High school: U.S vs Indonesia

With August drawing to a close, so does everyone’s holiday. Some parts of the world start and ends their school year in January in December (looking at you, Australia). Others, like my country and from what I see in the media, U.S., start and ends their school year in Summer. It’s a little bit different in my country since it’s tropical country so having a 3 months summer holidays are just pointless and we start school year in July. But the premise is the same: it’s the middle of the year, but it’s a start of new school year.

Not to mention it’s almost September, which means another new school year shenanigans in Hogwarts!

However, I also see a lot of differences between schools in the U.S. and Indonesia. Some are good and some are bad. So today I’ve compiled some of the differences that I found and observed. Let me know what you think of them on the comments below.

😱First day of school😱

Image result for first day of school gif
It seems like the day all students dreaded the most in the U.S. For some reason, everyone just deeply hated school. Another reason is because they’re afraid their friends and “cliques” already change due to the 3 months separation.

In my country, we also dread the first day of school. Not because we hated school or we’re afraid our friends have change, no. It’s mainly due to a fact that we have to get back to wake up at 5 or just basically earlier than 7 AM because that’s when the bell rings.

📚The classes and curriculum📚

In the U.S., you moved class and choose your own classes. So each class you will have different classes and potentially different teachers. In my country, we wait in the class and the teachers are the one who will come to us. Some school still use this system, and others have adopted the “moving class” system. But one thing for use, our curriculum is already decided by the Ministry of Education so there’s no changing or skipping that physics or chemistry class. You failed, then you failed your grade.

💁The stereotypes💁

Image result for mean girls gif

The mean and popular girl aka the queen bee, the hot jock, the nerd, the bully, the outcast… These stereotypes are present in every media I’ve ever encountered about U.S. high school and it makes me wonder whether if they are true. My country, though having those stereotypes too, are not that extreme on them. The jock, the nerd and the bully can be a same person. I’ve known someone who’s basically a whole package: he’s popular, he’s the 2nd (sometimes 1st) smartest in our year, he’s sometimes a bully, and he can do any sports you thrown at him. People can be the bully one moment, and being bullied the next second, there’s no inbetween.

🎷The extra🎷

Image result for high school theater gif

I find that extracurricular activities in the U.S. highschools are more diverse than in Indonesian school. I never encountered an Indonesian high school who has marching band, or wrestling, or swimming as its extracurricular. And no, we rarely have theater, so no high school musical for us.

🎓The uniform🎓

Image result for us high school uniform gif
I see that most of the school in the U.S has no uniform, but they still have follow dress codes? Except for maybe private school and absolutely Catholic school? 😂 About 99% school in Indonesia use uniform, the only ones who don’t are some international schools. And the uniforms generally follow the same rule: white top red skirt for elementary, white top navy blue skirt for junior high, and white top grey skirt for senior high. Most schools also have rules about belt, shoes, and socks.

⛪Catholic school⛪

I see this is kind of an inside joke of how crazy and ridiculous the rules are and how it made the students actually sinned?😂😂😂 I went to a Catholic school from my kinderganten to junior high and while it’s true the rules make us sneakier, the rules aren’t as crazy or ridiculous as the U.S. ones😂😂😂 My junior high school has this rule that everyone has to wear belt, so every morning there were be belt-check at the front gate. We all went through the back gate for a while until we were discovered, in which the teachers also have a belt-check at the back gate😂

Catholic memes are definitely my favorite bc I can relate so much, albeit on a more low-key level.

Talk to me U.S. people: are what I write true or are they just from the media? And for non-U.S. non Indonesian people, how are the schools in your country?



19 Replies to “High school: U.S vs Indonesia”

  1. I went to public school in the US so thankfully no uniforms, but a lot of the stereotypes (especially with cliques) were definitely true. I almost went to Catholic school but my parents changed their mind at the last minute, for which I am grateful for because public school allowed me more freedom and self expression, and it was also larger and more diverse than the smaller Catholic schools in my area.


