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Freshman is a term commonly used to refer to a person that is in their first year at an educational institution, usually a secondary or post-secondary school. In the US, freshman usually denotes a first year student, whereas in Canada, the word 'frosh' describes a first year student.


Arab countries

In the Gulf Council countries (GCC), a freshman is called Mustajid (مُستجد), which means one who is new to something. Informally a freshman is called a Sanfoor (سنفور), which is the Arabic word for the Smurf.

Australia and New Zealand

The term 'freshman' is not commonly used in Australia or New Zealand. The term first year is used within Australia and New Zealand universities primarily to describe students in their first year of tertiary education direct from secondary school, the exception being the University of Otago where the term 'fresher' is employed. In Australia, Year 7 (eight in South Australia) is the first year of high school education; in New Zealand, Year Nine is the first year of Secondary Education—in contrast to North America, where the ninth grade or "freshman year" is the first year. In New Zealand, year nine students are sometimes referred to as "Turds" as a derogatory reference to the old form system, as year nine was previously known as third form.

The exception to this general norm is the use of the terms 'fResher', 'fReshman', or simply 'fResh' to describe first year residents at the University of Sydney residential colleges.


The first year students who go to university starting their bachelor are called "generatiestudenten" (in Dutch). This is the official way of referring to first-year students. In Dutch-Belgium (officially known as Flanders) students choose to become a member in a 'studentenclub'. In their first year of membership the male students are called 'schachten' and the female students are called 'porren'. They are inferior to other members, and often tasked with all the dirty jobs. This is part of becoming a 'full' member. They keep this title during the entire academic year, until the 'ontgroening', when they become a full member of the club. The Belgian tradition in the north of the country has heavily influenced the French practices, mainly because the largest French university (UCL) was relocalised from the Belgian city of Leuven only in 1968. Of course, the French tradition differs on various points. The correct terminology for first year students aspiring to become a member of a club in French-Belgium is 'bleus'. Some universities may have other names according to their own traditions.


In Brazil, students that pass the vestibulares and begin studying in a college or university are called "calouros" or more informally "bixos" ("bixetes" for girls), an alternate spelling of "bicho", which means "animal". Calouros are often subject to hazing, which is known as "trote" (lit. "prank") there. The first known hazing episode in Brazil happened 1831 at the Law School of Olinda and resulted in the death of a student. In 1999, a Chinese Brazilian calouro of the University of São Paulo Medicine School named Edison Tsung Chi Hsueh was found dead at the institution's swimming pool; this has since become one of the most well known episodes of violent hazing and has received extensive national media coverage since that year.


In Chile, during the first year of University, the student is called "mechon". During the two first week of classes, 2nd students are "mechoneando" 1st students. They take their shoes and "mechones" have to collect money to get it back.


In Colombia, during the first year of University, the student is called "Primíparo".


At Danish universities, first year students are called "russer" (singular "rus"). The term is believed to be an abbreviation of the Latin "depositurus", which means "the man, who is about to give way". The term can be used both affectionately or derogatorily. The first year students are introduced to their respective institutes and subjects through activities held by older students. These activities are called "rusture" (singular "rustur") and the older students are called "rusvejledere" (lit. first year student tutor). These activities usually last a few days, up to a week in some cases, usually just days before the first lecture. While the term "rus" nor "rustur" have official status, the term "rusvejleder" usually does, as some faculties educate them for next year's new students.

At some Danish secondary education institutions (gymnasium), first year pupils are called "putter" (singular "put" or "putte"). This is not an official title, but it's a tradition among pupils in gymnasium to call the first year pupils this. It is in some cases used affectionately or derogatorily. The first year pupils, however, often identify themselves as "putter". First year of gymnasium is also sometimes called "putår" (lit. put year).

England and Wales

The term 'freshman' is not used in the UK, although first-year university students are referred to as "freshers" particularly in the first few weeks of their first term. The term first year is commonly still used in the pre-University and college English education system, either as the first year in primary and secondary education. In England and Wales a student's school career (not including pre-school nursery education) now begins with Reception, usually at the age of four, and continues up to either Year 11 or Year 13 depending on whether the student is going on to further education. Before the introduction of the "Year [number]" in most secondary schools in September 1990, the first year or first form almost always referred to the first year of secondary education. Years 12 and 13 are known as Sixth Form or "lower sixth" and "upper sixth" respectively.


