As I attempt to begin an essay for my wine studies class, it occurs to me I should most definitely write a blog about the structure of the academic system in Scotland. I’m still piecing the differences together, but I can give a solid over view.
First off, college and university are not interchangeable. I learned this through unimpressed reactions from classmates upon reveling I come from Maryville College. Over here, many time students will attend college for two years before moving on to university if their grades aren't up to par or to save some money. College here is roughly equivalent to community college back in the States.
And next, if a student progresses directly from high school to university, they can be super young. I live in a building that seems to be a majority of first year students around the age 17. It’s been strange being invited to birthday parties on the weekends only to find out that you’ve been hanging out with kids (literally) almost 4 years younger than you. And these kids party. Just as in America, freshman year is the easiest here and many times students only have class 3 or so days a week, which leaves much time for late nights. I’ve picked up the longer you’ve been in school, the more responsibilities stack up on you, and so the less you party (pretty similar to back home).
|Wine Studies Diary|
On a micro scale, I can describe my schedule. I was amazed upon arriving to discover I would only have classes two days a week (granted, I’ve been planning on studying abroad since I applied to Maryville College, and thus have worked my class schedules back home around this semester abroad.) I am enrolled in three modules this trimester, which is about normal here and considered full time. Wednesday at 11 I have Scottish Culture and Society for two hours with 90 other foreign exchanged students. Thursday I begin with Spanish 1 at 12 for three hours then have a break until Wine Studies (an actual class where half of the time is spend drinking wine) for another two hours. Scottish Culture and Wine Studies are both lecture style classes. We are presented with basic PowerPoints then expected to finish pre-assigned work on our own through much self-taught material. Spanish is more of a workshop style because the class is allotted three whole long hours. Over all, there is much more emphasis on self-disciplined learning over here. I don’t have nearly as many assignments as I would back home, but the ones assigned are weighted very heavily.
This being said, I love my schedule so much. While I am taking school seriously over here, it is wonderful having free time to relax and travel as much as possible. Classes only two day a week (and not even in the morning really) means I’m catching up on all the sleep I’ve lost the past two years studying at Maryville, and because I’m not constantly bogged down with school work, I’m much more proactive about material. Like I stated at the beginning, I am starting a wine studies essay this evening which is not due for another three weeks. If I’m being honest with myself, that would never happen back home. I enjoy the material being covered in my classes, I never have to wake up early, and I have a wonderful amount of spare time. I can physically feel residual stress from previous semesters melting away more and more every day.
|Craiglockhart Campus is one of three campuses composing Edinburgh Napier|
University. All three of my classes are located here.