Swedish Language Blog

When do you decide what you want to become? Posted by on Nov 9, 2010 in Culture

Well, in Sweden you aren’t really forced to even think about what profession you want until the the beginning of third  year of junior high school. But you really only have to consider what type of high school program you want to apply to. If you don’t want to think about that or can’t decide then there is no real pressure. You just enter high school (gymnasiet) and chose classes you think are fun.

There are a lot of students that go through all of high school and have no clue what they want to do afterwards. But they aren’t forced to choose, they can graduate and apply for lots of different jobs, or apply to university and lots of Swedish high school graduates want to travel after graduating. So they work for a couple of months in places like Norway in places like fish factories. The pay is much better though these young people are away from their families and if they have gone alone then from their friends too. The work is in no way anything people come back from wanting to do more of. But the pay is good and they can then finance living by themselves for a while or living/traveling abroad.

To use Japan as an example; japanese children’s futures can depend on what schools their parents send them to, and later when applying for jobs it is custom to write what schools you have attended as merits.

Swedish parents usually (almost always) send their children to the closest school unless it has a bad reputation. Meaning that the name of the school very rarely holds any privilege or advantage (fördel).

To continuing using Japan as an example; japanese students in the prestigious schools have to choose (or start thinking about/aiming for) a certain university in the first year of high school (second term of three) (andra terminen av tre). Whilst swedish high school students might not even know if the want to go to university or not a couple of months before graduation.

In your country/culture are school names’  important? When is do young people have to have decided what they want to do with their future?

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  1. goran:

    hey katja, your english is embarrassing.

  2. Nikki:

    England is pretty much exactly the same as Sweden. We start thinking about what we want to do in year 9 – ages 13-14.

  3. Alyda:

    Over here in Canada, some people don’t even know if they want to go to University at their time of graduation. I waited for 2 years before going to University. But I think most people start thinking about University around grade 9 or 10.

    I’m in my first year of Uni, and I’m still not sure what I want to be. I just take classes that interest me.

  4. Cecile:

    I think it’s somewhat similar in the US. while what school you choose to go to, what we call, high school isn’t as important a determination for getting into college, what you do with yourself in that time in high school does. So while you don’t have to worry about your high school being prestigious, you do have to start worrying about scoring high on standardized tests, getting high grades and extra curricular activities that will boost your chances of getting into a good university. I would say optimally, you need to start thinking about that around age 14 or 15. If you don’t care about what university you want to go to, then it doesn’t matter as much how well you do in high school I suppose.