Essay by brandon096High School, 11th gradeA, April 2003

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Germany, located in Europe, with a landmass of 139,412 square miles, the fourth largest country in Europe, and a population of 82 million, is a fast growing and strong economical force in Europe. Germany is divided into two parts. East Germany, common name of a former republic of central Europe, bordered on the north by the Baltic Sea, on the east by Poland, on the south by the Czech Republic, and on the south and west by the former West Germany. And there is West Germany, common name of a former republic of central Europe, bordered on the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, on the east by the former East Germany and the Czech Republic, on the south by Austria and Switzerland, and on the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands. While the main language in Germany is German, most people also know another if not several other languages.

Germany has a three-track system that begins with four years of Grundschule (or primary school), attended by all children between the ages of six and nine. A child's further educational program is determined during two orientation grades attended by children from ages ten to eleven. Those who are university-bound then enter a track of secondary education by attending a highly competitive, academic Gymnasium (or junior and senior high school). Many Gymnasium students leave school at age 16 to start out a new business career. Others graduate at age 19 after passing a weeklong examination called the Abitur. If they pass, they receive a certificate, which is a necessity for entering a university. In Germany, it is not necessary to pay to continue your education after you graduate from the Gymnasium. German children are required to go to school from ages 6-15.