In Germany, the school system is quite different than in the US. One of the main differences is that not everyone completes the same amount of schooling. For example, some people stop at grade 9 and then begin technical school. While others, continue to grade 13 and then study at a university. This a very basic overview of the system, it’s a bit more complicated than that. If you would like to read more about the German education system, here’s an article.
I am at a Comprehensive School (Gesamtschule). At my school, students have the option of completing their Abitur, which is a requirement for studying at a university. These students complete 13 years of school and take strenuous tests. At the end of it all, they have a celebration: Abi-Ball. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend and experience it. I thought it would be just dance type event, however I was quite wrong.
It was basically graduation, talent show and prom all together in one evening. Everyone dressed up in cocktail attire, but the “graduates” were the most dressed up out of everyone. It was neat to see the students all snazzy in their evening attire. The theme of the evening was “Abi-Potter: Voll der Mord” so it was was a Harry Potter theme. I’m not quite sure the exact translation because the literal translation doesn’t make much sense, but I’m sure it has something to do with Harry Potter. The students did a wonderful job of decorating. Of course, I didn’t understand some of the references because I haven’t read the books. However, I have seen some of the movies. I know, I am way behind the times but it just never interested me much.
There were two parts of the evening: official and unofficial. To begin, all of the students walked in and sat in their seats. Next, there were several speeches from various people mixed with some musical pieces. At the end of the official part, all the graduates received their report cards, which is basically their diploma. We had an intermission to get food and drink. The crazy part was that alcohol was being served and even the graduates were drinking alcohol. However, this is quite normal because the drinking age is much younger here. Plus, most of the graduates are between 18-20 at this point. Oh, but I did forget to mention the location…inside the school! That’s the even crazier part!
For the unofficial program, there was a movie made by the students along with some skits. This was basically the talent show portion of the evening. By this time, it was already almost midnight. My ride was leaving, so I left too. However, the real party was just getting started aka the prom portion. In true European style, the party went on till early in the morning or so I heard. The whole experience was quite unbelievable for me because it was so long and alcohol was being served. However, it was still great to celebrate the accomplishments of the students.