As everyone back at Norbs is getting ready for midterms, I’m preparing for something much different….final exams! I know what you’re thinking…it’s mid- October. It’s fall, not the end of the semester. Well, since New Zealand is in the opposite hemisphere, it’s actually getting to be summer here. I’ve been here since the beginning of July so I have in fact completed a whole semester (crazy, right?!), but I still have a while to go. Friday marks the end of regular classes, but I still am here for a month and a half. Not for traveling (although I am going to be doing some in between exams), but because exams here last a whole month. I guess they take studying pretty seriously..? I only have four exams to take, but they are worth way more than back home. Off the top of my head, I think each one is worth between 40%-60% of my final grade so a lot more is riding on them. I haven’t had to take a single test yet, so I’m not really sure what they expect, which is a little scary.
Since my classroom experience is ending, I was reflecting on the semester I’ve had. Being at a school of around 20,000 classes are way different. I’m used to 30 kids at the most and my teacher knowing not only my name, but also my personality and work ethic in most cases. Here, classes are around 50-60 students in big lecture rooms. We have tutorials that a separate instructor teaches in smaller size classes once a week as well. One of my lecturers knows my name but I’m sure none of the others or the tutors do. It’s been interesting having this experience for one semester, but it confirms that I have undoubtedly made the right decision going to St. Norbert. I find it so much easier to follow the information and ask questions. I feel like I learn so much better in the smaller classes at Norbs. Also, I never thought I’d say this, but I like that we have more class time at Norbs. Here, one of my classes I only have two hours a week. Lectures always seem to be rushing through all the information because they don’t have enough time. All in all, I’m glad I got the typical “big school” experience, but it will be nice to get back home!
Cindy Frisch is studying abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.