Daufuskie Island may only be 14 miles from Georgia’s popular major city and tourist destination of Savannah – but the island knows a completely different way of life.
Horseback riding, bottlenose dolphin sightings, and old schoolhouses that remember the past and lazily keep up with the present await the visitors who come to this little slice of timeless relaxation.
Dense with pines and only eight square miles wide, the island is home to only 400 people. About a quarter of them are the Gullah people – descendants of the African slaves who were brought to work the Low Country plantations, which had their own unique modus operandi.
The intimate community moves at the kind of slow pace where stoplights have been deemed entirely unnecessary, and are entirely absent. And apparently, so are hospitals – the island has none, though the mainland isn’t too far away to reach if there’s a real emergency (though who is in charge of deciding that, we’re still unsure. It seems to be working out…)
Many of the local Gullah community have commandeered what tourism does reach the island, such as Sallie Ann Robinson, and tour guide who takes visitors to the old schoolhouse referenced in Pat Conroy’s enduring autobiographical novel The Water Is Wide, and a cook who authored her own cookbook in her spare time. She also takes visitors into her own car to down bumpy dirt roads to show them restored Gullah shotgun homes, many of which have been transformed into vacation rentals.
In fact, Daufuskie Island has turned a few other historic places into sleeping space: there’s the 1873 Haig Point Lighthouse and the 1910 Strachan Mansion. Late next year, two brand-new cottages standing out against the old change-resistant island architecture will open at Haig Point, a golf community for the locals. Alongside it will be Daufuskie’s fourth restaurant, though it’s yet to be named, to join the existing favorites like Old Daufuskie Crab Company, a seafood joint loved for its deviled crab.
The beaches and local activities have vacation written all over them – so don’t miss out.
The world is a very diverse place and full of strange things. While one thing may be normal for you, it can be very strange to someone else. That’s how non-Americans feel about some things that happen in American schools. Let’s take a look at some of the things that non-Americans noticed about American schools that they found rather confusing and strange.
Early Morning Classes
This one is a bit hard to believe for most people living in other countries — the fact that American schools make their students come to school that early in the morning. Non-Americans can’t wrap their heads around how a student can possibly learn anything after waking up at such a time!
While waking up early is considered a good thing, most people living in different places prefer and are used to going to school much later.
What’s a Hall Pass?
American schools have a thing called a hall pass, where you get to walk in the halls with permission from the school authorities. Most schools in other countries don’t really have this sort of practice, which is why it seems so odd to non-American people.
It’s very alien to most people that American school students are required to have hall passes to walk in the hallways of their schools. What a strange thing!
A Locker Would Be Nice
In American sitcoms, we all see that American high schools have lockers where students can store their belongings. These lockers are also pretty spacious and secure enough to put your valuables in. Surprisingly, it doesn’t only exist in movies but also in almost every American school!
Most countries don’t offer such a facility to the students. It’d be nice to have such a locker in all schools, wouldn’t it?
Strange School Years
The naming system for school years in America is pretty different from the rest of the world. While the rest of the world follows numbers like ninth and tenth grade, Americans are here calling them freshman year and sophomore year.
This can get pretty confusing for most people not living in America or just coming to America for the first time. Don’t fret, though. Americans do still refer to the school years as numbers, too.
Pledge of Allegiance
This one doesn’t seem too alien to most people as many other countries also make their students sing their national anthem while looking at their national flag.
However, it’s not common in every country, so it may seem strange for foreigners to see Americans stare at their national flag and recite the pledge of allegiance.
Wait, You Guys Have Cafeterias?
Many times in movies, we see American schools that have really large cafeterias with lots of tables and seats for the students to sit at while they eat their lunch. However, we can confirm that these lunchrooms aren’t something that’s made up in Hollywood.
In fact, cafeterias are very much a real thing in American schools. Students get to sit together in the cafeteria during lunchtime and have their food there.
