Only four weeks left…

…until my semester in Australia is over. It has really gone by fast, it feels as if I arrived at Tullamarine Airport just yesterday and I met my house mate Matt for the very first time, when he picked me up. I guess these four weeks that are left will go by even more quicker!

Since I last blogged a few weeks ago a lot of fun stuff have been happening – I have been both to Tasmania and Indonesia, which both were great! I will write more about those trips in another post, but I will devote this post to the academic part of my semester. I don’t think I have written much about the differences between studying in Australia and Sweden and this info might be useful for those of you who consider going on exchange!

The biggest difference between my Malmö uni and my australian one is that I study four subjects and the same time. I have one lecture and one tutorial (what we in Sweden call “seminarium”) for each subject, each week – 8 “activities” all together, per week. Another difference is that you have the exact same schedule for one semester, which made at least me feel that the school became way too much of a routine. Unfortunately enough I also ended up with lectures and tutorials that started at 8 am every day….

Another difference is that you have assignments due almost every single week, where as you in Sweden usually only have a hemtenta or salstenta at the end of a subject and then a few group presentations during a seminarium. Anyway, at ACU I have had assignments due almost every week. They consist of reading responses or commentaries, which means that you in about 180-220 words should summarize the key points of one of the required readings for that week but also provide a bit of analyze yourself. My experience is that word limits are pretty rare in Sweden, we mostly use pages, but at ACU word limits are what guides your writing! I thought it sounded really hard at the beginning, getting to say all of the things I wanted to say AND draw conclusions on top of that, but now I like having to adjust to a word limit, it makes my points and ideas much more clearer and straight forward and I actually feel that the things I write holds a high quality even if it’s only 200 words.

So, reading responses/commentaries are one form of assignment. Another one I’ve had was a mid-semester test in philosophy, which consisted of 20 multiple choice questions, which I’ve never had before in Sweden. It went really well – sorry for bragging but I was the only one in the whole class to get 20 out of 20! It was my first test of the semester so I was really happy about that. My studies are paying off…

Yet another assignment type is an annotated bibliography. This one was for my Global change & development subject and we had to choose from around 10 different topics provided by our lecturer and then find four peer reviewed articles. We then had to write around 1200 words which should include why that article is valuable for our research essay (which will be based upon the topic and articles you chose for your annotated bibliography), which theories the author uses, which key points the author makes and so on. This assignment also went really well for me and I was so proud of myself since I haven’t had any experience of writing academic papers in english before my semester in Melbourne.

I have had to do research essays in two different subjects. One was for the Global change subject, which meant that you used the articles from the annotated bibliography for your research essay. I chose a topic where I had to discuss how neoliberalism has affected volunteer tourism as a development practice, which was really interesting to write about. In the essay I had to argue for my position, but of course always with support from the articles I had chosen. The research essay was more like a normal paper that I am used to in Sweden, but the annotated bibliography was useful to have done as well, since that really is what you do when you write a B- or C-uppsats in Sweden – arguing for why the literature you have chosen for your essay are valuable and how it is related to your own position.

The other assignments I’ve had are essays, which were around 500 words each. You got a few questions to answer and it was pretty straightforward as usual – always support your own thoughts with the arguments found in the literature for that subject.

This friday I have a philosophy essay due, which is 1200 words. You had to choose between different topics such as sexual freedom, abortion, punishment and so on, and develop your own ideas of why the arguments provided by a specific philosophical branch are, or are not, valid arguments, which was really interesting.

As you might tell, the assignments are always very short in regards of the word limit but I really find that you get a lot said with a low word limit.

Puh, now I’m done with this essay/blog post and I will treat myself to some wine and movie in bed! This is my last week of lectures, before my three final exams in june 2nd, 16th and 18th. Wish me luck…

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