Something that has amazed me since I’ve been here, although I wasn’t too surprised, is the fact that many students speak more than two foreign languages. They often talk about their how learning a language after their first foreign one is much easier. That’s something that I think is lacking in the American education system because learning a foreign language greatly improves your access to the rest of the world. Many of the students were required to learn more than one language and this gives them an advantage in the world because communication won’t be a problem for them. Another interesting aspect of the school system here is how they run the exercise and tutorial classes.
They are somewhat like a recitation back at Drexel, but usually much more student driven. In my Management tutorial one student is picked each class to run a discussion about the questions that we are answering for that week. In my Management exercise class, we form small groups and then present our answers to the questions we are working on to the entire class. For Corporate Finance, each week a group of three students does the homework in front of the whole class so you can check to make sure you have done it correctly. Since the lectures are so big there isn’t much interactivity between the lecturer and students, but they do encourage you to ask questions. However, all my other classes incorporate a large amount of interactivity and the teaching assistants really try to put the students in charge of running the exercises and tutorials.
Being an American in a European country is an interesting experience because you get to see other people’s reactions to your country. I knew that America’s reputation in the rest of the world has taken a hit over the past few years and it’s interesting to see what people think of my country. In one of my classes I saw a German student wearing a sweatshirt that said “US World Domination Tour: Bombing a Country Near You” and then it listed a bunch of dates and countries that the US has bombed over the past half century. It’s easy to tell his view of the US government, but I was wondering how he felt about Americans as people. Another student that I met the same day had a completely different idea of the US. He absolutely loves the country and had been to Houston and Dallas before. He actually asked me why I would ever leave the country just because he thought it was the coolest place ever. The differing views that you find here are quite interesting and I’m learning more and more about how others perceive our country every day.