Classes and Cardiff
“Why are there so many kilts in Wales?”
I’ve been living in London for over 2 weeks now and I can certainly say that it often feels surreal. Last week I took a tour of the city with the intention of familiarizing myself with locations in the city, however I now find myself appreciating the city’s history as well. It’s funny to think that over 2,000 years ago where I live in Westminster was just fields, and all that was cultivated was a small section we now refer to as the City of London. It’s a little different now, while I can still find a patch of grass, it’s much more common to see pavement all day.
This past week marked the beginning of the semester at Cass Business School, and so far there have been a number of similarities and differences between courses in the UK and USA. While the principles around lecture are basically the same, the atmosphere for learning here is more relaxed. The motivation to learn here is more self-oriented, you have to want to learn for yourself. This is achieved through having only one or two exams or papers a semester, rather than multiple midterms and weekly homework assignments. However don’t think that you can just sleep through class, there are multiple readings a week and in-class discussion is popular to ensure that you fully grasp the concepts. It also puts a lot of pressure on those few assignments you do have for a grade, so studying is extremely important. Traditionally students get a month break to study for exams, however for study abroad my semester will end in April, so I get to take alternative assessments. Along with my business courses, I’m also lucky to be taking culture courses here. My favorite class so far is ‘Performing Arts in London’, and it’s not too hard to figure out why! We get to learn about the theater industry and attend 5 performances, including the ballet, opera, and a Shakespearian play.
There’s still a lot of learning to be done outside of the classroom here, and this weekend in Cardiff was no different. It was a bit more of a common sense lesson, but I learned to do research before you go somewhere. Cardiff is a historic port city in Wales, known for its castles, boardwalk, and RUGBY. So it’s fitting that I unknowingly choose to go to Cardiff during the Wales vs. Scotland rugby match! It was an experience like no other; the entire city was shutdown for the match! The streets were flooded with people wearing the Wales flag on their face and Scots in kilts, it was not your typical day in Cardiff, but it brought out the heart of Wales and a unique facet of their culture. I was also surprised that everyone was nice to the opposing teams fans, which is often not the case in America. It was also gave me a little bit of insight into Scotland, who despite losing, brought out the bagpipes and partied in the streets of Cardiff. (They ended up singing “Country Roads Take Me Home” in the middle of the street, and I will always be confused to why it happened, but I loved every second.) Even though I had a great time, I recommend doing a simple Google search to find out what’s going on during your visit so you can plan accordingly!