Tell us yours and we'll add it to this world story!
29 Jan 2014 - 4:44 PM  UPDATED 30 Jan 2014 - 11:43 AM

Back to school is an important time of year - even though you might groan about it - when you get there, it really isn't all that bad. Especially seeing your friends all together again!

Here are some back to school traditions from around the world. Do you have one? Let us know (tweet/facebook/comment) and we'll add it to the story!


Hong Kong

Pupils in Hong Kong face a tough schedule! On their first day back at school in the beginning of September, public transportation companies put on more services and start the rush hour earlier in the morning. So you get to school quicker… YES!


French schools enjoy among the shortest academic years anywhere in the world;  even when they get back to school, their days are considerably less taxing, with two hours given for lunch every day – I repeat – 2HOURS! They also get Wednesdays off! But they do have to do a half-day for pupils at school on Saturday. I wonder when they play sport?



Brazilian pupils go back to school in February – like us in Australia! The rush to purchase supplies for the start of the new school year has been known to cause huge inflation at that time of the year, with prices rising by as much as 500% for classroom essentials. I'd be stocking up on set-squares in July if I were there!



The Japanese have a lot to prepare for, as school children they enjoy—or perhaps endure—what is said to be the longest school year anywhere in the world, clocking up almost 250 days from their arrival for their first day in April before ending the following March, with short breaks for summer, winter and spring.

On the first day back at school, pupils in Japan pack their own bag, or “randoseru”. However, their school supplies are somewhat different from what may be expected elsewhere, as they usually pack origami paper, slippers and even weeding tools. It will also include their first packed lunch of the year: typically rice with seaweed sauce and quail eggs, a tradition believed to bring good luck.

I wonder if this was taken on AKB48's first day?



Russians start their school year on September 1, the day which they also mark as “Knowledge and Skills Day”. Just like the Kazakhs, Russian youngsters bring flowers for their teachers, but unlike most of the world, the new academic year brings very few new surprises. After all, Russian pupils stay in the same classes with the same group of classmates all the way from first grade to tenth grade. So if you’re the class clown, you best not be coming back with the same material again!



Being prepared for the new academic year is always important in Germany, where youngsters arrive on their first day at school carrying a large Schultüten, or “school cone.” These beautifully decorated conical containers are filled to the brim with classroom essentials including school supplies, toys and most importantly – candies! Parents buy these for their little ones in the summer, and then give them to their kids for their first day – maybe that’s how they bribe a family photo out of their children?



In Kazakhstan, meanwhile, youngsters are also given a special bag containing candy, pencils and even candles. But it is not just the pupils who get something to mark the occasion; the youngsters each bring a flower for their teacher. On the first day of school, every classroom tends to resemble a florist’s window.


North Korea

In North Korea pupils arrive for their first day at school aged five, and stay for 11 years, during which time they must wear government-regulation uniforms as well as regularly study “Communist Morality” and the policies of the ruling party and its governing ideology. Their social education classes are carefully planned and controlled ensuring pupils are not exposed to dangerous or negative influences. No candy for North Korean kids!



What’s your tradition? Tell us and we’ll add it to this story!