A New Way of Learning




From the moment I enrolled for classes at my host university, I knew that I would have to get used to some changes

Planning for registration was stressful because I only knew which classes were available but I did not know the time the class would meet until I was actually enrolling. This was hard to get used to because at my home university I know in advance everything about the class, including the meeting time.

I was aware that I was going to have to adapt to changes in every aspect while studying abroad. Once I arrived, I could not help making comparisons between my host university and my home university. At the beginning I would say “this would not happen back home” or “it doesn’t make any sense they do things this way”. I started to get frustrated because the way I was used to doing things was not the right way anymore.

For one class I had to write an essay on an assigned reading. I had trouble to come up with a topic because we were not assigned one. This was different for me because I am used to always get a topic from the professor and a very specific rubric. I did the best I could and wrote the paper in the way I believed was right. When the professor graded it he told me that it was not good enough. He gave me the opportunity to write another one but I had never gotten that bad of a score on a paper. I am not used to receiving low scores on essays, so I was disappointed.

It was also hard to get used to the size of the classes and of the school. In my home university most classes are big (more than 60 people, sometimes up to 300). In my host university all the classes are between 30-35 students. My home university has around 51,000 students while my host university has around 2,000 students. Definitely a big change. However, being in smaller classes has its benefits. I am able to participate more and pay more attention in class.

What I’ve learned

It is definitely frustrating at times but then I remind myself that this is just part of the experience. I have learned to not compare the two universities too much. They both have things that I appreciate and they both have things that I would like to change. I have learned to enjoy the smaller-sized classes, being on a smaller campus, and to adapt to a new way of learning.