Classes here and @ home: huge differences and small similarities

Posted at: 16 Nov 2017

If you are planning to study in Amsterdam, you should know a few things about rules and habits.

Contrary to appearances, studying abroad is not that easy. Apart from the linguistic and/or cultural barriers, it is important to remember that there are different rules when it comes to study in another country. That is why, after 2 months in Amsterdam, I can tell you that studying here is very different from studying in Poland.

Let’s start with the differences because there are more of them than similarities ;)

First of all, in Poland, we speak to the teachers using their scientific titles. This is very important because if he/she is a Doctor of Science and you call him/her Doctor of Philosophy, he/she can be offended. Academic teachers in Poland pay a great deal of attention to academic titles. Yet, here, which was a big surprise for me and therefore very hard to adapt, everyone uses only people’s name! Employees at the reception desk, in the library, in the administration office, as well as teachers and even deans, .. everybody really! In my opinion, this is very nice as it reduces the distance between a student and a teacher.

Another difference is that, in Poland, during every classes, the teacher checks the timesheet, regardless whether it is a laboratory exercises, seminar or auditing class. However, here, it is not really respected (in my faculty, the teacher checks the timesheet for only 1 subject).

Here there are no colloquium or short tests before classes, which is very popular back in Poland in order to check students’ knowledge before practice/laboratory classes. Back home, after almost every class, we have to give to the teacher a report of the exercises. It is very important because if you don’t give it, you can fail the subject. Usually, we have to give this report maximum 1 week after the
class. Here, we only have to do some assignments but ultimately not that often, nor for every class.

Interestingly, the scale for the rating is from 1 to 10, while in Poland it is from 1 to 5. I had to pay attention to this because for one assignment I got 5.5 points and I was surprised and proud to receive such a high score ! Unfortunately it turned out that 5.5 points pass the assignment and the maximum rating is 10…. Hahahaha

Further, in Poland, the academic year consists of 2 semesters. Here, there are 4 blocks or 6 periods between which an examination session takes place.

Last but not least, a last difference is that, contrary to Poland, here the consumption of alcohol drinks with a teachers in the faculty and during a classes is accepted (weird, am I right ?!).

Nonetheless, I have noticed a few similarities related to studying here and in Poland. In both countries, emphasis is placed on teamworks. For example, Dutch students are mixed in groups with international students.

Further, almost at the end of every subject, and similarity to what we do in Poland, we have to prepare a multimedia presentation.

All in all, with this post, I hope I could give you a bit of a glimpse of what studying in my faculty in Amsterdam really looks like and what you can expect if you come here to do your Erasmus!

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