Notes from Abroad by Tabatha Pilon in Denmark – Report Card in a Foreign Land – November 28, 2011

CFN –  For most people, school is already a challenge. The pressure to do well: in order to get into a good college, in order to get a good job, in order to be able to support your future family, in order to live a healthy life.   As the end of November is quickly approaching, most students are just receiving or have already received their report cards, so they are quite aware of how well they are doing in their classes. This has always been an exciting part of school: seeing how well all your hard work is paying off.And even though there are a lot of people who have been surprised with the arrival of their report card, whether it be for the good or for the bad, it will never compare to the feeling of failing a class.   I never thought that there would come a day where I would fail a class.  School has always  been an easy thing for me. Something that has just come naturally, even though some of the subjects weren’t the greatest, I have never ever failed a class before.

But I can’t say that I didn’t expect to fail this year. I actually had expectations that I would fail all of my classes, so it wasn’t that big of a surprise. But, imagine my surprise when I find out that I am actually passing 3 of my 11 classes for this term. Albeit, those three grades aren’t the best, but they are passing!
The grading system in Denmark is very different from the way Canada grades. Your mark is based out of a scale of -3 to 12 where 12 is the highest.    The three classes that I have managed to pass are: English with a 10 French with a 2  and Art with a 7.
Although not too bad, not the type of grades I’m used to! Except for the English one, but that was a given since that is the only class in my timetable taught in English.  It’s a challenging thing, coming to school everyday to learn lessons that are in a foreign language. And as each day passes, I feel as though I am learning more words in this tricky language!
There will be times where I am sitting at my desk, listening to the teacher, and I will a few words that I know and it will be so exciting!  Reading and writing in Danish is a much easier thing to do than listening to it!   With the help of my family, I am finding that I seem to be finally understanding more things, and am becoming more confident in speaking in this language.   As one term draws to an end, I can begin to look forward to beginning the new term with a fresh start and start bringing all my grades up as I begin to understand what is actually being taught in all these classes!   As is usually the hope with all students, but even more so for us exchange students. 🙂
Tabatha Pilon is a 17 year old student from Cornwall Ontario spending a year in Denmark.   She will be writing to us  each week or as her “gymnasium” schedule allows.  If you have questions for her or would like to sponsor her column email us at

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