Here's another one about high school. (Don't blame me, if you believe Hollywood, most Americans do what they do to impress their high school pals, even 20 years later.)
It's clear that in the US, geeks and artists and such have a hard time in high school, and are not "popular" (a concept I never really understood. It seems you can be "popular" even though nobody likes you?).
My experience was opposite, I found it far easier to fit in when I went to high school, because only those who didn't hate school too much, went. I think less than thirty percent at a rough estimate went on to high school. So while the environment was perhaps not exactly "intellectual", it was a lot closer, and I didn't see anybody get hassled.
I wonder, in the US, is there another system, so that most everybody goes to high school, no matter their desire or aptitude for learning? That would explain that difference.