by Lola Bianchi, University of Guelph, Canada
I think one of the biggest concerns I had coming on the year abroad was wondering how hard the studying would be, if it would be very different or if i would struggle to adapt to the work load.
I, personally, have found the academic style to be a mix of good and bad. When I came here, I was aware of how there is more frequent but less weighted exams and assignments, but I didn’t really know how different it would be! I would say that, although it is nice having small projects to work on, it feels very strange to me to not be writing a single long writing piece this term, when I had to do one about every other week last term.
I think the academic style is a little bit more hands on and requires a more consistent attitude to studies than in the UK. Here, you have to read all the given material, and do all the small activities whereas in the UK, you can theoretically only focus on your assignments and do well. It feels very strange having to group projects count towards the main proportion of your grade, or even just reflection posts on the reading being worth the biggest chunk, yet it does mean that the stress of producing a good piece of writing isn’t there.
This, however, is not all good. I have actually been worrying quite a bit about readjusting to UK academic expectations. I think it’s is easier to study here than it is back home, despite the greater work load. I feel like the level of analysis and critical thinking is at a lower standard than many of my previous courses at home were. The professors here also are more willing to help and give you guidance than back home so that also worries me, as I know in Manchester it’s almost impossible to get academics’ help on assignments but I’m hoping if I go into it with a good attitude it’ll all come back to me super fast!
I also made it on the honours list for fall and, given how my winter grades are going, I think I’m heading in that same direction this semester. However, it’s also semi-frustrating as I have never got higher than a 2-1 in Manchester yet here I am doing so so well and it is only pass/fail! Although it is annoying, it does make me wonder if the difference is due to the academic style here or my own confidence in my abilities. I don’t overthink what I am writing here or get overly stressed to the same extent as I do in Manchester. I also think, however, it could be due to the fact that this is the first year I have had in-person classes for the whole time, as every year, lecturers in Manchester strike and we have obviously also just come out of 2 years of online teaching because of COVID, yet, realistically, it probably is a result of a combination of things.