YFU Switzerland

Military school, what’s that?

Hi everyone out there

So now I’ve been going to my new school for one week and I thought I would try to describe it to the people at home. School is so different here. You can’t understand this until you’ve seen it on your own.

  • The school starts at 6:45 a.m, so to me that means to get up very early every day because it takes about 15 minutes to drive there.
  • We first have a “Parade”, where all students (about 650) stand outside and listen to the instructions of the inspector. The girls of my class like to talk a lot, but there are students from higher grades that watch over us and remind us to be silent.
  • Then we walk back to class and the teacher comes at 7:15. Or at least the teachers should come then. Usually they are too late 🙂
  • Then we have 3 hours of lessons, 30 min. break and three more hours. Per day we have 4 different subjects.
  • In the break we usually go to buy something to eat at the “bar”. It is really cheap there. You get a hamburger for 75 cents.
  • In our class we are 32 people, so that is really a lot compared to swiss school classes
  • Everytime the teacher gets into the classroom we all have to stand up and wait until the teacher allows us to sit down.
  • Because it’s a military school teachers and inspectors call the students “Kadete” plus family name. The nametag on my uniform is just “Annette”. I think that’s easier for the teachers to remember than my family name. (By the way, I haven’t taken a photo of the uniform yet, I’m gonna post one in the next blog post)
  • The school is quite clean and it’s even possible to go to the toilet without being totally disgusted (what wasn’t possible at the other school)
  • It really depends on the teacher how concentrated the class works. In some lessons it is quite quiet (<- that’s a funny constellation 😀 ) and in others everyone walks around in the classroom, talks, sleeps or does some kind of homework they didn’t do at home. I find those lessons funny because then I’m not just doing nothing, but I talk to the others or at least listen to them chatting and it is just so different.
  • But the school is definitely stricter than the other one and I also notice that the students here are more willing to learn and get an education
  • The relation between students and teachers is very different than what I have ever seen. It is totally normal to hug your teacher sometimes or to slap them slightly when they make a stupid joke. It is a much more amicable relation. But also here it depends on the teacher.

    My new friends and me at school

    My new friends and me at school

  • You often get called “mi amor” (my love), “mi hija” (my daughter) or “mi niña” (my girl) by the teachers. That’s another way they show their friendliness here.
  • In the lessons the teachers don’t say a lot. There are usually groups of students that present something. Often they just read out loud the text of a school book and write some sentences on a big piece of paper, that they hang on the wall.
  • Here all kinds of people start talking to me. The small kids, the oldest from school, the teachers, inspectors, everyone. They are very curious.
  • The school is locked, so if you want to leave classes earlier than the others, you can’t. Also there are always military men standing at the entrance to the school and checking the people that go in and out.
  • The people here share everything. If you have 5 pieces of chocolate it is sure that you will only get to eat one of them. That is a part of the host friendly culture here and I love it. In Switzerland people share too but I know a lot of people that don’t like to share the food they just bought with everyone else. I also understand that but people like that would be very little accepted here.
  • Also all are friends. Here everyone hugs, kisses and cuddles everyone. And it doesn’t matter if that person is a boy or a girl. If you see a boy and a girl holding hands or him giving her a kiss on the forhead, it doesn’t mean they are a couple, that’s just how friends treat each other here.

    Once when I was nearly falling asleep in class, the girl sitting behind me, started to scratch my back (who doesn’t love that feeling? 🙂 ). To her that was totally normal to do, even though she didn’t know me well, but I got so touched by her heartwarming act of kindness that I couldn’t hold back some tiny tears coming up to my eyes. Also because that was something my mum always did to me when I was little and the feelings just overwhelmed me.

  • The level of english here is quite bad, but there are three people in my class that can speak some. They all learned it by themselves outside of school and it makes me happy to see their effort to learn a new language. To us learning english isn’t very difficult, because it’s a germanic language too. But for people that only speak spanish, learning english is quite some work.

    Gabriel, the tallest boy in class and me

    Gabriel, the tallest boy in class and me

  • In sports classes the boys play football and the girls just sit around talking.
  • I’m the tallest girl in class with my 1.72 meters and there are only two or three boys taller than me. We all like to make fun of that 🙂 On the photo you can see the uniform for sports (Yes, I get to go to school in those comfortable pants twice a week)

That’s quite a lot information I know, but I haven’t even written about everything 😉

In general I feel very well at school, even though it’s quite boring sometimes, because I don’t understand what they say in class. But the people are very nice to me and make effort to integrate me. I’m very thankful for that.


I still feel homesick quite often, but I hope it will get better soon and I’m trying my best. At this point, after one month here in Ecuador I want to thank everyone who is always there for me when I need it and tries to help and motivate me over Skype or Whatsapp. GRACIAS