School here is much like school anywhere, I suppose. Classes go on throughout the week, work is assigned but procrastinated, and college students are the same, whether here or there. Tonight, the directors held a mid-semester review to check in, as well as to remind us of duties before the end of the semester. I sense that we are almost at the peak before the wind-down. In the same spirits as the mid-semester review, these are overall reflections on my four classes.
Hindi class is structured much like I am used to. We have hour-long classes 4 days a week and have a syllabus from the first class. Our topics and exams are outlined there, and we follow it pretty closely and are on schedule. The one surprise is that we might have to come up with some performance for the program’s (SIP) cultural night celebrating the semester.
Senior students passed along their medical anthropology syllabus to us current students rather than our professor, but we have followed the topics well so far. I did not exactly know how many internal exams (midterms) we would have, when they would be, or how they would be evaluated. It turned out that our second internal was yesterday, as we found out last Thursday. The consensus is that this is not too uncommon. I would prefer more structure, but that is not too unreasonable since it is generally the norm.
My remaining two classes are the food/nutrition and the community/development classes. We have had several field trips in the former, which I find to be more like a public health class. There will only be a final exam, but we did have a few presentations based on the classes and trips. Our recent trip was to the Rural Technology Park, where we learned about models for housing, sanitation, and livelihoods in India. In groups, we made small presentations. I had previously written about the latter course. The scopes of both these courses fundamentally appeal to me. Going to listen to off-campus speakers and having a range of guest lecturers is truly valuable. I like the parts of the whole; it is just that we are left to connect the dots ourselves. I think that perhaps, in academic settings, I prefer to function with more structure or clearer organization.
In the beginning, directors and advisors told us that Indian universities have a quirk we may not be used to. It will feel like our classes are easy breezy with a light workload, only to pick up in a frenzy around late September. Well, I had some doubt, but they were right. Exams, presentations, and papers are scheduled more and more tightly. Generally, work is piling up a little more frantically than I think many of us international students are used to. I realize this is simply part of the learning curve of study abroad, though. Taking a step back, being at a university here is not so different; the same could be said of most other aspects, too.