I survived my first week of classes and had lots of new and surprising impressions. The US educational system is very different from the German one; I am not judging any of them, just mentioning differences and things I have to get used to.
In order to maintain my visa status as an exchange student I need 12 semester hours per week which results in four courses I have to take. Here, every class meets several times a week- either three times for one hour or two times for 1,5 hours. I have classes every day but because they are only that short time flies by quickly. It is just weird having a class every other day, while in Germany you got it once and then don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the week. As I am in North Carolina I took the chance to have a class on the state’s history. The teacher seems to be nice and knows a lot about this place which is good. I hope to have more of an overview after the course. Basically, I don’t have that many requirements from my home university which means I can choose whatever I am interested in. So I have a literature class on American authors (a topic I already liked back in Tübingen) as well as a linguistics class for teachers (unfortunately, it’s beginner’s level and I know many things already). Totally off track is beginning Spanish but I always wanted to learn it and now is the time for it. Hablo espanol!
Some differences to Germany:
– Classes actually start on time. While we have the “academic quarter” (15 minutes) for every class, we start on time here. Classes are only 50 minutes long which sometimes makes it hard to come to a really good discussion.
– I feel a little bit like being back in school. Short classes, younger classmates and lots of assignments. There is reading for every class which means I am busy all the time. A much higher amount of pages but the level is lower than the readings we get in Germany (e.g. 50 pages of “Huckleberry Finn” compared to 20 pages of Aristotle). There are tests and quizzes during the semester, plus exams. Normally, there are no presentations (except one class, hopefully they can deal with my accent=)). At the end of the semester, there are final exams and sometimes papers (but instead of German 25 pages we only need 6 here, yeah!).
– Professors and instructors actually pay attention to you. After the first week they already know all the names and care about the students. In case you don’t show up they will call you or email you. So skipping a class is not that easy as it is in Germany.
– There is no distinction between lecture and seminar. Classes have about 20-40 people. Sometimes there are presentations but mostly the professor lectures. In the next lesson he would ask questions about previous lectures or write a quiz about it (as I said, back to school).
It might take me a while to get used to the system but I guess I can manage and I am looking forward to it! Right now, I am not in the study mood yet as I didn’t have a break between finishing up in Germany and coming here. But a routine will be good and then I can start to build my life around it.
I began looking at churches, so far I have been to two and I liked them. People are really friendly here and I hope to get more connected soon, find I place I can serve in and make friends.
You may not believe it but I actually go to the gym now as the food is so greasy and it’s just good for your wellbeing (since I don’t have my piano to take my energy out on). People here are really into sports. The university has several athletics teams, like soccer, volleyball, even equestrian. The matches are free for all the students so give it up for the UNCG Spartans!
|The Spartans won!
Die Spartans haben gewonnen!
|Watching the game with other internationals
Wir sind Fans aus aller Welt!
|“Parachute” concert on campus- perfect for a chilly Friday evening!
Konzert auf dem Campus mit “Parachute”- perfekt für einen lauen Freitagabend!