Sarah’s Snapshots – My School in Argentina

I was homeschooled in New Zealand, so going to school is a new concept for me. School in Argentina occurs in two segments – in the morning, or in the afternoon. Some students have to go to both segments, but this doesn’t occur in my school. For my school, the students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade go in the morning from 7:45am to 12:45pm, and the students in 1st and 2nd grade go in the afternoon from 1pm to 6pm. We also have gym for an hour in the afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday. I’m in 4th grade, or Cuarto, with kids between 16 and 17 years old. Fifth grade, Quinto, is the last year of school.

Students in schools here stay in one classroom, and the teachers move around to each class. The grading system is based on numbers from 1-10. A passing grade is above 5. Small exams are taken in each subject throughout the year to determine the grade, and if a student is failing a subject they have to take a large exam in February. Students can fail up to 2 classes before having to repeat the year. I’m in public school here, and it’s quite relaxed. I’m in a Humanistic course, with subjects like Physiology and Science of Communications. I have 11 subjects.

Public school in Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Part of the school from the school courtyard. My classroom is the first door on the right, and the school kiosk is the door on the far left with the crowd of students.

The Argentinian school day is divided into three parts of 1 hour and 15 minutes, 1 hour and 20 minutes, and 2 hours. Between them are 10-15 minute breaks. Since school is in the morning, we don’t have a lunch break. Normally, we buy snacks like biscuits, alfajores, or small candies from the school kiosk.

Argentinian candy. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Some of the candies we can buy from the kiosk. Rocklets are like M&Ms. I’ve yet to buy an alfajore that made it back home, but when I do I’ll take a photo for the blog.

My class has 25 students. Seats aren’t assigned, but we sit in the same general spot throughout the year. Our school doesn’t have heating, making it quite cold in winter, but it does have fans for the summer months. The teachers are really friendly with the students and we’ll often all have large conversations once we’ve finished our work.

Public school in Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

My classroom at school.

There’s a lot of graffiti at school, both on the walls and on the desks. It’s very common to find English phrases scrawled next to you, as well as being on shirts and jackets.

School in Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

Graffiti on the wall next to me at school.

School in Argentina starts at 7:45am, when everyone gathers in the courtyard to raise the Argentinian flag. The school doors close while this is happening, and anyone arriving late needs to wait till after the flag has been raised to go into the school. If it’s cold or raining, we normally stand in the hall inside and face the courtyard while someone outside raises the flag.

School in Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

The Argentinian flag at my school. Every morning at 7:45am we gather in lines according to our class in the courtyard for the flag to be raised. This happens in school in Argentina all around the country.

At school in Argentina we use blackboards. There are few or no school computers. We don’t use subject books – rather, we buy photocopies from the school kiosk when we move on to a new subject in the class. Everyone has a single folder for all our classes. There is one movie room in the school, which we use when we need to watch something for class. The power does cut out quite often, but the longest it’s been off for any one time is half an hour. It more commonly cuts off when there’s bad weather, as the power grid shuts it off to stop any electrical surges from happening. My biggest problem here are the teachers’ handwriting. Everyone here writes in cursive, which I’ve never used before so it’s tricky for me to read. Because of this it’s also hard for me to be able to tell what letters are being used.

School in Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

The blackboard after Sociology class. Some teachers’ handwriting are more legible than others – I can’t read the French teacher’s handwriting at all.

School in Argentina. Photo copyright ©Sarah Albom 2016

My school folder. We use one folder for everything, with markers in-between the subjects.

What do you think of school in Argentina?

This post will link up at Weekend Blog Party at Sincerely Paula, Saturday Snapshots at West Metro Mommy Reads, and Sunday’s in My City at the Unknown Mami.

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  1. says

    I think it is very cool that you are experiencing going to school in a different country and learning a different language. You’ll treasure this for your entire life. I’m sure your world travel will be just as cherished.

    Have a terrific day Sarah. ☺

  2. Lindy says

    I always wanted to do afs. What an awesome exp. and I agree cursive if you don’t use it is hard to read. Beautiful. But hard.

  3. says

    Hi Sarah – interesting post to read and to see some of the differences … I’ve no idea re school now – but certainly we have lots of tools that teachers and the children use … and lots of resources … as to handwriting – always a challenge … take care and thanks for posting .. cheers Hilary

  4. says

    Very interesting to see the differences. Dividing up the classes to morning or afternoon is a smart idea, although I wouldn’t want to go in the afternoon. I guess I’m glad I did learn cursive although I’d be hard pressed to write all of my letters correctly now.

    I’ve often wondered – those who don’t know cursive, how do you sign your name? How will you sign checks and legal documents?

    • says

      Hi sara I’m Lela and I’ll also be an exchange student in Argentina thanks to AFS South Africa. I was really terrified at the thought of re starting my life but thanks to you I’m actually now really excited. My program starts January 2017

      • Sarah E. Albom says

        Hi Lela – that’s really cool! I hope you have an awesome time on your exchange. It’s been absolutely amazing for me, and I’m sure it will be for you. I was a little scared at first but by the time I left I was just excited to meet my new family and town.

  5. says

    The worst thing about cursive is that people can write it in different ways – some write it rounded, others can make it thin and spiky. I think it’s awful you don’t get textbooks, don’t get separate notebooks, and suffer electricity outtages. At least you get gym. But in the US, we also got Drama, Music, Chorus, swimming, and foreign languages. Plus there were lots of after school activities like marching band (I was a flag), school plays, different sports, etc. It’s really fun to learn music or be on a sports team. Thanks for sharing your school life and the pics!

  6. says

    Eleven subjects in just five hours! Such rapid changes would drive me a little nutsy, I’m afraid. But I’m old. Perhaps for teenagers, the quick skip from one subject to another is a good thing? As for not reading cursive writing, I’d heard that some U.S. schools no longer teach cursive, though not all. Sounds like they’re doing that elsewhere in the so-called developed world as well. What a travesty! Some of the most fun treasures to discover are letters from grandparents and great grandparents to their lovers and far-away family members. People who never learn to read cursive would have to find interpreters!

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