Second/third week: Lectures, Seminars, Library and Fun!

It’s almost three weeks ago when I left home, and Glasgow is feeling more and more like a second home because of the friends I made and because I’m getting settled in the rhythm of the week with it’s lectures, seminars and social events. And about those things I will tell you all about in this blog. To give you an idea about the campus here is a map of it.

All the lectures for my courses are in lecture theatres which means you are with some 50, or more, other students. All the teachers also use PowerPoint and it depends on the person if they will put everything on moodle (it’s like blackboard, an online study environment) or not. In my course “Classical Civilisation 2B” they even record every college and put that online. Something strange to me were the times of the lectures because every hour a new lectures starts. So according to the rooster you can have one lecture from 11:00-12:00 and another from 12:00-13:00 in an different theatre on the other side of the campus. That’s why (most) lecturers will end their lecture vive minutes earlier and begin vive minutes later. So most lectures are only 50 minutes, and that is about the half of time a lecture in Nijmegen is. This meant in my case that I also have more lectures for one subject then I would have in Nijmegen. One thing I think they should change are the college banks, some of them aren’t made to sit and to make notes. I guess that’s the price you pay to study at an older university. It also depends on the subjects if you have to read something before the lecture or not. For every lecture of “Economic and Social History of Britain after 1914” I have to read a chapter or an article, in my other subjects you don’t have to read anything for a lecture. So in general the lectures are quite the same as in Nijmegen, only now they are in English. But they arn’t difficult to understand, even when some lecturers have a bit of a Scottish accent.

With all the subjects I have, besides lectures, also seminars (you can compare them with workgroups). In every seminar you are with a maximum of 14 other students, and I was surprised that in most seminars there where a lot of other abroad students. So apparently it’s really true that 10% of the students here are international students. For every seminar you have to make a assignment what will take the most of your study time. I was surprised that the primary sources are central, and not the secondary writings. Back home we deal most of time with secondary writings but here they focus far more on the primary sources. At least in the courses I have. For the most assignments you have to go to the library because most courses don’t have a handbook, and most of the time you can chose some articles/chapters to read of a whole list. They only give list of what you can read and not what you should read, only the primary sources are obligated and most of them are on moodle (online). This was really weird for me to experience because in Nijmegen we always have a handbook. Luckily for me every course had a recommend book that I will use as a sort of handbook. For the most seminars I also have to write some essays/papers. The strange thing is that for these you get a whole list of books and articles you should read. So it’s the other way around in comparison with Nijmegen were you don’t get a list of books for an essay and you get a list of books/articles for exams. Most grades of my courses are also made up of one essay and one exam.

The Library
For a History student, and I guess every student, this will be your best friend during your study activities. And it seems that the university agrees with this because the library is open from 8:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the night. So if you have to study for an exam you can make to most of it in the library. Like always you can also borrow books in this library but there is something special with it. There is also a ‘short loan’ where all the books are that you may need for a paper or seminar assignment. Of all copies there are several book only available for a person for 4 or 24 hours. And if there are more copies there are also some of them for you can borrow for a maximum of a week. All to make sure everyone can borrow them to make copies or just to read them. In the library you also find everything you need to print or to read in silence. Especially in the evenings it’s joy to learn/read there in peace. One thing I miss in the library over here is the basement. In Nijmegen it’s easy to just click on a book and it will be delivered to you in 15 minutes. Over here there you can get your own books, but that’s just a bit of laziness from me. Also they have a lot of computers but in the peak times, when it’s lunchtime, it’s the same as in Nijmegen: it’s very difficult to find a computer then.

I already mentioned the International Student Society and the International Banter and I can, after these weeks, only recommend them. The Banter always organises thing in flats of students and it’s always a lot of fun. We had an Haggisparty, were there was actual haggis. And I can say, it isn’t so bad, it’s more between neutral and nice in. Beside that there was also a puddingparty, were everyone just brought sometime sweet like a desert with them, and a acoustic evening with some real Scottish songs.

The international society had also a lot of events I went to. Some examples are the movienight, where they show an (international) movie in a lecture theatre, language coffee, were you can practice your English, salsa classes ect. And also they arrange weekend trips, some of a day and some of more days. Last week we went to Sterling, a nice village with a castle with the history of the Scottish army, and to a whiskey distillery, were we got a morning whiskey at 10:00.

It’s actually far to much to write everything down, but my next blog will be mostly about all the thing you can do over here besides studying. So I will leave this blog for what it is.

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