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Due to personal reasons, yesterday I had to leave two hours earlier from my French course. Today I looked at the others and the teacher as if they were talking another language. They were, but that`s not the point. I had no idea what they were talking about as most of what we learn is done in the last two hours (out of four).

But, through a very carefully constructed exercise, I was able to get back on track. We did a group exercise. Four people in each group, each of them telling the others what their country is like in terms of time and space (aka school time and vacation, work time, open time in stores etc.).

From what I got, here is what I can share:

in Taiwan, the school year starts in April (with final exams in March). A kid starts school when he is 3-4 years old. This is based on the time when they start learning the alphabet and writing. Students have only a month and a half of vacation: one month in the summer, one week at the end of March and one for Christmas and the New Year.

in Russia, school is almost the same as in Romania. The exception is that they have only 10 years of school, after that taking their Baccalaureate and heading of to universities or work. The week-end days depend on which confession is majority in the region: for the Christian majority Saturday and Sunday are days off. For the muslim majority (south of Russia mainly), the days off are Friday and Sunday.

in Iraq, school starts at 7 with the new school year starting in April (if I understood correctly). Fridays and Saturdays are days off and they have about 3 months of vacation year round.

in Romania, we start school at 6-7 years, study for 12 before heading out to universities, trade schools or work.

What the first three have in common is that school takes place only in the morning (8 to 13 or 7 to 12 etc.). In Romania, we learn in shifts (7/8/9 to 13, 13/14 to 18/19), possibly because we are so eager to learn…or perhaps there are not enough schools.

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