Monday, November 28, 2011

A "British" Thanksgiving and Some More Education

My friend Kate and me with my food children. Yes, multiple children.
This past Thursday was THANKSGIVING!!!!!! and while at first I was not sure if having a Thanksgiving celebration in England would be the same as having one at home, I was pleasantly surprised. My professor and his wife cooked us a DELICIOUS Thanksgiving feast, not meal, FEAST, supplemented with items each member of the class brought. Let's just say I had a few food babies in my stomach before we had even moved on to dessert, and I'm not ashamed of it.

Other than that nothing new or especially interesting has occurred, but I did have an interesting conversation with a British student today about their experience at university. It is quite different than from an experience at an American university; here, all students are required to choose their course upon entering, therefore not being able to enter as "Undecided" like at many schools in the States, and they have to pay in order to switch courses. They also have to pay to switch classes they are enrolled in if they want to change them. However, unlike with majors, students do not have specific "requirements" they have to complete in order to get their degree: they just simply have to take some classes in their course. The grading system over here is a lot different and harder as well. Everything is out of 100%, but receiving the highest mark (equivalent to an "A" in America) is a 70% or above, and getting a mark that high is almost unheard of according to many students and my professors. Grading of papers, at least at UEA, is anonymous and these grades are the only ones factored into your final grade, meaning teachers do not use participation and attendance, for example, as factors towards calculating your final grade. Also, at least in the two classes I am taking, students only have two essays per class, so if they bomb one they are pretty much screwed, whereas in the States students will normally have four or five papers to write so if they do poorly on one, they have a fair amount of leeway in making sure they can still receive a final mark. Teachers also normally take participation and attendance into account with their grading as well. This puts a lot of pressure on us abroad students, who are not used to having such a hard grading scale and such few items to be graded. Oh well, you just keep calm and carry on!!

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