Friday, August 26, 2011

University in Peru!

Well, today is the last day of my first week of Peruvian university! I talked about this in a blog last year, but to refresh your memory, in Peru there are private and public national universities, but since I´m not a national I don´t think public university would be free for me anyway. The problem with public university is that there are a lot of strikes so it can take a long time to finish your degree. Generally, they are less organized and not as clean and secure as private univerisities, having said that this is from what people tell me. I have taken a tour of the national university of Cajamarca, and it seems nice but I have not sat in on any classes there, it is prohibited so I cannot tell you what it is like really.
The differences between Brandon University and the Private University of the North (UPN):
|) Classmates. Most of my classmates are 17-19 years old. You can start university at 16 if you pass the admission test- if you already have a degree you can enter without a test. You go into your career in semester 1 with all the people who are starting that career and you stay with them unti semester 10 (5 years for all occupations) unless you fail or drop out etc, so the class becomes a tight knit group of people. And a small group. In Psychology there are 15 students, so we have all our classes together. Except for those classes like basic math which I have to take at 7 in the morning because I work in the evenings.
2) Class selection. While in Canada we choose every class we want to take, here you only choose your profession. All the courses you will take are laid out for you. The advantage is that you know you are taking the correct classes and the university isn´t making a bunch of money on electives you take and do not need. That´s not to say there aren´t requirements outside your career. Every student has to take University Methodology, Basic Math, Statistics, and Spanish 1 and 2. Unfortunatly the class I most wanted to take, Spanish, is in the evenings so it is impossible. Bad luck. Too bad math wasn´t at that time. Imagine, 7-10 am learning math in Spanish, with a whole bunch of symbols that are different. Ughhhh.
3) Class slots. All of our classes are at lest 2 hours long, but most are 3. The advantage of this is we have more time to develop ideas. The disadvantage is that it is sooo long in comparison to our short 50 minute time slots (although we did also have some 2 and 3 hour classes, the difference is that here there are no classes which are shorter than 2 hours in length, and there we usually had a break whereas here we don not).
4) Instead of taking a maximum of 5 classes, all students should take 7. I am taking 6 because of Spanish. It works out 21 hours a week of class, in comparison to 15 there. If I were to take Spanish it would be 26.
5) Evaluation. While there we had to do an essay or 2 or 3 plus a couple of exams depending on the course, here all courses are evualated the same. 3 assessments and 2 exams with the possibility in most classes of a substitory exam if you are failing. Sometimes the assessments are tests, sometimes papers, sometimes a mixture of class presentations and participation etc.
6) Rather than have letter grades and be marked out of 100, we are marked out of 20. To pass you need a 12, which I can only assume is equivalent to 60% or a C- or D depending on the course. I´ll let you know how grave my situation is when I get my first 05. hahaha. Except I might cry instead of laugh.
7) The classes themselves. The classes are participatory. Many classes I took in university there were of the sort where you go and write like mad for 50 minutes and then try to interpret your terrible handwriting afterwards. Some teachers did try to get us participating, but especially with history, the classes were lectures. Here, the teachers are more like facilitators except for history of Psychology in which our Prof has assured us we will read 100 different authors in 17 weeks. I have 50 pages to read before next week. This is a first year course. Every week we have to discuss. If one person refuses to participate in the discussion or appears not to have read the material, we all have to write an analysis and conceptual map of the reading. All for one and one for all. The downside? In math class, we all had to go to the board and write the answer to different questions. I should explain. My math class has about 50 students and they are all in engineering programs. I had no choice but to join them because I couldn´t take the math for humanities course (which we are told begins the same for every unit, but stops at level 2 and we continue to level 5) in the evenings and I have to take math to continue. Yay for me. So I go to the board and write my answer and the prof says,I just finished saying that I didn´t want you to do that. So I had to do a different question. After which the prof took pity and let me sit down. Ahhhhhh. My other classes are very enjoyable, the ones which are directly related to psychology. I find it interesting. I just don´t like it when I have to speak because sometimes the profs put on a face which says ¨I really don´t understand what you are saying, but I´ll hear you out...¨ but all in all, my profs are super personable and in most cases funny. The difference? They don´t have PHDs. Many of them simply have their bachelor degree and experience in the field, and some of them are doing or have completed a Masters.
So which is more difficult? I think they are different, and it depends on what you are good at. This program is designed to make you into a Psychologist. We have to go out into the field and practice etc. My first degree wasn´t really designed to make me anything, rather to give me lots of information and teach me how to study and be organized etc., with the idea being that people then go into professional programs like education or law which teach you how to be something. Either way its 5-6 year in both places to get a good job which you are trained for so I suppose it´s the same with the difference being less electives and more specialization earlier here.
Interesting fact- we also have moodle! It´s called a virtual classroom but in the address you can see the word moodle, which interests me. Also, this university is part of Laureate International so it has a good reputation.
Well, apart from university which the biggest news of this week, it is the final week of the cycle at ICPNA, tonight, tomorrow and monday I have to give final exams. On the weekend of September 2 I have to go to and ELT (english language teaching) conference for all the ICPNAs in Peru which is here in Cajamarca in the most beautiful hotel which I have never entered because it´s way too classy for me but I am excited to see what it is like inside! The conference is all weekend though so I will be tired...oh well.
We don´t have water again. I haven´t showered in 3 days, but we had water collected in buckets just in case so we can at least wash our feet a bit, and our hair. I hope we get water soon because I feel disgusting.
Cesar´s best friend´s girlfriend is in town, they are planning their baby shower, she is 6 months pregnant and very obvious, she says the baby kicks a lot. If it´s this weeked we will obviously be going to that, although we already gave them the gifts I brought from Canada, they love them :)
I lost my cell phone, it was sad. I loved it so much, I had it for 3 years and it was so small. Now I have a new one, the cheapest they had, it is big and blue and ugly. I don´t know how I lost my old cell phone, but when I went to set my alarm I couldnt find it. Darn.
Cesar and I went to see The Green Lantern a while back, have you seen it? It´s not bad. Probably would be pretty cool in 3D but we haven´t reached that technology here yet.
I feel like there is something I have forgotten to do...but I can´t remember what? hmmm..
I don´t like final exam day because I have to stay up late correcting exams and calculating average etc because at 8 tomorrow I have to give them to the office, before my class starts (at 8).
I hope I haven´t bitten off more than I can chew with university and a demanding job. At least at H and R Block and at the hotel I could study under the desk...hmmm oh well, at least if I fail it doesn´t really matter, except for me it does because I am that kind of person.
Cesar bought himself a suit and tie for his Universiy buisness presentation. I have never seen him so dressed up before, it was funny, and cute in a strange way hahaha. He can barely talk now because his braces have infected his gums. Makes me remember when I had braces...all you people who have perfect teeth and never had braces, feel lucky! The university gave me a notebook as a gift- here I am in the photo on my first day of Uni in Spanish! The other is a billboard which was part of Cesar´s buisness project.
Leave me your news!
love, me!

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