Ik weet het niet. "I do not know" in Dutch. That is how I feel about school at KU Leuven. I do not know anything and I spend all of my time being confused and wondering what is going on. To be honest, I was not prepared for the school system here. When I say the system here is different, I really mean that it is different.
First and foremost, classes here usually only meet once a week for two to five hours at a time. Only a few classes meet multiple times a week, usually language classes. Since they only meet once a week, classes are intense. Right when class starts, the professor begins lecturing. At Loyola, we do not have lecture classes, so this is a major adjustment for me. I am used to small classes where I can develop rapport with my professors and classmates. At KU Leuven, there are too many students to be able to develop these relationships. Secondly, since classes meet so infrequently, there is a lot of required reading to be done for the next class, When I say a lot of reading, I mean 60-100 pages of reading, not just a few pages. I was not prepared in the slightest for this much work do be done on my own. In the States, there is not as much work done outside of the classroom, since class meets more often than they do in Leuven. The third major difference is in the grading system. In America, there are multiple grades in a class, from papers, quizzes, and even attendance. At KU Leuven, classes have only one grade, wither an oral exam, written exam, or a paper. If you do not do well on the final, there is nothing to boost your grade. That is what scares me. There is nothing helping me except for doing well on the final. That terrifies me.
I am scared of the school system here. I do not feel prepared to do this. Although it has been a hard adjustment, I know that the only way out of a bad situation is through. I know I am capable of doing the work here, I just have to motivate myself. Never did I think that adjusting to a new school system would be so difficult, yet it had been the hardest adjustment thus far. This term, I am taking seven classes, more than I normally take, including Dutch language, "The Low Countries" history, Introduction to Ethics, theology, Travel Writing, Popular Culture, and European Culture and Society.I will continue to keep you, my faithful readers, updated on my progress with school.