The teaching methods Seyram Adorka became accustomed to as a child in Lesotho made American schools seem easy. In high school, Seyram realized the American style of teaching also might be more interesting.

Seyram Adorka
University of Florida

I moved to the United States from Lesotho, Southern Africa when I was 13. After all the fantastic stories I had heard about American schools, I was scared to death of what going to school in the US would be like. Though I had been in the middle of my tenth grade year before I moved, advisors at my new American high school pushed me back a year to 9th grade since they maintained I was too young and I needed to acclimate to the American school system. This made me even more nervous. By the seond week of school, I realized there was no reason for any anxiety. The American school system was far easier than what I was used to. The class load was lighter, the expectations were lower, and teaching methods were very different.
School in Lesotho is fashioned after the British system. Students are expected to take what seemed like every course under the sun, including bookeeping and accounting, chemistry, biology, physics, foreign language, English literature, and computer sciences. There was also math, history, English grammar, and English summary writing. All these courses were taken in a block-schedule format throughout semester. Almost all the courses were required each year of high school. In the States, I took integrated science instead of all three sciences, French, geometry, American history, and basic English. I breezed through these classes for the first two years because I was already familar with the material. It was not until I enrolled in advanced placement classes during my junior year, that I became challenged and engrossed in my classes.
Even advanced classes were easy to cope with because the teaching methods in America were a lot more lenient than In Africa. Teaching in Lesotho was a comparatively dry, straight-forward method of teaching. The teacher would lecture, illustrate on the board, and give tests. There were no powerpoint slides, no hand-outs, and definitely no movies. The culture put a lot of emphasis on academic excellence, consequently students were expected to read and understand their text book, do their homework, and ace tests. There are no presentation assignments, no curves, no late work is accepted, and there most certainly is no extra credit. The fact that I was already used to a more demanding style of education helped me do better in an American school. All of a sudden, school was not a chore. Rather, it was fun.
I always look back on my years as a student in Lesotho with fondness because I realize those years of discipline, high academic expectations, and old-fashioned teaching instilled a strong sense of the value of education in me. I am now a scholar my teachers, friends, family, and I can be proud of.

The high expectations faced as a student in Lesotho meant Seyram was well-prepared to succeed as an American student. Studying in another country can allow you to understand the different types of teaching methods used around the world.