A day in the life
At this point, I only have about two-weeks of regular classes left before our Spring Break.
The International Exchange Program (IEP) is different from the majority of other study abroad experiences for a plethora of reasons: we are in classes with local students, which means we get a spring break, we live in local areas with permanent students, international students aren’t introduced and don’t all know each other, and most importantly, we are the ones with an accent. While I am almost positive these all apply for other Marshall exchange programs, I can’t say for certain about programs other than in Manchester.
In the UK, the school system is very laid-back. Course lectures aren’t mandatory, although highly recommended and only course discussions are mandatory. Commonly, professors will record their lectures and post them online. Classes are not graded on participation or attendance but mainly based on exam, presentation or essay grades. Students are given the option to see how each course is graded before enrolling: depending if they are more comfortable with writing essays or writing exams. In the Spring semester, final exams go through to June: even though courses end by the beginning of May, in order to give students time to study (In Fall semester, final exams are taken in January so students have all of winter break to study). Since final exams are taken much later, and most internships start by the end of May, students on exchange are given an option to take courses without final exams – courses without final exams are coursework based, which are due in the beginning of May. Students tend to have all semester to complete their coursework and for good reason… I have four coursework in total: two for one class totaling 3500 words, another being 2750 words and another one that is 3500 words.
I had class 3-4 times a week because one of my discussions was every other Monday. I did not have a class before 11am, so I usually liked to go to the gym in the morning. I tried to wake up around 9am and leave for class by 1030am, in order to keep rhythm decently consistent. That being said, it’s extremely difficult to write about an exact day in the life because I rarely had a day similar to another. Some mornings I would go to campus early to get coffee and food before class, other mornings my friends and I would see the sun and decide to walk, and other mornings I would roll out of bed late for class.
Although I enjoy routine, my favorite part about abroad is how each day is unpredictable. After class, and after getting some work out of the way, exploring a completely new city is unbelievable: the best is mixing exploring with work and finding a new study café within the city center. Whilst it is hard to make friends with locals for only one semester, any international you find on campus or in the city instantaneously becomes your new best friend.
One semester is not enough to understand a new city, so don’t forget to make the most of every, single day.