Horrific Flashbacks of School Lunch
It feels very astonishing to non-Americans that in American public schools, the students are made to eat these lunches. Most students in the states that attended public schools associate bad memories with such lunch options. And honestly, we can see why.
There’s really nothing about these lunch trays that screams appetizing — other than the chocolate milk, of course. These poor kids…
Mini Milk Cartons
Milk is a nutritional food item that should be consumed by children to support their growing bones. This is why American schools choose to add a carton of milk to the lunches. It’s pretty common to get a carton of cow’s milk with your cafeteria lunch.
Unlike America, most other countries don’t offer such a thing in their lunches. Instead, you have to buy your milk if you want to drink it at lunch.
Beginning of American Academic Year
Most schools in America and a bunch of other countries in the northern hemisphere start in September, while the schools in countries of the southern hemisphere start around January or February.
While this isn’t too strange for most of the countries in the northern hemisphere, it certainly is very alien to the countries situated in the southern hemisphere. Recently, it has been rescheduled to August or even late July.
School Starts in August
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s a thing of the northern hemisphere. Generally, school starts in September, but recently it was brought to August. To some people, this might seem like too much of a preponing, but to some, it may feel pretty late into the year.
Starting school in August seems too early as it’s still summertime. Who likes going to school in the summer? Answer — no one!
Cute Little Water Fountain
Not all, but certainly some schools in America definitely do have those cute water fountains for students. It’s not so common in schools located in other countries so it can be very delightful for a foreigner to see such a little driinking fountain.
We’ve seen these fountains in films so it makes sense as to why so many people wonder whether or not they’re real. Well, they are.
Multiple Choice Questions
Generally, most of the exams that take place in American schools are multiple-choice questions. You have questions that have four or five options to choose from, when only one of them is the right answer.
In most schools in other countries, you are required to write long detailed answers. However, that’s rarely the case for American students, as they have the MCQs. Not sure how to feel about that, though.
Show Me Your Hall Pass!
Not all American schools require this but many do, yes. There are certain amusing things about American schools that are very different from the rest of the world. For example, their hall passes and their bathroom pass system.
In most American schools, students need to have a physical pass to be walking in the hallways or going to the bathroom. You don’t see that happening in most schools around the world.
We cannot confirm or deny whether this is applicable in real life or not. However, we can surely let you know that the sort of rivalry we see in movies and shows is definitely not real.
The rivalry you might see in real life is much less prominent than in films. After all, movies don’t always depict reality in an accurate way.
The Morning School Bus Ride
Most public schools and some private schools do send buses to the students’ houses to pick them up in the morning. While some students dread waking up in the morning to catch the bus to school, most non-Americans dream of getting onto those yellow school buses to ride to school every morning.
Although many schools outside America do have school buses, the iconic yellow school bus is definitely a trademark of America.
Swimming Pools in Schools
Some schools in America do have swimming pools to teach children how to swim. Many public schools and some private schools have swimming pools for physical education purposes as well as for competitions and sporting events.
This may be something that you see in some European countries and other places as well, but it’s mostly seen in American high schools — especially in movies.
The School Parking Lots
Not all, but some American schools do have their own parking lots to allow the students and/or their guardians to park their cars after coming to school or dropping their children off at school.
These parking lots are usually spacious enough to accommodate a pretty large number of cars. This may be surprising to most non-Americans, but in America, it’s pretty common to see a parking lot in front of the school.
Why Aren’t There Any Windows?
Many times, you’ll notice that in American schools, there are fewer windows in the buildings compared to a lot of schools in other countries. While we cannot confirm the reason for such an architectural design, we do agree with the fact that it looks a lot like prison blocks.
Many schools in other countries, especially Asia, have lots of windows to let in light and air into the classrooms. So, this is a pretty weird thing about American schools.
The Show Must Go On!
Don’t really know about the clubs, but American schools definitely do have a lot of drama going on in every corner. All jokes aside, it’s not true entirely that American schools have drama clubs that host shows all day.
While they do have the club or department and most American schools have a theater of their own, they do not host shows all day, every day. However, they do occasionally.
