Kiwi Academic Adjustment
Sometimes it’s hard to remember I am here in the magical world of New Zealand for school, and not just to be mind blown by every experience I have here. New Zealand, while not all too different than America as far as culture, does school differently enough where a period of academic adjustment did have to take place before I was comfortable writing this post. I felt like I needed to truly get the hang of the differences and take my first test to report back accurately and truthfully.
Unlike New Paltz courses where you will usually have a course two days a week for an hour and fifteen minuets, or one day for two and a half hours, VUW spreads most of their courses out on three different days for 50 minuets each, or two days for an hour and 50 minuets each. There are pros and cons to both of these methods. I find that having three days of courses helps me not forget things, as it requires me to be in class more often, however it is a bit more fast paced. Where as home, I feel that the spacing between class time affects how well I remember the material taught. However, there is more class time, and FAR more student/teacher interaction home at New Paltz.
There is no homework enforced in my classes, or most classes from what I gather here at VUW. Students are expected to read the syllabus and plan for projects, tests, and papers accordingly. Professors will not force you to read or prep you much at all for assignments or tests, especially in the higher level classes.
Perhaps my biggest adjustment was the level of responsibility put on students here at VUW. For example, on the VUW enrollment website, I picked 3 classes, two of which overlapped without me knowing. Home at New Paltz, this would never happen, the system would prevent us from selecting classes that overlap. Here at VUW that is not the case, in fact it isn’t all that uncommon for students to choose classes that do overlap and juggle these classes. It helps that a lot of lectures are recorded and put on black board (something I feel our school should look into). I actually picked two classes that overlap on 1/3 days for both. One of these classes are recorded, so missing that lecture is not detrimental like it could be back home.
Finally, the tests here are not as hard as I thought they would be. Talking to may students who have been to New Zealand before I became under the impression that tests here would be much harder than back home. However, just like back home you get out what you put in. I just put in a good amount of studying for my first exam, and I’m pretty confident I will get a good grade out of it 🙂
Most importantly, I’ve had to academically adjust to living seaside in a beautiful city that I never want to leave. Finding a good balance between school and exploring is tricky, but not impossible!