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  • Joelle Otterstedt

First Week of Classes

Well, I’ve finally been to each of my classes once. There are quite a few differences between school here, and school in the U.S.. When students go to college (Uni) in the UK, they choose their degree, and move through classes within a cohort. This means that a group of students all take the same classes in pretty much the same order. They only take classes within their major, and graduate in 3 years. It seems like everybody within cohorts already knows each other and have pretty close relationships. It is a pretty cool system, however, entering a class where everybody has been together for 3 years feels a bit odd and confusing.


A couple of my professors have been really good about adding side comments for me to help me understand things better. They realize that I will probably need a bit more information than the rest of the class. I appreciate this even more, after going to my last class and not getting any additional information about what was going on.


I have 3 classes while I am here, each are worth 20 credits, for a total of 60. I have been told that 20 credits here is equivalent to about 5 credits back home. Since international students aren’t a part of a particular cohort, we are allowed to choose from a list of courses (modules) to choose our classes. We could take classes in 3 different areas, instead of having to stay within one major like the other students. We didn’t receive our schedules (timetables) until the day after we arrived. They are very confusing here. The time and location of each class can vary week-by-week. I think I have finally figured out how to read my timetable though. The other main difference is that there aren’t any exams or assignments throughout the semester. Your entire grade is based on one exam, essay, presentation, or project that is due at the end of the term. And it isn’t even graded in the same way. Evidently, 70 is a super good score here.


My first class is titled “Alternative Educations”. It’s not related to my major, but I thought the title sounded interesting. I thought it would probably be about adapting education for people with differing abilities. I was very wrong. This class is about the education system in England different options rather than a standard education. It turns out the education system seems quite different here. I was wanting to take a course that would teach me something about where I am, so I guess I’ll be learning about the education system in England. My assignment for this course is a group project to design a website.


My second class is titled “Sport Injury Reconditioning and Return to Sport”. This class is in my major, however, it is a third-year class and I don’t feel like I know enough to be in it at all. It seems really interesting, so I really hope I am able to keep up with everyone else. The final project for this is designing a training program for a given athlete. All we are given is an age, sport, and injury, and we have to present and go through a training program for them. I am just really hoping I don’t get assigned rugby or cricket.


The last class I went to is called “Difference and Diversity in Helping”. This class is about handling situations in your profession when you might be working with somebody with a very different background than yourself. It sounds like a very interesting module, but I’m really confused about how it works. The class only meets once a week for 3 hours, and discusses a different topic each week. Instead of assigned readings, there is just a reading list of about 15 books, and all I’ve been told is to read what you think will help with your final essay. No recommendation of which pages to read, or when to read what.


This is going to be a very interesting semester. Hopefully I will figure out how classes work here. The good thing about the weird schedules is that you tend to go to class less frequently. I only have classes 3 times a week, which leaves me lots of time for exploring.

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