  2. What a great idea to compare US and Indonesian schools! I would say that most of the books and TV that you see that involve American schools exaggerate a lot of things (to make them more interesting), but a lot of these are still basically true. Most kids hate that first day of school more because of the school work than the cliques and such (though I’m sure there are those who dread certain social circles). Also, the stereotypical mean girl, nerd, etc. are generally exaggerated. Most teenagers in the blogosphere have said that they didn’t feel like the stereotypes really exist as much as the media would have us think (though some people have definitely experienced them!).

    As far as classes, US kids have certain classes that are required (no getting out of chem or physics!), but they DO have LOTS of choices for their elective (non-required) classes and tons of extracurriculars!

    Thanks for sharing this!!


  3. ooh looks like indonesia high schools are quite similar to philippine high schools! we start in the middle of the year too and have very limited extra curricular activities. i’ve gone to catholic schools all my life and the strictness varied but most of the rules were regarding our uniform and appearance really.


  4. Interesting! I went to high school in the US. I hated school, so I always dreaded the first day. We didn’t get to choose all of our classes. Everybody had to take math, science, and English. We got to choose our other classes based on our interests and the requirements of whatever colleges we wanted to apply to. We didn’t have a uniform, but we had an extremely strict dress code. The girls in your gif would have been sent home from my high school because their skirts are too short.


    1. Ooh interesting. I used to love school tbh before high school came xD At least you got to choose some subject; in my country we can’t choose anything. And while we do have uniform, there are dresscode that applies to parents or chaffeur, so basically parents who wear clothes like miniskirts will be sent home by my school xD


  5. I could definitely relate with the Catholic memes…I went to a Catholic high school for two years, and they were pretty strict…but not to the level of strictnessthat you see in memes haha.
    I totally agree though – there’s a huge difference between US highschools and Australian highschools. Although we have the moving class system, most schools dont have free dress, and the variety of extracurriculars is also quite limited, unless you go to a very big school, or a well-funded/private school.


  6. As an American, I can speak to the U.S. school system. So, I will provide my thoughts to your list.
    *I suppose some people worry about cliques changing, but I think most of the worry comes from getting up early again, homework and not having classes or lunch with your friends (we could find that out a week or two before school started in my hometown).
    *We do get to choose our classes, but several of them are required. We only have a little bit of flexibility to decide electives and maybe the year(s) we take gym class. I think you should also note that some schools have band, choir, or theater as classes, so those are both classes and club activities.
    *The strong stereotype of cliques depends on where you live. Where I lived, there was some flexibility to cliques of belonging to multiple.
    *As far as uniforms go, I am unaware of public schools having uniforms. A lot of private schools require uniforms. Note: Catholic schools are private schools in the U.S.

    Thank you for sharing the differences between U.S. and Indonesian schools. It was interesting to read!


  7. I taught chemistry for 12 years, so I know first hand the pain the kids suffer upon returning to school. Many are excited to see friends again or start their activities, but they are not so excited about waking up early and homework.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thanks for sharing! I’ve always been interested in the academic systems of other countries. I’m so used to changing rooms for class, and I think it’s so interesting that the teacher is the one who has to change rooms. I went to an Episcopal school (not quite as strict as Catholic), and we had to wear a uniform. They were always strict about skirt length and if we wore the correct color of socks (navy for Eucharist). And I agree with your take on the stereotypes.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, Indian schools are pretty much similar to Indonesian schools. We don’t have so diverse extra curricular and school uniforms are a must.But in my school, there are stereotypes but not kinda so heavy as I have usually read in books and seen in Tv shows and bullying was not there in my school, so thankfully I’ve never been bullied in my entire life.


    1. Ahh this is very interesting. I have Desi friends but since they never actually lived in India, they couldn’t tell me anything about it 😀 It’s really interesting that our schools are pretty similar, so I think they really don’t miss much 😀 I think bullying is a pretty universal problem, but thank god it’s not really bad in our schools 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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