Well I’ve just finished my first week of seminars, so I finally have a heads up about what the semester ahead has in store. It’s going to be pretty different to how things are run in Leicester, that’s for sure…
Ok so firstly, there are no compulsory modules here. You can choose to apply for any courses you want to, the tutor just has to say whether there is enough room in the class for you. It’s kind of liberating and exciting (I never have to study Medieval literature again!) but also I am horrendous at making decisions, so this has caused a lot of stress. Another thing I’ve found weird is that a lot of students here have just turned up to the first class to see what it’s like, and then they’ll drop the courses they didn’t like the look of after this week. The concept of trying a module out before you commit is so alien to me, I don’t think I’d be brave enough to ditch anything I’ve signed up for.
Also, the modules aren’t like at Leicester, where you have a lecture and a corresponding seminar and sometimes a group meeting as well. Here you choose to have a seminar course, or a lecture course, and the seminars include a presentation which may or may not be in a group, and the lecture involves a written or oral exam.
I now have 5 modules instead of 3, which is going to be interesting to try and juggle the workload for!
To make up for that, some of my classes should theoretically be easier than I’m used to. My modules are split up into things called Proseminar I’s, Proseminar II’s, and Hauptseminars. The Proseminar I’s are meant to be like first year of university level, which is cool.
To make up for that, I was unpleasantly surprised when I turned up to my Hauptseminar to discover that it is in fact a Masters class. Everyone there already had one degree, had been studying at Heidelberg for years, and most of them were fairly old and married too. Boy did I feel like a duck out of water! I’m trying not to freak out about the workload, but already I can see the massive difference between my proseminar I’s and the Hauptseminar. My homework for one of my Proseminar I’s was to read a fairy tale. My homework for the Hauptseminar was to read two pieces of literary criticism, and familiarise myself with the entirety of Descarte’s works… yep.
On the bright side, my courses seem pretty cool. Incase you’re interested, I’m doing:
- The Fairy Tale- proseminar I
- Ernest Hemingway- proseminar I
- Australian Literature and Culture- Proseminar II
- Americans in Europe: Transatlantic reflections- Proseminar II
- The Troubled Self- Hauptseminar
So I’ll keep you updated on how classes go once I have an actual class instead of the introductory classes I had this week 🙂 I’m nervous, but also pretty excited to actually start studying again, instead of feeling like I’m on an unusual extended holiday.