a first day at a new school since I was 5, the first day of school was an intimidating prospect. But I soon settled into my new class of 18 girls and just 2 boys. I am in year 11 in Germany, with other students my own age. This is one of the final years of school and leads up to the arbitur exam. A German gymnasium goes through from year 5 to year 13 and is the highest level of secondary schooling. Because of this all the students in my class are very focused and have chosen to continue their education, as they have the option to finish school at year 10.
Throughout my school day I have 3 breaks, also known as a pause. The first two pauses are just 15 minutes long. In this time I change classrooms and there is the option to buy a small bite to eat from the Schulcafe. At 12:55 we have a Große pause which is 45 minutes long. On Monday, Thursday and Friday, it is at this time that my classes have finished and I may leave the campus for the day. On Tuesday and Wednesday I can buy a hot meal in the mensa and then continue on with my classes after lunch.
I currently have 13 subjects scheduled on my timetable which includes: maths, english, spanish, geography, history, world politics, philosophy, physics, art, german, biology, music and sport. There is definitely plenty of variety in my day! Although I have a large number of classes, some are only scheduled for once a week. So sometimes there is not a lot of time spent on each individual subject.
There are no lockers in my new school, the students are all required to carry their belongings to every class. Of course there is no school uniform, and even the teachers don’t have a dress code. Many of my teachers wear jeans to work. The absence of a school uniform has so far not been such a big deal for me. The lack of a school uniform is completely normal here in Germany, and I am adjusting to new things everyday so any differences feel immediately natural, as I was never expecting to have a similar lifestyle to my own in Australia. My first priority when getting dressed in the morning is always to keep warm, and I try not to deliberate over what to wear as I have to move quickly in order to reach school on time.
I have enjoyed going to school throughout my first week at the Goethe-Schule. Even though I may not understand everything in all the classes, the teachers have been understanding of my German ability, although I am learning new words everyday! Some subjects can be easier to follow than others. The students in my class have been friendly and welcoming of me. I am interacting with my classmates more and more, and I’m proud to say after one week I now know the names of all my classmates! They have been helpful in introducing me to different parts of the city which I hadn’t yet explored, such as the Flensburg fjord.