After being in classes for close to a month now it is pretty clear how different things are here. It is a definitely a style that takes some adjusting and getting used to. Between getting used to the culture, settling down into my new home, trying to travel as much as possible, and being hit with classes with away, it sure was a big bite to take.
At Drexel we are used to have 3-5 classes a day that last anywhere from an hour to and hour and a half. Typically each course we will meet 2-3 times a week, making it easier to constantly keep it on your mind and spreading out the workload more evenly. Unfortunately, that it now how things are at Ruhr Universität. However, Germany is known for their engineering, so maybe they are on to something.
Rather than meeting multiple times a week for the same class, we will typically only meet once a week for every class and only have one class a day, but it will last over 4 hours. When I first found this out, I was immediately alarmed and nervous to see how it would turn out. I could not picture myself sitting in a class for 2 hours, let along 4+ hours. After getting started, the longer classes were not as bad as I expected, but it’s the work that came along with it that was unlike what I am typically used to. Since a lot of information is covered at once and we only meet once a week, the amount of independent work is much greater and it is much more important to keep up on your work. I no longer had class multiple times a week where the work comes slowly and I am constantly reminded of it. With the classes here it is much more important to motivate yourself to review more on your own and keep up on the work as it comes. It is very easy to push it off because there are no consequences at first, but it will quickly come back to bite you making things much harder to catch up with in the end. At Drexel I normally just do the work right after class while it is still fresh on my mind, but after being in a 4-hour class, the last thing I feel like doing is more work for that course. The fact that I am in a new country with plenty of new opportunities does not make this any easier either. This is a whole new type of time management that I am finally getting a hang of.