Allons-y à l’école

School is in session… No! Well, I’m a freshman here at Duke University which I’m in love with so I guess it’s not that bad. Like they say, love conquers all. Now you know a little more about me: I attend Duke and I am absolutely in love with it! It got me thinking why don’t I talk about the differences between the school system here (in the US) and Nigeria. 

Just a quickie, all the pictures on this post are of Duke taken by me. Pretty, right? I’m so proud knowing this is where I get to spend the next 4 years of my life by God’s Grace.

  • First and foremost, schools resume early September everywhere in Nigeria whereas it’s August here in the States. I find this very annoying because as my siblings and friends who school in England/Nigeria are STILL enjoying their summer, I’m finalizing my schedule for the new semester. It does have it’s perks though and I’ll tell you why later. Just keep reading. 😀
  • A year is divided into trimesters in Nigeria while the semester system is used here in the States. There are 3 terms in a school session. It was very weird for me when I got here because I felt the school year felt so much longer especially the Spring semester. The school year is broken down like this: 1st term= September to December, 2nd term= January- April and 3rd Term= Late April to mid July. Which brings me to my next point…
  • Schools usually go out for summer in July in Nigeria; some early, some mid and some late (oh, those unlucky ones!) but schools get out ending of May or worst case scenrio early June in the US. It’s even better in college cause we get out early May! According to my calculations, for college students, that’s about three and a half months (two and a half for high school) of summer and pure bliss! It’s so worth it for me cause I get to laugh at my friends who are preparing for final exams… Haha!

  • High school in the Nigerian system is for 6 years compared to the 4 years here. It’s broken into 2 halves of three levels: Junior Secondary School (JSS1, 2 and 3) and Senior Secondary School (SS1, 2 and 3). I was clueless to the meaning of words like “sophomore” and “freshman” etc because you will NEVER here those terms used in Nigerian institutions.
  • Instead of using Grades to describe our levels, we use years. Allow me to illustrate:
If Simbi says “I’m in my 1st year”or “I’m in JSS1”, this is equivalent to “I’m a freshman”

  • West African Exam Council (WAEC )and National Examination Council (NECO) are the equivalents to the SATs, ACTs and APs/IBs. These exams literally determine your future regarding college acceptances. Oh and no one actually uses the word “college” in Nigeria; it’s XXXXX University. I had a hard time understand that colleges were universities only smaller in size when I got here cause it’s was such a foreign term. 
  • When I was in primary school, we had to learn at least one of the 3 main languages in Nigeria (disregarding English) in addition to Nigerian history . These languages are Hausa, Yoruba and Hausa. I learnt Yoruba but I honestly don’t remember any of it.
  • Speaking of primary school, the different levels go like this. There’s Nusery school which is like Pre-K, Kindergarten etc, Primary school is from year 1-6 then we have secondary school like I previously talked about. The terms lower school, middle school and high school aren’t common…At all.

These are the main differences I observed (or at least I can remember) so far between the Nigerian and American schooling system. I get the question a lot if the systems are different and I say YES! They’re very different so there were lots of things to adapt to when I first started schooling in the States. I’ll say having experienced both systems has shaped me into a better rounded individual and I’m glad I’m able to share these various observations with you…

Follow me on Instagram @miss_laja and Pinterest @misslaja


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