I did after all come here to study, right and now my first week of classes is over. Don’t get too excited I only have 1 class of the 3 that I need. At this point I’m pretty sure I won’t be finished getting into classes before I have to figure out my classes for Penn. But slowly and steadily I press on.
The overall difference in University here is incredible. Even at the upper level classes it’s almost all lecture based. Not to mention the fact that it seems like Professors want to spend as little time in the classroom as possible. They come in — sit, talk for exactly if not less then the class period and then they leave. It’s a they’re the last one in first one to leave type thing. The relaxed culture around here around learning was nice at first but for me it’s almost too relaxed. Especially when I have to talk to Professor’s about getting the exam early — but they’re nowhere to be found once they have finished class.
That being said, the Spanish students are for more apt to help you here that I think they are in the US. The idea of competition that pervades the American Collegiate system simply just doesn’t exist here. As long as they pass the class (seriously they just aim for 5) they don’t really care too much about the grade. That’s not to say everyone here is like that, but because they’re graded against an abstract value of what good work is there’s little to no competition between students. Example: in one of my classes we asked the girl in front of us for her notes because it is a struggle to comprehend the accent (and very few professors use powerpoints), and she happily obliged, not a single question was asked.
I still have more classes to find, and at this point I’m not sure how many/ if any of these will count for my major but I also am sure that most of my learning this semester is not going to be coming from the classroom. Not in a bad way, I’m sure I’ll be able to tell you something about Modern European History in Spanish if you want, but I’m not sure that’s where I’ll do the most growing. And I’m perfectly okay with that. One thing I like here is that the work here is more theoretical even in the history department. It’s not about memorizing dates or names but being able to explain and relate things to one another.
So one week down…I’ll keep you updated on how the class hunt goes. If nothing else I know that I’ll be doing some independent research here for my program on Gender Based Violence, so at least I won’t be completely isolated from GSWS work. If I’m lucky I’ll find a way to work this into research I do when I get back to Penn. But for now I think I should probably just focus on finding two more classes and sending my Pass/Fail options back to Penn, small goals first 🙂
P.S this post was originally supposed to be posted on Friday hence the title.