A Fishing Club?
American schools most certainly do have clubs for a lot of extra-curricular activities. That doesn’t mean that they have clubs for absolutely everything. Having clubs such as a debate team or drama club is actually pretty normal — if you ask us.
As for a fishing club, yes, some schools actually do have that club. They teach you how to properly fish and hold fishing events as well. Sign us up for the fishing club, please!
Nurse! Get the Ice Pack!
Many schools do actually have a school nurse who’s always prepared for the kinds of accidents that may occur inside a school. We commonly see this in movies and shows, but it’s very much a thing in most — if not all — American schools.
There’s a meme about this in which school nurses are said to fix any issue with an ice pack. While that’s kind of funny, the fact that these schools even have nurses just puts them on another level!
The Principal’s Announcement
This one is pretty bizarre, to be honest, as this is something that you only see happening in movies. Principals might at best make an announcement through the school mic, but that’s about it.
Some movies and TV shows depict the principals to be highly tech-savvy — using TV broadcasts while making announcements — but that’s far from reality. Yes, it’s a movie thing. At least most of the time.
Toss a Coin to Your School Vending Machine
Though it’s not a common scenario, some American schools do have vending machines. However, it’s not as prominent or as common a sight in schools. You will not see vending machines in every corner of the school.
Some vending machines might be present in the school cafeteria, where kids can buy certain snacks or soda, in case they don’t want to have cafeteria lunch. We think that’s pretty cool!
Rope Climbing in PE
Yes, sometimes they do. American schools take exercise very seriously and encourage students to participate in different kinds of sports. This is why you’ll see many American schools pushing their students to do rope climbing and various athletic activities.
So, if you see a student from an American school not struggling when climbing a rope, don’t be surprised — they probably learned it in a physical education class.
It’s a common occurrence for American students to get snow days when the weather is too extreme. And although that makes some sense, these students are luckier than others from different countries as they don’t get the same privilege.
In other countries that snow, students still have to go to school — whereas American students can relax at home in front of a fireplace while sipping hot cocoa with marshmallows.
The Love for Lacrosse
Maybe not all, but many American schools do have lacrosse teams. As we previously mentioned, American schools take sports very seriously, and one of the most commonly played sports in America is lacrosse.
So, it’s kind of obvious that they would have lacrosse teams in schools across the country. Not only do schools compete against each other, but there are even tournaments held! How fun is that?!
The Popularity Dilemma
There’s a stigma around popular kids in American schools being very egoistical and terribly mean to the so-called nerds and new kids in school. It can be seen played out this way in a lot of schools, but we think this is something that happens everywhere.
Movies and shows have made this such a big deal that new students are afraid that they won’t get along with the other kids.
Anti-Maskers at Their Finest
Now, this is something we don’t understand either. There’s a serious pandemic going on in which people are suffering every day. We’re all told to wear a mask in public and maintain social distancing, yet many American schools haven’t made masks compulsory for students.
As for making girls cover their shoulders, we’re really at a loss for words because of how ridiculous that rule is.
When it comes to American schools, school timetables change pretty consistently. Many times, it’s seen that these schools change the schedule of students pretty much every year.
This is different from most other non-American schools, as they barely ever make such drastic changes in the school schedule. Honestly, we think it’s pretty tough on American students as their routine has to change so frequently.
My Classmate Is My Tutor
American school students have a thing in which they tutor each other in different subjects. It’s strange to non-Americans because, in a lot of places, you can hire a private tutor to teach you outside of school.
While many students study amongst themselves, in America, students sometimes teach a fellow classmate and take money for it. You know what they say — if you’re good at something, never do it for free!
This one is something very discriminatory of American schools to do. The grouping and dividing of students based on their academic, sports, or artistic performance creates a sense of superiority in the A-list students and an inferiority complex in students who don’t make it on the top list.
Strange how this is hardly seen in a lot of other countries. This sort of discrimination can be really harmful to a student’s self-confidence.
