A Quick Observation and a Question

Just a quick observation and a couple questions…

A few nights ago I was chatting with a new Facebook Friend from Argentina about the need for a car (or lack thereof) and the age at which kids can get their driver’s license in our respective countries. If I remember correctly, 17 is the minimum age in Argentina. In the U.S. it’s 16.

As we chatted, I started thinking about the many, many students who drive – or are driven – to school in the U.S.

Cars and schools go together like peanut butter and jelly in the majority of the U.S. There’s a student parking lot at most high schools, and students can often take driver’s education classes at school. It’s a big deal to pass your driver’s test on your 16th birthday and then be able to drive yourself to school. (Big generalizaitons, I know. But still fairly typical for most parts of the U.S.)

And, what I notice now in the U.S. are the numerous new schools being built where it’s impossible for kids to walk or ride their bike to school, even if they wanted to (unless the school – typically an elementary school – is built in a planned community). In these cases, students are absolutely dependent on the school bus or a car to get to school.

The U.S. is a car culture. The majority of our communities just aren’t set up for walking or bike riding (I sure wish they were, though!). But I wonder if much higher gas prices in the U.S. have changed driving-to-school habits in the past couple years.

Anyway, I got to wondering about kids in other countries and how they typically get to school:

  • How many students walk to school?
  • What’s considered a reasonable distance to walk?
  • Is a school bus provided for students who live far from school? Who pays for it?
  • How common is it for parents to drive and pick up their kids from school?
  • How many high school students drive to school?

What it’s like where you live?

About the Author: Cate Brubaker

Dr. Cate Brubaker is a re-entry/repatriation coach, consultant, and author of the Re-Entry Roadmap creative workbook and the Study Abroad Re-entry Toolkit. Cate has lived in Germany, worked and traveled in 36 countries on four continents, and has helped all kinds of globetrotters successfully navigate global transitions for over 20 years.

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