After a couple of weeks of classes at Coventry, I can finally tell something about the education here. In general, educational system in Britain seems to be quite similar to the one we have in Sweden but, of course, it has some differences. So in this post I will try to provide an overall overview of what it is like to study @ CovUni.
Same as in Sweden, students don’t have too many classes a week. Students are expected to complete most of their studying in the library or at home using books and online resources. Most students here are supposed to take up 3 modules that make up 30 ECTS in total. Everyone (at least among exchange students) is free to choose modules that they would like to study, and then they have to complete their timetables themselves. However, unlike Sweden, where students have different timetables each week, here it’s fixed and doesn’t change from week to week. Students just need to choose their modules and complete timetables wisely in order to make the most out of their exchange studies here. (For example, I completed my timetable the way that I always have Fridays off, which is wonderful because I have long weekends so I can travel. 😀 )
All modules at my faculty consist of lectures and seminars that take 4 hours of guided studying a week – 3 hours for lectures and 1 hour for a seminar. So students have to spend only around 12 hours a week at the university. During lectures all you have to do is to listen and make some notes (you don’t even have to write a lot because lecturers always have all important information in their presentations that are available online). There’s no discussion or questions from a teacher at the lectures, so students are not expected to say anything. Also, documentaries or other movies might be shown during the lectures. However, they are not followed by any discussion. Seminars are, on the contrary, very interactive, therefore everyone is expected to contribute to a discussion. Also, students usually have to prepare some readings or perhaps even some sort of a presentation for this kind of classes in advance. Some students might also find field trips in their timetables but, unfortunately, they are unavailable for the Erasmus students (apparently you have to pay for those in advance).
Exams… Well, it’s too early to talk about them now, I guess. All I know is that I have to write course papers for my modules. Most of my course papers are due the period of time between the middle of November and the beginning of December. Other than that, I will also have traditional in-class exams in January. But I think I will write about it in more details when I know more about it. 😉
Semesters here are shorter than in Sweden. Studies for autumn semester usually start in the beginning October and finish in the middle of December. Then students have a three-week Christmas holidays, that are followed by a two-week exam period that lasts until mid-January. After that spring semester begins. But already in the beginning of May academic year is over.
It’s worth mentioning that attendance is a very important thing here. Students must attend all lectures and seminars. Teachers literally check if you’re present or not at each and every lecture or seminar. In case a student misses several classes, he will come across some problems with the university staff. (So far I have attended all my lectures and seminars, so I don’t know what exactly they do to those who skip classes. Hopefully, I will never know about that by my own experience :D) It feels a little bit like being at high school, though. Well, students can do nothing about it, so we just need to make sure to always sign a registry form when we go to a class. In case a student gets sick and unable to attend a class, he or she should notify a teacher about it in advance in order to avoid problems.
Despite all the hassle with attendance tracking, the atmosphere in the classes here is pretty informal. (Just like in Sweden.) Teachers often joke around and may talk about everything with students. Also, the staff here is very international. Coventry teachers are coming from various countries from all over the world.
I guess, that’s it about education here for now. Just one more little thing about my studies here. During the first week of studies, one of my teachers decided to change timetable for his module which led to a clash in my timetable. So I had to withdraw from that module and pick something instead. Unfortunately, I’m not taking Journalism anymore. Instead, I’m following a history module (The Making of Modern America) now. The new course seems to be pretty interesting as well.
So I guess, everyone should be aware of unexpected changes that might occur even after the beginning of a semester and look for some other modules to have a backup plan just in case 😉 .
Thanks for reading! Have a fantastic day and don’t forget to apply for exchange studies!