Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Back-To-School Season

This time of year marks the start of the school year in Colombia. Whereas in the U.S., kids head back in late August or early September, kids here get to complain about going to bed early again towards the middle-to-end of January. What tipped me off to the back-to-school season was the typical ads you see everywhere around that time of year. Here's an example in a shoe-store window (note that it actually says "back to school" in English):

I haven't been able to learn exactly why schools in Colombia start in January. I've heard a couple of different theories (guesses?) but they don't really explain why the schedule is so different than the other countries in the world with which I'm familiar. Overall, the school year is a little longer than in the U.S. and runs from January to November with a three-week June break.

Walking around town, I took a couple of pictures inside papelerias (stationary stores) where people were shopping for school supplies. In this one you can see backpacks, pens, notebooks, and so on:

And this one shows better just how crowded the stores were over the weekend:

I saw lots of kids and parents in the streets walking to school on Monday morning but there were no good photos to share. I'm just glad that I didn't have to go back school this week. To celebrate my good fortune, I'm going to stay up late each night this week!


  1. Let me illustrate you a bit - Actually other countries in South America DO start on January/February, actually Colombians start on early FEBRUARY in some cases ENDING of January who told you start of January is dead wrong. It's called Calendar B and Calendar A classes , Calendar B is Feb through June (break) and then August to November( end of school year) while Calendar A is exactly like US school calendars start in Aug, break/ending on June. (Some schools in Colombia work though this Calendar). So no, we don't do it TOO differently then other countries, other South American countries do it just like Colombians do it. Argentina does it to end of February, break on July and end on November/December. So I think US is the one that does it quite differently at least on the Western side.

  2. Thanks for the comment! I checked with my Colombian connection and she agreed with you that there were two different schedules. :-) It's still interesting for me (who grew up in the U.S.) that kids were starting a new school year in January.

  3. Yeah, I totally understand that :) most south america starts at the beginning of the year, I actually skipped a few grades that way and graduated early..I went half the year to Colombia did half a grade, and then started the next one here on US hehe...

    If you don't mind em asking, how do you make these connection or trips? I'm about to finish my bachelors and I want to backpack around Europe, and blog like you... any ideas where to start? ...

    I really like this blog! I wish it was more popular :P

  4. Thanks for your compliments! Send me an email at the email listed on the blog and I can give you some ideas. Thanks again!


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