Sunday, April 13, 2008

Putting the 'Study' in Study Abroad

My parents can be assured that the lack of blog entries recently means school has picked up and I’ve been trying to be productive. I’ve had heaps of reading and papers to do since Easter Break ended. (“Heaps” is definitely an Aussie phrase. I hung out with a group of college kids who said it all the time, as in “That’s heaps cool” and “I was heaps drunk.”)

Something the other American students and I have noticed is how much less Australians talk about their schoolwork. In the States, it’s always a competition over who has more to do. We stress ourselves out by constantly talking about school and how busy we are.

I don’t think Australians work less than we do, in fact, the courses may require more effort to really do well. But I think it’s more personal for Australians and not as competitive. This probably has to do with the grading system, which is very different from home. It falls more along a bell curve than the inflated grades in the U.S. Here, you can pass with a 50 percent and 65 percent is a “credit.” Most people are pleased with a credit. A “distinction” is usually in the 75-85 percent range and isn’t given to everyone. A “high distinction” is very rare.

A paper I know would have easily gotten an A at Mizzou got a 13 out of 20 here, and everyone said my “credit” was great for a first paper. It definitely changes how you think about grades. It’s nice getting As all the time at home, but at least here I know my “distinction” really means something.

Anyway, time to get back to my next paper.

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