As last week I briefly talked about my study abroad/exchange experience, I thought that it was not enough! This week I’d like to give you some more insights about what exchange can offer. Given that, what I’m gonna talk about is the difference in academics and the opportunity to travel.
First of all, the the UK system is really different to what I found in the US. When you start studying at Edinburgh Napier, you must get used to tight deadlines and high-value assessment (e.g. 60% and 40%, or 70% and 30%). Despite there are usually fewer assignments (including exams), research needs to be really deep and thought through. On the other hand, what I found in the US was more frequent coursework and more opportunities to get extra credits (and so to raise your overall grade) – although research did not need to be as detailed as it needs to be at Napier. Grades are another main difference: my average in the US was A – which definitely helped my self esteem! 🙂 Here in the UK, you pass with 40%, get a merit with 65% and you’re a genius if you take 70% or more (and even genius grades don’t usually get to over 85%). Now, it may sound scary – but the fact is that if your average is 70% you still can get a degree that is worth it 1:1 (First). So this is a warning for both students who are planning on studying abroad in the US, as well as US students who are coming to study here….just, don’t freak out, you’re fine 😉 In both cases, I found really good lecturers and professors – really helpful, patient and ready to go through things individually (and who are aware of your personal development).
The other (great) thing about my exchange was the chance to travel and see amazing places. The fact that there are many other students helps in terms of planning smart and cheap trips. In addition to many short trips e.g. Hawaii, Yosemite, Death Valley, Vegas, LA, Lake Tahoe, there is one main thing that I need to mention, which is the amazing Crazy American Road Trip that I organised with other four friends (Jamie from Scotland, Jenny from Wales, and Tom and Ace from the US). We planned a month-long road trip during the Christmas break and we visited/touched 32 STATES! What we’ve experienced has been amazing, and above all, affordable. I must admit, we spent some nights freezing in the car cos hostels were too expensive – but come on, if we don’t do it now, then when 😉
You can read more about that crazy experience on my travel blog, but essentially we budgeted everything before leaving not to have surprises along the way. I have amazing memories about that adventure, as what we shared in a month was much more than simply travelling together..being with the same 4 people 24/7 is not always easy, but I feel like the friendship developed will always be special. Here you can see some of my favourite spots visited 🙂
And here a little overview of my experience in a short video, enjoy!
Looking forward to your questions, and…HAPPY HOLIDAYS!