In the last 17 days that I’ve been in Strasbourg, the one thing that has become apparently clear is that England spoonfeeds it’s university students.
In Strasbourg, the phrase “you are on your own” has defined my experience so far. I thought that I was independent whilst at Leicester, I had modules to choose from, I had assignments and essays and I did independent research. Whereas, in Strasbourg it is a completely different playing field. You choose which modules you want to do and which seminar you want to attend and then make your own timetable and it is up to you to make sure that the modules don’t clash or overlap and that the classes are not already full. You then have to make an appointment for ‘pedagogiques inscription’, which is where you meet with a department administrator and she/he creates your online timetable from your choices. And these appointments have to be booked at least two weeks in advance because four administrators have to do it for all the students studying History (in Strasbourg the History department is one of the largest departments). During the wait for your ‘pedagogiques inscription’ you still have to attend classes and seminars whilst still unsure of whether or not you can actually take them. And not all the courses modules start at the same time, or same week, or even the same month. I have modules that started last week and some that start in the middle of October.
In Leicester, I have never had to think about Credits and ECTs because the department does all that. I just attend my lectures and seminars with the knowledge that all that is taken care of. But this is not the case in Strasbourg, I have to choose the modules with the right amount of ECTs and make sure that they add up to 30 per semester because the modules vary in ECTs, some 3, some 6, and some 9. Which means instead of the usual 3 modules (per semester) that I had in Leicester, I now have 7 modules and instead of the 10-12 contact hours, I now have 18-20 contact hours a week.
I remember that whilst Leicester I use to complain that the personalised timetables were not online the week before university started. Now that I’m here, I really wouldn’t mind a personalised timetable that is online a week after university started because at this point it’ll be mid-October before I get a personalised timetable. I now have a new appreciation for the administrative department at the University of Leicester and have vowed never to complain again about the little things they don’t do compared to everything else that they do.