Hello again you!
It has now been more than 100 days since I have been on my exchange in Gent. How did that even happen? Seriously.
Now that a lot of you are done and free from exams, I thought this would be the perfect time to depress and share with you the second portion of life at Gent: Academics!
I’m just kidding, academics is actually really good! It’s the best investment you can have.
So without further a due, let us begin!
(Wait wait, before I continue, I forgot to talk about something that I said I was going to in my last post, but ofcourse I would forget because i’m so forgetful about everything it’s only normal..
I said that I would get back to the fact that everyone in Gent speaks English very well. Wherever you go in Gent, everyone I have come across has spoken English to me with no problem whatsoever. It really is an exchange-student friendly city and they are aware that we will be lost without some form of English. It is surprisingly more accommodating than Brussels, given the fact that Brussels is the Capital of Belgium and is the headquarters of the EU parliament…weird. But anyway, you should definitely come here because when you do you will not have a problem communicating with people at all!)
Section 2: Academics
So as I have mentioned in my previous posts, I am an exchange student studying law at the University of Gent. I will, therefore, mostly be talking about my law experience and so I apologise if it does not come across as very helpful to some of you. 😦
Anyways, being an exchange student here, you mostly choose Masters Courses to study throughout your semester/year. You will be informed of this before you leave ofcourse, as the majority of universities that offer exchange courses offer Masters Classes to be taught on students’ exchange.
Upon your arrival to Gent, you will have an information session held during the first week before classes begin. In that session, you will be informed that you will be having an induction session for your specific school and in that induction session you will have a full overview of what to expect from your year abroad. You will be given a list of courses available to you and when you are to take them (semster 1 or 2) and the timings and dates of those courses. As I have said before, Gent University makes it really easy and smooth to be an exchange student and so far I have not encountered any difficulties.
Once you have chosen your courses, you will have access to them on your account through Oasis and Minerva. You will have had experience with Oasis by that time as you will use it to enrol for the year as an exchange student. You can have a look at how the website looks like here:- oasis.ugent.be. As for Minerva, it is the moodle equivalent and so that is where you will access all the documents, presentation slides, student submissions and so on. You can have a look at how Minerva looks like here:- minerva.ugent.be/index.php
I don’t know how third year is going back in Glasgow University, but it is certainly different to what second year was like. The majority of the classes involve some form of substantive preparation as well as participation in class. It is basically one big tutorial/seminar that makes sure you are aware of what is going on. I think it is similar to Glasgow’s third year, so generally third year is more you than the lecturer/tutor. There are also plenty of presentations and assignments as opposed to only attendance. Again, this is just me comparing it to how law is, it could be very different for other majors.
Another difference is the availability of choice for the student in terms of what courses to take. Some courses might not be available depending on the year and the level of demand as well as the difficulty level, as some are slightly too difficult for LLB/Bachelors students to take. Others are open to your liking, so you can literally choose to enrol to any kind of class out there provided you are eligible for it.
Once you are settled with what you decide to take and are in the game of concentration and focus, it comes down to whether or not you do well in your assessments. Some courses provide you with just a presentation along with participation. Some courses ask for a paper as well as a presentation. Some courses might require you to take part of a mock trial, or a debate of some form. All these assessments are summative, so they form part of your final result. A lot of courses have a final exam ofcourse. It’s important to keep in mind though that exams here never form 100% of your grade, which was how it was in Glasgow University for some of my courses.
Final exams take place after the Christmas break in Gent. So as you are all probably free, I will be starting my exam studying now. The exams usually take place sometime during the months of January/ February, where this year it’s from the 9th of Jan- 3rd of Feb.
The workload is not so different from that of Glasgow, so my only advice would be to organise and plan right, and everything will work out the way it should!
I’ll probably make a second post updating this one by the end of second semester, just to give a full and rounded overview of the Academics at Gent University.
And this is where I conclude my post! I’m sorry it’s a bit short and not sooo colorful, I promise my next one will be more vibrant!
Don’t forget, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me!
Until next time,
Amina Husain | Email: 2117991H@student.gla.ac.uk | Facebook: Amina Husain | Instagram: ameena.abd | Twitter: @AWildAmeena