In Estonia the freshmen are called rebased (sing. rebane; "foxes") in both high schools and universities. The term derives from the Baltic German and more distantly from German student corps of the 19th century, where young members are also still called "foxes". In universities, the term esmakursuslane (pl. esmakursuslased; "first-course") is also used.


In French most public universities, freshmen are called "premières années" (meaning first year) There is no direct equivalent in French for the terms 'freshman', 'sophomore', 'junior' or 'senior'. In French some public universities, private schools (business schools, engineer school...), freshmen are called Bizuth. Until the 90's, at the beginning of the year, in most schools, the first week or month was called "bizutage". Older students (especially 2nd year students) were bullying all Bizuths. In French high schools, the first year is called "seconde" and is the equivalent of the sophomore year. The French equivalent of the freshman year is "troisième", in middle school.


At German high schools (Gymnasium), students in the initial fifth form (formerly "Sexta" in the old Latin numbering system, which counted backwards) were traditionally called "Sextaner" formerly. At German universities, freshers are called "Erstis" (abbreviation for" Erstsemester" (first semester). They are also the target group of fraternities (Studentenverbindungen, Burschenschaften) looking for new members; the minute percentage of students who do join one, are then called "Füchse" (literally "foxes", singular "Fuchs" or "Fux") and have to undergo training and a number of tests (usually fencing or drinking duels, depending on the type of fraternity) before they are formally received as full members.


In India, during the first year of College or University, students are called Freshers & from second year onward, they are called Seniors. Sometimes, to more specifically emphasize third year or fourth year students are called Super seniors.


The first year of university is called freshman year and only those who studied abroad undergo it. Freshman year is a preparatory year and the students are major-less. Students who have finished high school in Lebanon enter the sophomore year where they study their major.


In the Netherlands it is common in the highschool as "brugklasser" and in the major university cities, Utrecht, Amsterdam, Leiden, Groningen and a few others to call first year students "sjaars".


The first year university student is called "Cachimbo".


In the Portuguese Praxe, referring to all student and academic traditions of Portuguese universities, a major component is the hazing of freshmen (known in Portuguese as Caloiros). There are also many music festivals and a great deal of partying.

There is an actual "Praxe Code" that describes the entire set of traditions, including the Freshman's rights. These include the obligation, of the Freshman to be present in every initiation, having to respect and obey the seniors who are initiating him/her. One of the traditions includes forcing the freshmen to sing university songs and paint their faces and nails with several colors and partake in various games. The tradition requires that hazing be moderate and not endanger anyone. It is also tradition to host friendly dinners for the freshman so they can meet fellow students. It is usually the third year students who "guide" the freshmen, and there´s a symbolic ceremony where the freshmen must choose a "Godmother, Godfather, two Godmothers, two Godfather or both a Godmother and a Godfather" (mentor) from the second and third year students to "guide" them throughout their university years. After the mentor is formally chosen, the freshman can no longer be hazed except with the mentor's permission and he can then after a while be baptized on the "Baptism Ceremony". Second and Third year students wear the traditional university outfit most of the time but it is a must to wear it at freshmen ceremonies.

Sophomores are usually not allowed to haze freshmen or to join second or third year students, they are also not permitted to wear the traditional university outfit during their first sophomore semester and until the "Traçar da Capa Ceremony", where their Godfather and/or Godmother "traçam a capa" to them.


In Scotland, the first year of compulsory education is Primary 1 (P1). The first year of secondary school is known as S1 but one can freely use first year.

At the four ancient Scottish universities the traditional name students for the four years at university Bejant/Bejantine (1st), semi (2nd), Tertian (3rd) and Magistrand (4th), though all Scottish universities will have a "freshers' week" and the term is as widely used with more traditional terms.

United States

Freshman is commonly in use as a US English idiomatic term to describe a beginner or novice, someone who is naive, a first effort, instance, or a student in the first year of study (generally referring to high school or university study).

New members of Congress in their first term are referred to as freshmen senators or freshmen congressmen or congresswoman, no matter how experienced they were in previous government positions.

High School first year students are almost exclusively referred to as Freshmen, or in some cases by their grade year, 9th graders. Second year students are Sophomores, or 10th graders, then Juniors or 11th graders, and finally Seniors or 12th graders.

At college or university, Freshman denotes students in their first year of study. The grade designations of high school are not used, but the terms Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors are kept at most schools. Some colleges do not use the term Freshman, but use the perceived gender neutral term: First Year, instead. Beyond the fourth year, students are simply classified as fifth years, sixth years, etc. Some institutions use the term freshman for specific reporting purposes.


Freshman Wikipedia

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