Boring Field Trips
Outings and field trips are supposed to be fun and interesting. Unlike most countries, schools in America host field trips and take their students to more educational places like museums, historical sites, and other places of this sort.
While it can be interesting to some, to most students, it’s almost always a really boring experience. How can a field trip be fun if you go to a museum?
Why Do I Gotta Weigh Myself in Public?
So many people are self-conscious about their weight and thus, try to hide their weight from everyone. Then, there are American schools that make kids weigh themselves in front of the class and announce the number in public — like it’s not at all sensitive information.
Honestly, it’s very sad that students have to go through something like this. It’s rarely seen that other countries make their students measure their weight in front of everyone.
Confusing School Years
As we mentioned earlier, American school years can get very confusing to non-Americans. While the rest of the world follows a numbering system for the grade years, Americans have an additional system for high school and college.
Junior year is basically what the rest of the world would call the third year of high school — or 11th grade. We’re not surprised that people get confused by this system, because even we do at times.
Lots of Classes in One Day
In American schools, students are required to attend a lot of classes in a single day — eight classes per day, to be more specific. While the rest of the world makes students attend only a handful of classes so that they learn the subjects better, American schools tend to cram seven to eight classes in a span of one day.
This results in students being too stressed to learn anything properly, but who’s going to tell these schools to slow down?
What’s Wrong With These Grades?
Here we are again in which someone’s confused about the system that American schools use. It’s not at all surprising how non-Americans get confused by this system, as it’s a bit different from the rest of the world.
However, we don’t understand why someone would get confused about eighth grade, as this one is in numerical form and shouldn’t be that confusing or strange to someone living outside the US.
American schools have a habit of stereotyping a lot of things that are not from the US. They treat many other countries and civilizations as if they’re some make-believe land.
For example, in this tweet, we can see American schools treating Egypt like a mythological land from the movie Indiana Jones as opposed to an actual place. Man, these kids need to travel the world more…
Ben Franklin: The Inventor of Electricity
This is a very weird thing to say, because Benjamin Franklin did indeed invent electricity. We’re not quite sure why this person said it like that, but as far as we know, Benjamin Franklin is the inventor of electricity.
Although many people think the American education system feeds their students inaccurate information, this fact is not at all wrong. We’re not quite sure why this is something you would disbelieve.
Online Pledge of Allegiance
American schools can be pretty unusual sometimes and can make their students do some whacky things. During quarantine, many schools are holding online classes so that the students don’t fall behind too much.
All that is fine, but making them recite the pledge of allegiance in online classes is a bit of a stretch. Just part of all the crazy things that American schools make you do!
While some schools and teachers do require a certain word count for assignments, this Twitter user isn’t necessarily wrong. There are teachers — or college professors, at least — that do assign essays or papers with a certain page count requirement.
We don’t know why that is. It just is. In fact, up until now, we saw nothing wrong with this method. But, since Tash is pointing it out, perhaps there’s a flaw in the system?
We can understand why non-Americans find it confusing that we refer to a class of students as freshman or sophomores (and so on) but it’s what we Americans have grown up with so let us explain the origin. The word “freshman” dates back to the mid-16th century in which it meant either “newcomer” or “novice.”
With that in mind, doesn’t it make more sense that we Americans call the ninth grade class — as well as first-year college students — freshman? No? Oh well, we tried.
One Step at a Time
We have to admit that up until we scrolled through this list of questions about American schools, we were under the impression that we lived pretty normal lives growing up.
Apparently, though, that is not the case. Take math class, for instance. Doesn’t it make sense that you’d split up the different areas of math including algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus? Wouldn’t it be overwhelming to learn that all at once?
Homecoming King & Queen
While American schools don’t have dances and balls literally every other week, as this Twitter user claims, homecoming and prom are two very common traditions when it comes to American culture.
In high school, all four grades are permitted to attend the homecoming dance, which usually occurs earlier in the year. In most schools, though, only the junior and senior classes are invited to attend the prom — which typically takes place later in the year around graduation time.
