Alright, real talk here. Module (aka course) registration is stressful. And not your normal amount of course registration stress—like REALLY stressful. But guess what? I survived!!!! And, if I’m being totally honest, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. This is my personal experience with module registration, which is something you will have to do if you are directly enrolling in a university. Of course, it’s going to be at least a little different at any other school, but I hope my experience will help you no matter where you choose to study abroad!
Before You CHOOSE Your Study Abroad Destination
When you study abroad, you will be (gasp!) studying abroad. This means going to class, taking tests, writing essays…you know the deal. So when choosing your destination, it is extremely important to consider what kinds of classes you are going to be taking. If you are directly enrolling in a university, there are often course lists with descriptions from previous years available for you to take a look at. You can also go to your advisor at your home school to make sure that those courses will transfer over, or even fulfill some of your general education, major, or minor requirements! Which modules were available at one school versus another was one of the deciding factors in choosing where I wanted to study abroad. I am SO glad that I looked ahead of time because it made my life so much easier when I got here.
BEFORE Registration Week
When I arrived in Dublin, I didn’t have to register for classes for a whole three and a half more weeks. And that meant, me being me, that as soon as a set foot on campus I was already worried about how and when and where I was supposed to register for classes—that’s about 23 days days of premature worrying that I did not need to deal with (especially when just arriving in a new country!) SO, my advice is to not worry about registration until you have to. Of course, you will need to be looking at what classes you want to take and when they will be happening, but that does not mean you need to stress about it so much that it ruins the fun you could be having exploring your new city!
DURING Registration Week
At the school I am studying abroad at, registration doesn’t take place online (something about sticking to tradition?). This meant that I had to go to each department and ask for signatures for all of my classes in person. This also meant that none of the class times were online—I wouldn’t get the class times until I went to the department to get my signatures. This made it just a bit harder to figure out what classes I would be able to take so that they wouldn’t overlap. But once again, stressing about this did not make the class times magically appear. A better way to deal with this problem? Having a list of back up classes, along with their course registration numbers, so in the event that one of your classes does overlap, you can sign up for a different one right then and there.
AFTER Registration Week
Get excited for all of your awesome new classes! Especially if you will be taking a class or two about the culture, the literature, or the language of the country you are in, you are going to be learning so much and taking classes you would not be able to at your home school. Enjoy and make the most of it!
Don’t stress. Especially if you will not be registering for classes right away (because of orientation week!). Learn from my mistake—stressing will absolutely, in no way, shape, or form make registering any easier, it will make it harder! Part of studying abroad is facing challenges—big and small, cultural and academic.
When thinking about all of the things that could have been different in a new country—the slang, the way of dress, the food, the social norms and ways of life—did I think something as little as registering for classes was going to be such a different experience? No, of course not! But it just goes to show that there are differences between cultures and places that you would have never even considered. On another note, I have been told that registration is the most stressful part of the school year. So if I survived this without scathe, then this semester is going to be great!