Classes started a few weeks ago, and I am now familiar enough with mine to give you an idea of what they’re like.
I just really love school.
I’m taking four papers (aka classes). This is the most that international students are permitted to take, as the school thinks that any additional pressure will make us crack like the fragile-culture-shocked-pathetic-eggs that we are (citation needed). On a serious note, one class here is worth 4.5 credits at Temple, and most American universities, opposed to the standard 3, meaning the classes here are more demanding, and therefore, people tend to take less of them.
- The History of Māori Politics (1830-1996) – This class is by far the most important to me. It provides me with insight into the Māori that I would otherwise would have not gained, and enables me to learn about the series of complex occurrences and issues which have shaped the Māori’s history and situation today. The class is taught by a sarcastic, humorous, part-Māori man, which makes it something to look forward to. I would very much like to take a class similar to this one on Native Americans when I return home.
- Issues in United States History – This class is not at all what I expected when I signed up for it, but I still enjoy it! Please don’t judge me – I’m not an American that can’t bear to be away from America. Seeing as I’ve never left the country before, I was curious to see how people on the other side of the world discuss the United States and its history. Well…my teacher is an American, which basically nullifies my reasoning for taking the course. However, he is not your average professor, nor is it an ordinary class, which is sub-headed as ‘Freaks and Normals.’ The course is about disability and how it is viewed in the context of religion, various eras of history, film, music, location, and our every day lives. The question of ‘what is normal?’ runs throughout the course. My retort to this inquiry is ‘non-existent.’
- Interpreting Artworks – In all honesty, I took this paper to fulfill a general-education requirement back home. Luckily, I am interested in its contents, as it is an art-history class. As a person who has no physical artistic ability, I appreciate that I am at least able to talk about art fairly well! A fun fact I’ve learned in this class: the metric system didn’t exist until the 18th century. Prior to this, measurements varied by person, place, and time, and basically made life RIDICULOUSLY COMPLICATED. Conservative estimation places the dawn of human beings about 100,000 years ago. This means we went about 99,700 years before it was decided that there should be a standard system of measurement that didn’t involve body parts. *Burries face in hands.*
Believe it or not, this piece ‘Three Standard Stoppages’ by Marcel Duchamp expresses similar sentiments toward humanity: WHAT WERE YOU ALL THINKING FOR SO LONG? MEASUREMENTS ARE VERY IMPORTANT.
- Totalitarian Regimes (1922-1945) – AWESOME class. People often ask me what my favorite period of history is. While I don’t like to view history as a list of names and places confined to a set time period, this epoch of devastation, psychological terror and influence, and shift away from traditional ideals is one of the most interesting to me. My professor is an Englishman who has lived in Romania, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand for extended periods of time, leaving him with one of the most interesting accents I’ve ever heard. Right now we’re learning about Mussolini and his rise to power in Italy – something I have previously not learned much about.
There you have it! I set up my class schedule so that I have all of my lectures on Tuesday and Thursday. I have tutorials (smaller classes) on some Mondays and Wednesdays. This means that I typically have four day weekends. Hooray! School is a bit different from home, but in my next blog, I will compare and contrast various aspects of New Zealand living with American life. Here’s a picture of a pretty building on my campus: