About Academic Life

Janice Han
October 28, 2013

I just finished all my IES midterms! (Here in Spain university courses normally don’t have midterms. Final exam determines 70-80% of your grade!!)

In this post, I want to talk about workload and classes. Before coming here, many folks who have studied abroad told me that study abroad is an opportunity to escape from choking amount of work on campus. So, my expectation when I came to Spain was that I would have lots of free time for traveling + night life etc. Well, I realized that it was one of the illusions of study abroad.

This is my personal opinion but many other friends seem to agree on this point: IES classes are not very difficult, but they give us lots of homework! Especially for the language class (which is obligatory) we have weekly homework on top of other sporadic homework.You actually have to work hard to get things done. Good thing is that IES professors are very nice and super accessible. They take into account that we are foreigners and offer help all the time.

I am taking two courses at the Universidad de Salamanca: Economía política, and Instituciones y Derecho de la Unión Europea. Both courses meet twice a week. For each course, we have a lecture class and a practica class. For my econ class, for example, Monday is practica and we correct our homework (problem sets). Wednesday is a full lecture class. Practica sessions are smaller than lecture class and thus promote discussion/participation. I feel comfortable in my econ class, but the European Union class is hard. We actually get to read the treaties of the EU and analyze them. For practica, we have to write a 1,000 word essay. This class is for the third year students, which explains why it is hard. (It’s recommended to take 1st yr courses while you are here, but if you really want to take a class that is not the first year course, I encourage you to follow your heart!) I don’t have any background knowledge of the EU, so the whole material is very new to me. I have to work hard, but I love this class. One should learn about EU while she is in Europe!

You will be busy doing school work when you study abroad. Obviously you’ll get to enjoy your weekend and all but during the week you probably have to work hard. So! Don’t come here expecting that you’ll have a very lax academic life!! In fact, it’s “study” abroad, not “play” abroad ;)


Janice Han

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Janice is a junior from Claremont McKenna College, majoring in Government and Literature. Although Janice was born in California, she grew up in South Korea for almost twenty years before she came back to SoCal for college. Janice loves chocolate ice creams, Dostoevsky, ribbons (blue and pink), Korean food, (her) diary and black dresses. She also likes to write stories, cook, bake, and bask in the sun. Janice has never been to Europe and is super excited to spend her semester in Spain.</span></p>

2013 Fall
Home University:
Claremont McKenna College
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