Lara Amfil Sibi asks... How could any college student complain over an extra month of summer? It's technically the 7th week in the term, but several modules (British term for classes) did not start until three weeks ago. Beauteous, yes? That's not the best part: we aren't as frequently assessed or graded. While Cazenovia students stressfully endure midterms, we generally won't have any such major tests or papers until the end of the term. Unfortunately, attending uni in England is not all sunshines and rainbows. It relies heavily more on independent study. Go ahead, don't do the readings. Then risk not having the appropriate criteria for your paper. Wait 'til December to do your paper. Then, suffer the consequences of having all of your papers due on the same day. That one paper serves as your entire grade for the class. It carries a heavy weight. So do I prefer England's style of academic? Not entirely. I'm too accustomed to the familiar American ways.
Sonja Skalecki writes... The funny thing about classes is, the international staff told us we'd be focusing on school work 40 hours per week - literally as much as a full time job. So far, I haven't spent more than 25 hours per week - 10 for attending classes and 15 for doing the reading and writing thoroughly. I'm sure it will be more as the bigger papers are assigned, but right now it seems pretty chill. If I can give any piece of advice to people coming on this trip in the future, I'd say be diligent, but do not panic; the workload is not as daunting as they make it sound. For the first week I did the panicking thing, wondering if I could keep up, mostly because they expect more independent study from you here than in the U.S. Now that I've settled into the rhythm, I have time for life, making new friends, and a couple of short trips. It's all good! Balance is the key to anything.
According to Sara Martone... Classes so far are definitely interesting, but there are many differences between American and British university classes, so adjusting has been part of the 'acculturation' process. The first main difference is the language. Here in England they refer to classes as 'modules.' Also, in the UK we have two types of classes, either a lecture or a seminar. Lecture is when the whole class gets together and the professor teaches based on the chosen topic for that day. Then, later in the week, you will have a seminar, which is usually 1\4 of the class in a smaller room discussing what you learned during the lecture as well as what you learned from the readings. There are approximately 20,000 students at this college, so as you can imagine class sizes are MUCH larger than they would be at Cazenovia. Grades pretty much revolve around one assignment, usually an essay. While this can sound pretty overwhelming to a student (and trust me, it is) there are some amazing professors here who are willing to work with you and push you to succeed. They make sure you get involved and excited about the work you are doing, and make it go by a lot faster. I am enjoying all of my classes and will (hopefully!) pass them all with flying colors.
Travis Duffy writes... It has been a couple weeks since classes started here at Christ Church. One of the major differences I noticed here compared to Caz is the size of the classes and the number of students in the classes. For example, the Intro to Physiology course I am taking meets in a lecture hall twice the size of McDonald Lecture Hall back at Caz and there were so many students there the first day we actually ran out of seats and people started to sit on the floor and the stairs. The other big difference I noticed that takes some getting used to is that attendance is optional and your grades are based on one or two essays. Besides that classes are pretty much the same.
Justine Harrington asks... Wouldn't you love to go to classes for just three days each week? Only having class from Monday to Wednesday makes the weekend a good time for trips or karaoke at the pub, as well as finishing homework. It has been a great experience having classes with British and other international students and lecturers. To participate in classes such as Human Resources Management and Business Ethics with a British perspective is very interesting to learn coming from an American point of view. Lecturers and students are usually very interested in hearing about the American perspective and encourage contributing to the class. Most classes are split into a lecture and a seminar. Lectures consist of the teacher talking over the class material to the students. Seminars are at a different time where the class is broken into smaller groups to have discussions, group work, and other activities.