Senior Skip Day
This one made us giggle quite a bit. This Twitter user does have a point. And as cool as it would be for teenage kids to have this much freedom, that’s usually not the way it goes. Believe it or not, these television shows and films glorify what it’s actually like to live life as an American teenager.
While it’s known that seniors have a bit more leeway in terms of what they can get away with, in general, you can’t just come and go as you please. Your parents will still get notified and you may even get in trouble with the school.
Everything Is Bigger in the USA
Just like everything else in America, public schools are typically quite big. Perhaps that’s why we have the luxury of separate classrooms for each class subject. In any case, while class numbers do range, the average number of students in a single grade is a little over 500.
With that in mind, you can imagine how long the graduation ceremony would take just for one senior class. And @lovebotluke, you got that right — college life is super fun!
Private or Preparatory School
Aside from government-funded public schools, parents also have the option to send their kids to private schools. Unlike public schools, though, parents and/or guardians are required to pay out-of-pocket for tuition as well as other costs. This can include uniforms, textbooks, laptops, and more.
Why? Because they’re not administered by local, state, or national governments. What’s more, in many instances, the kid(s) actually has to apply and get accepted to the school before attending.
I Do Not Envy You
This isn’t so much a question as it is a statement — and an accurate one at that. Twitter user Percy Hype Man is both fascinated and terrified by the American schooling system.
While many of us don’t know anything else, as we grew up with this very system, we’re beginning to realize (thanks to these Twitter users) there may be a few places that need fixing when it comes to the education system in the United States.
Alright, don’t misunderstand us — we agree with many of the posters that made this list. There are certain methods we Americans use that just don’t make sense. But, letter grades? Come on.
We certainly can’t be the only country to follow this grading system. How does this ‘zero to ten’ scale work? And really, how is it easier to use? A, B, C, D, F is pretty self-explanatory. Are we totally wrong here?
Do the Wave!
This post isn’t necessarily from a non-American’s point-of-view but due to the fact that this Twitter user is referring to a weird school tradition in America, we only thought it would be fair to include it in this list.
While pep rallies can be fun and get the students riled up for an exciting event or sports game, we can understand how strange it would look to a foreigner or non-American to see a bunch of kids screaming, chanting, and dancing around with the school mascot.
Strange PE Practices
You probably won’t see any school in a different country make you do crazy things like this. In our opinion, this is a rather fun way of avoiding having to run, but you still end up getting a lot of physical activity.
However, building a human pyramid is very hard and can be way more dangerous than running. We would probably choose running over forming a human pyramid and toppling over.
You Guys Are Buying Yo-Yos?
This one definitely goes over the heads of non-Americans as you wouldn’t ever see yo-yos being sold on a school campus. However, this is America — land of the free, home of the brave!
Back when yo-yos became a thing and everyone was trying to pull off cool tricks, American schools would hold presentations of such tricks and let kids participate in them as a form of extra-curricular activities.
Let’s Go Bowling!
Hey, at least you got to compensate with something right? As American schools have a bunch of different clubs and classes to take, sometimes they’ll assign you a very random course you have to take in order to meet all the required credits for that semester.
Bowling class doesn’t sound too bad, though. We would totally want to learn bowling at school and get to play for free!
Different Lunch Periods
One thing that most non-Americans get very surprised knowing is that American schools have different lunch periods for different grades. Everyone does not have lunch together, but rather in their own lunch periods.
This actually seems like a club activity to some people and very weird to others. We understand why there need to be separate lunch periods for different grades, as this can help avoid large crowds in the cafeteria.
Summary of the School System in America
Well, to sum it up, this is exactly what non-Americans — and to our surprise — even Americans would say about the American education system. It’s just straight-up weird and can be quite confusing at times.
The rest of the world struggles to understand their school system while Americans mostly complain about it and dread it. However, most people have accepted the fact that it is what it is. You just have to deal with it.