Students fly across the pond to study abroad

Junior Alanna Stanton sits outside of Wollaton Hall in England during her study abroad experience at the University of Nottingham. Stanton noticed many differences in teaching style and class structure while studying in England.
Photo courtesy of Alanna Stanton

Known for the castles, royalty and history, Great Britain is one of the many locations that Linfield students can chose from to study aboard.

This fall semester, Linfield has nine students studying at the University of Nottingham.

Junior Alanna Stanton sits outside of Wollaton Hall in England during her study abroad experience at the University of Nottingham. Stanton noticed many differences in teaching style and class structure while studying in England.
Photo courtesy of Alanna Stanton

Junior Chelsea Ploof’s adjustment to Great Britain culture hasn’t been as difficult as she predicted.

“I still get tripped up by the 24-hour clock and how they refer to time. Instead of saying 3:30 for example, the British would ask you to meet them at half 3. Or, they might even say half past or a quarter past and you have to determine what hour they are talking about,” Ploof said via email. “Also, currency is a challenge. I still get confused about the proper terms for each coin and the slang that is used to refer to pounds.”

When looking at the difference in schools, fellow junior Alanna Stanton has noticed the teaching style differences between Linfield and the University of Nottingham.

“The courses have a lot less mandatory reading [which] are much larger,” Stanton said via email. “They seem to take the approach of ‘here are about 30 additional books that have good info on the subject we discussed in lecture, feel free to do more reading.’ You seem to in a sense design your own course in a way. Focus on the parts you find really interesting.”

With more independence in their learning, Linfield students adjust to a new type of grading system.

“The British do not typically have a GPA or letter grades,” Ploof said. “Instead, they receive marks based on percentages of the rest of the class. Their marks are also on a totally different scale than us. For example, 70 is superior here where as in the U.S., it would be seen as average work. In order to get a superior mark, you also have to go above and beyond the expected amount of work. Your overall mark is usually dependent on only one exam or one paper. You have to conduct a lot of independent study and determine what is important and what is not.”

While Great Britain is filled with historical culture, those who come to Linfield from Great Britain see a lack of history behind the American culture.

Sophomore exchange student, Marit Berning grew up in Great Britain and in coming to Linfield has noticed some distinct differences in culture.

“The hardest thing about moving to America was getting used to the lack of historical culture,” Berning said via email. “In England, even the sidewalks have been around for 200 years, not to mention all of the buildings, statues are so steeped in history. Coming to America was an aesthetic shock due to the newness of everything.”

Another difference Berning has encountered is the hospitality of Americans, more specifically those on the West coast.

“Americans are much more hospitable than Londoners (I can’t really speak for the whole of England),” Berning said. “Everyone seems eager to help here, and the general air is that if someone can go out of their way to make your day notably better, they will.”

While Great Britain and America are different, both Berning and Ploof, along with many other Linfield students, have positive experiences fueling their visits to each country.

“I have never felt so accepted and so at home while abroad before,” Ploof said. “Elements of the culture that I was originally nervous about, only make the experience that much better. I love all the opportunities and diversity that a big university has to offer, and I am really enjoying the social life. If I had to pick one word I would say opportunity. There are so many ways to get involved here.  If you ever get bored of Nottingham or even England, all you need to do is just hop on a train or a plane and travel. The world is your oyster in the UK.”

Kaylyn Peterson

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