I think every international student had a rough week of classes as we learned a completely new system of teaching that none of us have experienced at our home schools. I was not prepared for the schooling system to be so different. This post is not meant to be a negative view on Liverpool Hope University, but a comprehensive overview of my first week of education.
First, I am not used to taking a bus to school. We have been having issues with the buses being on time and having enough room to fit all students. I have a large friend group, but it seems every day two or three miss the bus because of capacity issues.
Second, they don’t have a solid schedule and even during the first week of school, classes were changing days and times. So, if I wanted to take a religion course there is no guarantee it is in the room, day or time that I was told. The first day, six of us had to change our whole schedule. There is no Registrar’s Office, so there is no person who knows or can pull up a scheduling page to see what classes are available. You have to email the teacher to figure out when and where classes will be held. I missed classes because I was not aware they were being held.
Positives: the teachers and RAs are very nice and willing to help me. I am thankful they did not mind me missing classes and being late due to buses and traffic. We even discussed starting class a few minutes later.
Third, after a week, I finally fixed my schedule. Although it is not set in stone as I switched classes on Week Two, in which the courses were set. I have dropped two of my courses and doubled my credits (I was taking 15 credits for 30 credits of work in my courses anyways) so I feel much less stressed not trying to be everywhere at the same time.
Fourth is a neutral thought. Classes are structured very different. I enjoy both structures equally. There is a singular title covering a class, but it would be equal to multiple U.S. classes. This is my schedule:
Monday: the whole day is Creative Writing
9-10am: Discuss a topic such as empathy or values in writing.
10-12pm: Study, work, and discuss the aspects of empathy found in the stories. Then, apply it in writing exercises.
1-3pm: Receive feedback from teachers and peers on text created the week prior.
4-5pm: Same as above, but different class.
Tuesday/Wednesday: Dance in a Critical Context
This is a little mushier of times so far, but the class includes:
Tanique both days.
Site and screen specific work.
Working with school-age students in school.
There are three professors that all take part in teaching us and pass us between each of them.
The system is more organized than it sounds, but this is how I can explain it at this time.
My classes range between 4-20 people.
The fifth point is the classroom setting in regard to COVID. The two learning campuses have different rules. While we are supposed to wear masks when walking around campus, lots of people do not. On Hope’s campus, about 60-80 percent of people wear masks. There are two major rules. In class we have all the windows open. Everyone must leave the room for ten minutes every fifty minutes. Everyone must wear a mask in class unless they have an accommodation which is about 8%-35% of students in class. It feels weird wearing my winter coat in class. Also, I am getting over feeling disrespectful when I place my hood over my head.
Creative campus is different. We do not wear masks, leave the class rooms, or have breaks every fifty minutes.
Finally, the most positive point. I am enjoying my teachers very much. They are all so friendly and helpful, and care about my path and aspiration. They listen and want to help me succeed. I am so thankful for them. I have also made many friends that I love seeing around campus in and out of class. It is a nice atmosphere to always have someone to eat lunch with or say hi to in passing!
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