Studying at Coventry University

Hello!

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!

Wonderful Time

It might not have happened a lot since my last blog, but I have to say I really enjoy my time here in Genoa. The weather has been great today, hot, sunny without any cloud in the sky, absolutely perfect, took a cup of caffe at my terasse and enjoyed the view and sun, belissima, real life quality!

 

I’m doing my internship at two places, in a school and in a cooperative and I like the change in the work. Something in common for both places is of course the children, between the age of 6 to 15 in total. Every one is unique and all have their own experiences and personalities! I have to take the bus to the school, usually when I start at 8 am I take the bus 7:15, at latest, and by then the traffic is okay. If you wait to 8 à clock, the traffic jams are horrible! Not worth waiting for so long time for being late on a bus full (and then I mean really full) of people. No, my neighborhood is very quite in the morning, sleeping for a long time, so I think it is really nice to go out to the bus when most of the people are still sleeping and the Foccacerias are just opening. The smell of this lovely new fresh baked bread is like heaven, irresistible.

 

I have bought a tv for some company and for watching movies. There is a big library here called Berio where it is possible to rent movies for free, especially older Italian movies, really good! a good idea when I want to practice my Italian, I can have the subtitles or language on Italian! Right now I’m watching a chines history movie, great, but the only language was Chinese and the only subtitle available was Chinese or Italian, thought Italian was the best option…. 🙂

 

Tomorrow I will take the train to Florence and stay there over the weekend, I think it is going to be absolutely perfect and I’m really excited!

 

I will post some pictures from the Rolli Day event and hopefully after the weekend, I will quick upload pictures from Florence!

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Ciao!

Chuseok

Annyeon!

In this post I will talk about Chuseok and what I´ve been up to the last week.

Chuseok, is Korean Thanksgiving (full harvest moon). It is one the most important holidays.Chuseok Day was celebrated on the Sunday 27th of September. Monday and Tuesday were off. So basically a 4 day weekend 😉 Traditionally, people go back to their home towns or visit their grandparents. You eat sweet/differently coloured rice cake (songpyeon). It is a time to spend with your family and to worship your ancestors. Most of my Korean friends, relaxed and ate a lot (sounds like Christmas and Easter to me).

Even though many things are closed on Chuseok, it is a great opportunity to travel. Many places offer special performances or activities for tourists. Chuseok is the only day that Seoul is not crowden. SAs everybody was going home, travelling somewhere by train was not very attractive. I stayed in Seoul, as there is a lot to do here!

We visited Jongmyo Shrine in the morning, hardly anybody was there. Then we went to the Namsangol Hanok Village close to Namsan Park. There were many activities offered just for Chuseok. We watched a Taekwondo performance, it was amazing. As we are in Korea, they even “danced”, did Taekwondo to music 😉 The Traditional villages are always interesting, as there is a lot to see and my can try out some things. We even had our personal tour guide, who showed us around. Afterwards we walked up to Seoul Tower. Namsan Park is a huge and beautiful park in Seoul. I´m always surprised how green Seoul is. Seoul Tower is popular amongst both tourists and locals. Everybody was there. Couples buy locks and hang them at the fence. The view is spectacular. We didn´t go up the tower, as it is rather expensive and many people said that it is not really worth it. You see enough from the mountain itself. We watched the sunset over Seoul. That evening I went clubbing at Itaewon. Koreans don´t really dance. It takes a lot of animation to make them move (girls and boys). Nearly only foreigners go to Itaewon. We took a taxi back, as Seoul does not have night buses.

Next day I visited Deoksu Palace, one of the palaces right in the center of Seoul. It was free admission and there was a free traditional Korean music performance. A mix of jazz and in my opinion, strangely sounding singing. The atmosphere was great!

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Monday, was still a holiday and people started to come back to Seoul. I did some shopping in Gangnam and went to the Hanok village in Seoul. We had REAL italian pizza. I was very happy. Korean pizza is extremely sweet and always contains corn (for whatever reason). The restaurant was very authentic, but as we are still in Korea we got a side dish (pickles).

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On Tuesday we were super active. We hiked up to Bukhansan mountain (836 meters). The weather was amazing and everybody was there. I´ve never hiked with so many people! Hiking is a national sport in Korea. There are extremly many outdoor stores. Especially people over 60 wear outdoor clothes and go hiking every weekend. You always see hikers in the subway! The mountain is inside a national park, very close to Seoul. We took the subway to get there. There are various paths you can walk, but we wanted to hike up to the peak. On our way we saw two temples and the scenery was beautiful. It started getting very steep rather quickly. To the peak it is only 3.6 km or something, but that means UP UP UP. The path was a combination of steps, steps made of rock and literaly “climbing” up the mountain. I´ve done some hiking before, but never was it soooo steep for such a long time. Appropriate shoes and lots of water is a must! The last bit to the peak was super scar. There was only a rope that you could hold on to. This alone was scary, but having lots of people around you made it worse. People were pushing and trying to get up first. When we were finally at the peak, the AMAZING view made us forget the tedious walk up. We had lunch there. In Germany, (Austria and Switzerland too), there´s a place to eat and drink on every hiking route. This is nonexistent in Korea. You bring everything yourself. Many koreans drank rice wine. We didn´t as we were a bit terrified of having to walk back down again.

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Hiking was a very good experience. I plan to do this again. Bukhasan National park has a lot to offer.

Wednesday,I had a free day too. I visited the Hangaram Art Museum, as I did not intend to do lots of walking (if any in fact). I went to the Modigliani and the Chia exhibition. Both were great.

Thursday: I had uni.

Chuseok was really nice, even though I did not leave Seoul, I saw a lot of new places and enjoyed myself a lot. Living is such a huge and vibrant city really is amazing. Deciding what you´re going to do is quite tricky.

Weather, autumn has arrived in Korea. This means that evenings are chilly and it is not as hot during the day. Average temperature so far was 22 Degrees, so still warm compared to Sweden. The leaves are slowly changing their color. 

That was my Chuseok summary. Have a great week!