Approaching the halfway mark in my study abroad experience means things are starting to really pick up! So in other words, this post is going to concentrate on the “studying” part of studying abroad. In my pervious post I held off on talking about school at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid a.k.a. Carlos Tercero a.k.a. UC3M because everything was still all so new to me. Now that I have been enrolled at UC3M for a few weeks, I feel like I have a better understanding of how things are done here vs. how things are done in the States based on my experience at UC3M so far.
My classes consist of two electives Art History II and Contemporary History of Spain and two business courses Marketing Management and Marketing Research.
With that said, here are a few things that have stood out:
- Navigating Aula Global (the online website, or Howdy Portal equivalent) can be tricky. Signing up for classes on your own and just a few days before classes start on a completely new website was beyond frustrating. Luckily, I got all the classes I wanted, so I must have been doing something right!
- Grades consist of few a projects, presentations, and exams. This was not really that new to me but I still would say that this is a bit different than how things are done at A&M. For example, in Art History II our final grade consists of a presentation, a paper, and the final – all of which was completed in the second half of the semester. In Contemporary History of Spain, our final grade consists of two 5-page papers and one 25-page group paper.
- Grades are put in basically… whenever! This was completely new to me!! At A&M I was used to turning in an assignment or completing an exam and having my grade available within days, and sometimes even hours! We are midway through the semester and I have yet to have a single grade uploaded in at least two of my courses. This completely baffles me! How can students go through an entire semester and just barely be figuring out their grades towards the end of the semester!
- Many teachers just read off their PowerPoint slides in lectures. Two out of four of my teachers have fallen into this trap and many of my friends have said the same about their teachers. In my opinion, paraphrasing PowerPoint slides would make lectures more interesting and engaging but when a teacher just stands at the back of the class and reads off of their PowerPoint print out then lectures start to blur together.
- Working in a group projects is a must. All of my courses have a least one major presentation or paper completed in a group. Staying on top of group projects while trying to accommodate for everyone’s busy traveling schedule is really difficult to do. I will say that the neat thing about group projects is that you get to get close to your classmates easier when forced to work in a group. I have met some of the coolest people through working in my group projects!
Lastly, if you are planning on studying at UC3M try to not live in Getafe. This is strictly my opinion, but let me explain why I think you should stay away form living on campus (or near campus). Getafe is a beautiful small time city but there is not much to do there compared to living in the city center of Madrid. If you live in the city center then I think you feel more inclined to do fun sightseeing, eating, or exploring in Madrid.
I hope this helps… hasta luego!