YFU Switzerland

My first days at school

Three weeks ago I arrived in Leighton Buzzard. After long days of excitement I finally had my first day of school on Wednesday. I was (slightly) terrified. W O W . Never would I have imagined school to be like that. Especially because of how my school was in Switzerland. It’s the absolute opposite.


This is how one of the school corridors looks like. Pretty simple and boring.

Let me tell you about my first day of school.

On Wednesday my alarm clock rung at five o’ clock in the morning. I accidentally set the wrong time and woke up my host sister, who I share a room with, too. Sorry, Alina. And because I was quite nervous about my first day of school, I couldn’t sleep anymore. I would have had to get up at seven a.m. After two sleepless hours of waiting, we got up, had breakfast and got ready for school. Our host mom drove us to school but because of the traffic, we almost came too late to our first day of school.

I am in year 12 what is the first year of A level. Together with all the other new sixth form (A level) students, we had an assembly where teachers welcomed us and talked about how hard these two years were going to be.
– I’ll probably write a separate blog post about the school system in England.
After that we had to go to our tutor group. Every day before the lessons start, we have 15 minutes of tutor group. I haven’t figured out yet, what we are supposed to do there, because on the next day we sat there for 15 minutes, doing nothing.

After tutor group we had to do sessions, in which teachers gave us information about A level. In our last lesson, someone from university did a presentation about things we had to do to prepare for university. His presentation was done 20 minutes before school ended. Alina and I were on our way to the gate when we noticed that all the other students stayed in the school area. That was the moment we realised, we actually had to stay in school until the school officially ended.
I’ll post a picture of my timetable. You will see that the system is very different and we have lots of free hours. They are supposed to be study lessons.

School ends at 15:15. Yes, that is early. But often my lessons end hours before school ends, so I have to wait in the school for quite some time before I can leave. That made both Alina and me feel very controlled and ‘suppressed’. We aren’t used to being so non-independent and it will take us some time to get used to that.

Here are my old and new time tables:


This is my time table how it was at the beginning



This is my new time table with the final subjects

As you can see, the time table is for a fortnight and not only a week. On Wednesday both weeks I only have one subject. I have to stay at school until 15:15 even though I only have school until 10:05. That’s boring and there is nothing to do at the school except doing homework or hanging out with other people who also have free periods. 

On my first day of school in England I luckily found some people I could hang out with.

Have I already mentioned that girls in the UK wear tons of make-up? Well, I didn’t expect that, but I’ll be fine. Luckily, there also are some girls who don’t wear make-up, so I’m not the only one.

On the next day, Thursday, I had tutor group and then English retake (as an exchange student, I have to do the English GCSE exam), where we only were three people. After that I had two lessons of free time, so I had to find people I could hang out with (I found some!) and then I had physics.
The reason I chose physics as an A level subject was, because I thought it would be helpful for me when I go back to Switzerland, since I skip one year. And I didn’t mind physics three years ago, when I had it for one year. What I kind of underestimated, was that the students in England have had physics for three years.
So I arrived there and sat next to the only girl in the class room. After that one hour of physics I knew, I was going to change that subject. Since I’ve had physics three years ago, I didn’t remember the formulas plus I didn’t understand the words my teacher was using. We had to calculate something about acceleration, but I didn’t know that word and my seatmate couldn’t explain it to me properly, so I didn’t really know what we were supposed to do for the whole lesson.

On Friday, I had two lessons PE (physical education, where we learn about sports theory, history and other stuff) and maths retake. And some free time in between. Alina also took PE so we went there together, but she didn’t like it so she’ll change. I didn’t know that the students have had PE before for two years. So I will have to catch up some work. But PE interests me and I’ll keep that subject. I hope we will learn more about the human body soon and not only about fitness tests.

These were my first three days of school. In the mean time, a lot has changed so I’ll write another blog post about my subjects now and how the school system in England works (because it’s completely different than in Switzerland).

Thanks for reading?