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Sunday, 26 October 2014

5 Differences Between UK and Singapore Study Experience

Hi everyone!

It has been a while since I've posted as I've been so busy with work and all. I've got an essay due every week which barely leaves me any free time to explore London *cries*. Just for fun, I thought it would be nice to share my insights about the classes here in UK and the people here compared to back home.

#1 Pen Biting

This is one of the things that I've noticed about the students here. Quite a few peeps here seem to bite the ends of their pens (not the nib thankfully)! It is a rather strange habit from my perspective since I think it's unhygienic. Do they do it as it makes them appear to be in deep thought so that they can avoid questions? Or is it just stimulating for the mind?

#2 "Me! Me!"

One of the major differences in class experience here is that many of the students here are pretty enthusiastic about speaking up in class. Everyone has something to say and are eager to share, which is refreshing. Unlike back home, you won't hear anything much besides the Professor droning on. I'm usually pretty quiet in class (beside during discussions) so it's nerve wrecking as hell for me when I want to join in.

#3 The Ratio of Males to Females

There are more guys doing an English BA here than in my university back home, which shows the level of appreciation for humanities here. Usually, there would only be one or two guys in my literature classes and fifteen girls as English is not that popular with the guys (probably there's a stigma that guys doing English are not manly, which is not true by the way). Here, the girl to guy ratio is pretty equal, which is cool. There are even more guys than girls in some classes. The benefit is that there are more eye candy in class I guess? Besides the fact that guys have different perspectives about texts in contrast to girls, which make class discussions more interesting.

#4 Club Nights

I'm not sure if it's because the university I'm at has its own pub and all, but people are really hyped about club nights. On the student events calendar, there are at least 3 club nights every WEEK. The party culture boggles my mind. In Singapore, if you want to party or drink, you'd have to go out to Zouk or somewhere near town area (I think. I'm not really a clubber). If it's not the club in school, then they'll be going elsewhere to drink or drinking at friend's places on weeknights (and weekends of course). Understandably, they may not have classes the next day and have every right to relax. I'm not against it--it's just something I'm not used to seeing. Where do they find the time to even study? One thing I could learn from them for sure is to really take a step back and enjoy life more. Usually, I barely even go out for a movie during a semester period.

#5 Teaching Style

The professors in my classes really do encourage discussions among students. Almost 90% of the time is spent on discussions, although I do feel some of the profs/TAs are awkward at times in the way they direct the flow of the discussions. The flow of the discussion is very much dependent on their response to students' questions and it can end the discussion with an awkward silence. Whereas in Singapore, most of the seminars end up being lectures about theories and a small group discussion which usually lasts for 10-15 minutes. Imagine having a 3 hours seminar with 2.5 hours of lectures and some of the content of the lectures are not even relevant to the topic taught. I've had classes like that in the past and they were incredibly dull. Here, it's 2 hours of class and most of it is spent on discussions. I have to read up most of the theories discussed in class outside of class myself...which I'm used to doing anyway. I can see the benefit of each type of teaching but honestly I wish that classes are a balance of the two such that discussions are more enriching.

Well that's all for now. Sorry if this isn't a fashion-related post that you'd expect to find on the blog. I just thought it would be cool to share my experience overseas for those who plan on visiting UK someday. Plus, it's interesting to observe the differences in the cultures and people all over the world. It makes me aware of the idiosyncrasies and traits unique to my own culture/country, which reinforces my identity as a Singaporean (Maybe my country's government should start sending some locals overseas so they reinforce their identities as Singaporeans better instead of complaining all the time about Singapore.)

Till next time,
El   xoxo
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