In this week’s article I thought I’d break down my semester as a study abroad student.
As many of you know I was supposed to start my year abroad in Venice. However, when September came around both universities decided that it would be best to postpone my travelling until January, but I could complete the first semester online. Although it seemed a little daunting, my chosen modules for this term are well underway and I’m really enjoying them. Therefore, I thought this week I’d invite you to read about what I’m currently doing this term and a typical day in my life.
As I am a History and English Lit student, I wanted to pick modules that complement both aspects of my degree. Two of my modules are hosted by lecturers from the School of International Education. One module is about the history of Venice and the other is about Italian Lit up until the renaissance. Our online lectures last from an hour and a half to two and a half hours, so much heavier than Leeds! The time does go quickly, which I never thought I’d say after the first week, but I just had to get use to the Italian learning routine. By being part of this particular school’s modules, it means other students on my course are also international students from all over the globe. We have students from Japan, France, Russia and Germany. This makes learning online so much more interesting. Our History of Venice project is to show what influence Venetian art, literature and architecture has had in our home country. This in turn has broadened my own understanding of culture in my own and many other countries.
My other modules consist of Shakespeare and the 19th century English classics. I picked these as a comfort blanket to begin with. I was worried if I didn’t already have knowledge of a subject I could be lost in this new type of schooling. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The first few weeks the lecturers have been so helpful providing us with contextual background as well as where we should be up to reading wise. These lectures mix online students with those physically in Italy, in the classroom. It gives me a taste of what to expect once I get there. So far, these lectures have done nothing but make me feel comfortable and confident in a time of uncertainty; therefore, I’m looking forward to completing this semester, even if it is from my room in Newcastle.
Most days starts at 7:45 am for my first lecture. Italy is one hour ahead, so I start a little earlier than I would in Leeds. On my heaviest day I have two classes back to back from 7:45am until around 10:30am. This seems a lot but getting them done in the morning means I have the rest of the day to catch up on reading, re-write notes and go to work. I’m working to try and save money for when I eventually get there. Venice is a tourist hot-spot meaning the cost of living is higher than at Leeds or Newcastle. Also, after this year I want enough money to say yes to any adventure or experience that comes my way in 2021. As far as work goes for the course, I have set reading, this isn’t as much as it is in Leeds, which is quite refreshing. I’ve found myself enjoying what’s in front of me more then feeling pressured to get it finished. Each lecture is recorded for a week, and if lectures clash or you can’t attend you can easily log in and catch up before your next lecture.
Although the lectures are longer, we have no seminars, so time wise its around the same as my regular course. This has helped me time manage a lot better. It gives me the rest of the day to focus on what needs to be done for the next few classes. It also gives me time to socialise still. I was worried that doing uni abroad from my laptop would make me anti-social but I’ve arranged zoom chats with other international students and I’ve met a girl from Leeds doing the same as me and we talk pretty much every day. It’s proved to me I can still have a social experience through my computer screen, and this term is what I make of it. I’m slightly biased but I think I’m nailing it so far… ciao bella!
Header Image Credit: Study International