Kelli shares a great description of what American study abroad students experience when they’re enrolled in a foreign university (we hear this same description from many students, regardless of what country they’re in!):
Before [going abroad] I knew that “study abroad” really meant study abroad; however, I’m not sure I realized just how different it would be…
I obviously knew that things would be different, but I couldn’t be sure how different or in what ways.
As it turns out, you are much more in charge of your own education here. There are no “small assignments,” only important presentations, big exams, and long papers. Also, the syllabi here are almost obsolete. They typically give you an idea of what each unit will look like topic-wise, but don’t list what will be done on which day or which readings should be done when. At the end there is a huge list of references and most of them are not required for the class per se, but “they will contribute to your knowledge on the subject” or help you be “better prepared” for exams and papers and such. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly remember the last time I read an optional reading for a class…. Hmmmm.
So, as a result of having almost arbitrary syllabi, the question on my mind has consistently been: “So….. what is it that we actually have to do for this class??” Believe it or not, I’ve been in class for a month now and I still am figuring out what it is that I actually have to produce or present for each class. …
Oh the frustrations of being Type-A in such a Type-B society…. *sigh*
Interestingly enough, I’m not actually as stressed as I would be at home. I think I’ve just sort of accepted the fact that things work differently and I really don’t have control over it.
You can read Kelli’s full post here.