What a difference it is to be a student in Ireland.
Well here I am, finished with my second week of classes already. I knew coming to study in Ireland that the classes here would be different, but overall I have been confused and bewildered by some of the classes I have attended. To start, my registration for classes didn’t even take place until the end of this week. The regular students at the university have to register for their classes before they attend, but the study abroad Ireland program students are allowed a trial period of two weeks. During this time we are to pick out modules that sound interesting and attend the lectures for them. I myself picked out five modules, which is the normal course load at UL, and hoped that I liked them because there was little else that I could find to take. I have gone to the lectures for the five modules I have picked, and they seem to be just fine. This week I was the time that I had to register and make my final decisions for classes, and now I’m set for the semester.
While picking out modules to take based on my interests and needs for major was a bit tricky, the more difficult part was to figure out a schedule where the classes wouldn’t overlap. At home a course may meet at a time like Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9-10. At UL a class could meet on Monday from 9-10 and then also on Thursday from 2-3. The class schedules here seemed pretty random overall, and I got really frustrated when I was trying to pick classes because this wouldn’t be the case when I picked classes at home. When I was trying to register for classes it came to the point of seeing when the classes were scheduled and picking some just based on the fact that they didn’t overlap with other classes that I needed to take. I did find some pretty interesting modules to take, and so far I have liked some. The others I may have to just deal with, but I figure I didn’t always like all the classes that I had to take back at St. Thomas either.
The class style at UL also is much more different than any class that I have ever attended at home. Here there are large lectures for each module, which is generally where somewhere from 30 to 500 students sit in an auditorium and listen to a lecturer speak. All modules also have tutorials that are smaller groups that revolve around discussion and class participation that relates to the lecture topics for the week. Most classes that I have taken in the past have been smaller classes much like tutorials, where students are expected to participate while learning instead of having all the material just given to them. The lectures can be harder to follow because the lecturer is just presenting the information. Things like questions and any student opinions are to wait for the tutorials and I can’t go ahead and get the help during lectures.
The adjustment to my classes is slowly coming, and at the end of the semester I’m sure it will all come easy to me, just as soon as I have to leave.