The lie behind “High School Musical”

The lie behind “High School Musical”

Ana Haurie Ustaran, Journalism 1 Writer

According to movies like High School Musical, Twilight or Mean Girls, American high school is a place where every athlete is handsome and popular, bullies lock you in your locker and the first day you will be walking in the corridor and you will hit someone, then your things will fall to the ground and while you are taking your things with that person’s help, your hands will touch each other and you’ll look to that person’s eyes and both will fall in love. As an exchange student, this seemed great! I couldn’t wait to come to America! Schools where I live are really boring…and I unfortunately discovered quickly that American schools aren’t quite as exciting as the movies, either.


Yes, you have the cool lockers, but those are almost impossible to open. Yes, you have cheerleaders, but they aren’t mean, they are actually really nice, at least the ones I know. But what I find the saddest is that even though you have a giant cafeteria, you have more than one time for lunch so not everyone is together, AND NOBODY SINGS!


I have to say that I knew that American high schools weren’t like that before I came here, I was joking (mostly).  What it is true is that classes are much better here than in other places. In my country classes are really boring; the only thing most of the teachers use is the book and they don’t use any kind of electronic support. You can’t choose your classes, it is the government who makes you  study most of your subjects until one year before getting into university. The level of study is higher in Spain and the pressure on students is greater. We have to pass an exam to get into any university, and unlike in United States, we don’t ask the university if we can go there. Post secondary education is public in Spain, like healthcare, so you pass that exam or you don’t get to go.


Another difference between American high schools and Spanish high schools is that we don’t move from one room to the other to have other subjects, or at least not usually. We are always with the same people in the same room; it is the teachers who come to the room, not us who go to them.


In Spain, high schools have around thirty students per class and between two and four classes per year. We usually know each other and people from other years because there aren’t a lot of people.


Another thing that we don’t have in Spain is so many sports, clubs and other kinds of extracurricular activities. We don’t have the same spirit about our schools’ teams, and not a lot of people are interested in joining them. Even if they do, they aren’t very popular because being a part of a sports team is not as significant as it is here.


What I find one of the most interesting differences is that we don’t have dances, such as Homecoming, The Winter Formal or Prom. This was one of the things I was most excited about. I went to the Homecoming dance and it was great. I had an excuse to buy a nice dress, wear heels and prepare nice hair and make up. I got ready with my friends in someone’s house, we had dinner and then we went to the dance. I have to say that the dance was awesome, but it was kind of expensive. I mean ten dollars for going to the school on a Saturday night is a lot, even if there’s music, candy and water, and it was just two hours. Even though it was nothing like in the movies, it was still great.


This year I’m learning that yes, there are a lot of difference between our countries, but you know what? It doesn’t matter if you are in Spain or in United States, coming to school a Monday morning is horrible everywhere.