A comparative study as to the dynamics of learning.*
It’s very interesting to view college life here as compared to that at my university in Belgium.
In Brussels, a one-to-three o’clock lecture will start at one, but will be interrupted by a ten-minute break at two. Here, though listed as running from one to three, the course actually goes from 13:15 to 14:45 — without a bathroom or snack break in the middle (imagine!). Students are all there about 15 min early, but routinely get up to go to the bathroom, whereas in Belgium, it’s perfectly normal to arrive late, but once you’re there, you generally stay put until the break.
Speaking of time, none of the rooms here seem to have a slowly-ticking clock prominently displayed at the front. Also lacking are plugs, which is odd. In Belgium, every third row of seats is equipped with plugs, so that you can charge up your computer while writing. Then again,
in seminars, students here don’t seem to actually take any notes. The emphasis lies more on discussing and analyzing the set readings, which is great! Once a class is over, the students sort of rumble on the desk with their knuckles. This took me quite by surprise the first time. In Belgium, the teachers never get applauded, except tumultuously at the very last lecture.
Finally, coming from a university of about 3000 students,everything here seems larger : the campus itself — erm, well, actually even having a campus is a new thing — the library, the cafeteria. The cafeteria, or Mensa, as it is called, is huge. (Anything is large compared to mine back home, which only offers pizza and pasta.) Here there’s a variety of meals on offer — though potatoes do tend to be a recurring ingredient. After paying with your hight-tech Mensa-Card at one of the ten cash registers, you can go and sit at a table overlooking a pond surrounded by birch trees. One last thing : I enjoy the atmosphere in the Mensa, which is frequented by both students and professors. I find it a nice symbol not to implement a staff/student body separation.
And on this profound thought, I shall sign out, leaving you with a picture of fluffy spring petals.