Italian vs American education

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February 24, 2015 by Italians in Chicago

Vermont_College--College_HallEducation is one of the most important elements of our lives because it determines who we are, who we want to become and who we will be.

Education gives us individual diversity and the opportunity to express ourselves. In fact, if we didn’t have the option of choosing different pathways in our education, we would all master the same skills and create a society where individuals wouldn’t know the meaning of personal goals and achievements.

Education gives individuals the opportunity to master their skills and follow their dreams. As a college student, the question that comes up to my mind is whether there is a more efficient way of learning, and whether it would be the only possibility to reach success.

Based on my personal experience of attending high school in Italy and college in the United States, I have noticed that the two countries base their education systems on complete different values. In Italy, discipline and perfection are more emphasized than expressing individual differences and innovative ways of learning. Italian education system chooses traditional methods over technology. Students don’t have the possibility of choosing their own classes, but they are assigned to one classroom that will remain the same with the same classmates for all five years. It’s important to mention that students have the possibility of choosing which type of high school they would like to attend. In fact, high schools are divided based on different focuses, so that students can pursue their studies according to their likeness.

In the United States, high schools are classified by districts, and they all have the same structure. Students are able to personalize their schedules choosing different subjects that satisfy their graduation requirements. High schoolers in the US switch their classrooms every hour and this gives them the possibility of meeting new friends in each class. Not only is the context of American high schools different than Italian ones, but also the focus of classes and teachers’ values are very distinct. In fact, I believe American teachers are more understanding of students’ extracurricular activities, and discussion in class is very emphasized so that students learn how to express their ideas.

I believe that college in the United States is also very different than university in Italy because it is much more common for college students to live on campus and be an active member of the community. Sometimes it is important to consider the social aspect of schooling, as well as the connections you make during your studies. Sometimes students are able to learn more important lessons in the real world by being in contact with jobs’ offers and volunteering opportunities, rather than living at home with their parents and studying for an upcoming exam.

It is important to find a balance between these two different school systems because the perfect one doesn’t exist yet, but if students are able to take the best out of each opportunity and be brave enough to step out of their comfort zone, they will realize that happiness and success are just around the corner.


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