I am studying at a private university in Prague. All of the classes here are taught in English (with the exception of Intro to Czech.) Even though the school grants you an American degree, it is still not the same as an American university. I’ve noticed that there are some differences.
The first difference is class participation. In my classes back home, participation was only 10% or 10% of your grade and it seemed to be mostly based on your attendance. What really determined your final grade was mostly quizzes and tests. At my school in Prague, I’ve seen participation count for 30% of your final. And by participate, they don’t just mean show up. I had a professor tell us that she would not give us points for just sitting in class and that we would have to actively participate to get the points. I was surprised to see that the percentages for quizzes, tests, and homework were very balanced in most of my classes. I also remember when I get my midterm for Czech class back, the professor told us that the quiz grades, homework grade, and participation grade were actually worth more than the midterm and final.
The professors here are also stricter but there’s a reason for this. The professors have to follow this rule that a student can’t miss more than 12 hours of class (for us that’s about 4 class sessions because each class is 3 hours) or else, they’re automatically kicked out.
One thing I didn’t expect was the workload. I’m kind of embarrassed about admitting this but for reason, I assumed the classes would be easier. We hear all the time about how difficult American universities are so I foolishly assumed the classes would be a walk in the part. I remember that right after I could all of my study abroad paperwork done, booked my flights, and packed I said, “Finally! The most difficult part is over.”
And my dad said, “Uh, not really, Erin. You still have to study.”
But I just brushed it off and said, “Well how hard can that be?”
He was right, and I was really surprised by how much work the professor gave us. And it wasn’t just the amount of work we got, it was the quality. Back home, I am an honors student, I’m part of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and I was STILL struggling. I spoke to another honors student in my class and he agreed that the classes here were definitely harder.
The final difference is that professors encourage us to work in groups more. Back at home, we would rarely work together on assignments. The only time I remember doing that was for a group project in my programming class. But in one of my classes, we are given the option to do quizzes as a group.
Even though my school is very different from the one I attend back home, I really grew to like the way it was structured. I felt like I learned a lot and I definitely feel productive after class.