Thursday, October 16, 2008

Life at the Uni

University started this week and it's so different from how college is in the States I thought I'd highlight the differences.

First of all, it is University. Not college, not school, University. If a university student said they were going to school, people would be very confused. School refers to "grundschule" or elementry school. Around 12 that they go on to either "Hochschule" which is essentially a trade school or "gymnasium" which is basically the equiventlent of a college prep high school. Those who finish Gymnasium take a test covering everything they've learned in the past 6 years to recieve their "Abitur" which qualifies them to attend University.

The second major difference is that in true German form, everything is plotted out when you begin and does not change. Everytime I tell someone here that I changed my major, I get a look of complete shock. Classes here don't have prerequesites, they simply tell you what semester you have to take it in. So when you look at a class and it says 7th semester that means it's fairly advanced.

Thirdly, the credit system is completely different. When I first got here and I heard someone say they needed to get 30 credits this symester I was shocked. I thought they were being rediculous. Then I started looking at the classes, and realised that most classes are worth 5 or 6 credits, so 30 isn't really that much. The problem with that is I have no idea how my credits will transfer when I get home, personally I think they should be waited more heavily because I'm in a foreign country which makes everything more difficult.

The last major difference is the only one I was somewhat prepared for. Classes are only 1 1/2 hours a week, but they expect you to really work outside of class. It's not the simple read a chapter in this book... they want you to research your subject. But with the way the Germans think of University that makes perfect sense.


Michemily said...

Hi Kira! Good work. I don't know if you had to register the way a normal German student does, but that's crazy too. I have never yet received more than one letter from the university. I came here wondering if anyone would know I was coming. Students are just expected to figure out when fees have to be paid by and where to do that, etc. Crazy.

Jen said...

Some of that sounds similar to the french system, so i thinks it's kind of european, but it doesn't make it any easier! good luck since i have a feeling you'll have WAY more work there than you will at Kent. Hopefully they'll give you the extra credit for it. How is life over there? YOu need to update more often! You also need to send me your address!!!