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Studying Abroad--Who said you have to do school work?!

As I approach the middle of my fifth week here at the University of Ulster-Jordanstown, I would like it's a crime to do school work. Let me explain. The Irish culture is MUCH slower paced than the rest of the world. They do everything here with a little bit of a drag, except for driving. Most students that I have talked to here have yet to even open a book for any of their classes. Now, I understand that may be the case for some students at the U of M, but not me. I feel like I am already falling behind, yet Irish students keep telling me not to worry.

School here is a bit different than back home. I am only taking 3 modules or classes as we know them in the States. All students here that go through the 3 year course are handed their schedule at the beginning of the semester and are not allowed to change their classes unless they change the whole course that they are on. Professors are called lecturers, classes are called modules, majors are called courses, and craic is not a drug, rather a term for 'fun'....I am learning so much lingo here. I am only in class for about 9 hours a week, consisting of 3 lectures (1-2 hours each), 2 seminars (1 hours each), and a lab (2 hours, but rarely ever takes the whole time). I have so much downtime during the day that I have been able to sharpen up my Facebook skills quite well. The lecturers here expect there to be many readings down for the end of the semester from multiple books, for example, there are close to 20 books that I must read excerpts from in order to use them on my exam at the end of semester. We are only graded on two things here-coursework and exam. Coursework is worth 40% of my total grade and that consists of either a lab book, a presentation or an essay alone. Exams are worth 60% of our grade, and they are all essay exams. Some are seen exams, where you see the questions prior to the exam, and some are closed exams. Although I do not like exams, at all, I am a bit more confident because they are all essay. I was told that classes were easier overseas than they are at our home institutions, but I'm not so sure I believe that. I don't think that classes here are any easier, I just think they are very different than home, and it makes it a challenge to get used to the processes here.

I spent the day today 'playing catch up'; the story of my life. I was able to reread and write 3 lectures from the past couple of weeks and read a little bit. I still feel like I have a quite a bit to do, but unfortunately have lost the motivation to do so. Maybe I'll start fresh tomorrow.

On the upside, I am having the time of my life here in Ireland. It was a big step to come here for the semester, but I truly believe that it has been all worth it. If you are even considering studying abroad, I would start looking into it now. There are so many great programs out there and if you have done your research homework, you will be able to find the one that suites you the best!

Until next time...

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