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Alexander Smith: University of Mannheim vs. Drexel


Hallo again! In this blog post, I want to talk a bit more about the classes here in Mannheim, and more specifically, to compare them to what I am used to at Drexel, as they are somewhat different. One of the big differences of course between Drexel and mannheim is the length of the semester/term itself as Drexel uses the quarter system, and mannheim uses a traditional semester system like many other schools in both Europe and the U.S. This makes for a semester that really feels much more relaxed, which is a nice change, but also strange. While the ten week terms at Drexel make for a more rushed and stressful term, I am quite used to this now, so coming to a school that has longer terms just seems a bit different. I feel as though I should already be rushing to get all of the work complete and begin studying for exams, but really they are still over a month away.

Another big difference between the two schools is the workload. Since most classes in mannheim only consist of a final exam to determine your grade, there isn’t much work to do during the semester, other than going to class and reviewing what you’ve learned. This is very different from Drexel where some classes have two or even three midterm exams plus quizzes, projects, and homework assignments, all while being compressed over the ten week term. With mannheim only having the final exam, the workload during the semester is much lighter than at Drexel, but come final exam time will probably be a bit more stressful since the exam counts for the entire grade in the class.

The classes themselves are a little bit different from the way classes are taught at Drexel, but not all that different. Like Drexel, most of my professors/instructors choose to teach from a PowerPoint, and mostly lecture at the class, with some occasional questions/discussions from the students. Also like Drexel, mannheim has grad/PhD/upper level students that teach in addition to the professors. Usually at Drexel the TA’s will teach or assist instead of the professor one day a week or so, but at mannheim they actually instruct the entire exercise and tutorial class sections of the courses, which are like the recitations we have at Drexel for lecture classes.

Hopefully that gives you a good idea about the classes here, and for prospective study abroad students, you can see that studying at mannheim or a similar semester school might be a nice change from the fast paced quarters at Drexel. In my next blog post I’ll try to explain more about the exams and how they are graded, since this is a pretty important part of the study part of studying abroad, especially since so many classes here are only made up of the final exam grade and nothing else. Until then, auf wiedersehen!

(Picture is of the museum part of the Schloss- the main university building of Mannheim. This section of the building was restored to the way it would have been before the university acquired it and does not have classrooms like the other wings do.)

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