University Life Canadian Style

By Sarah Winspear (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada).

So I’m just about to start my second semester at UBC and thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on the academic side of studying abroad. Teaching is quite different at UBC with the majority of my classes in first semester taking place in a classroom rather than a lecture theatre even though they are lectures. The classes seem to be smaller and for my courses there were no seminars or small group sessions only lectures, although this may just have been the courses I took. One of my classes did have a computer lab attached as this was a computer based class.

Another major difference and probably the biggest difference is the assessment style, rather than the one big final exam and perhaps one piece of coursework I might get assessed on at home here there were weekly tasks in some classes, mid terms and coursework, so many varied methods of assessment. This means it does take the pressure off final exams and they are worth a smaller percent of your overall grade. Another thing worth mentioning is that the grading is often higher here with a pass being 50% rather than the 40 at Manchester.  With this assessment method it means you get more continuous work than at Manchester but personally I have not found the work load difficult and there is still plenty of time to do whatever you would like and enjoy your weekends.

Also it might be worth noting that rather than having an extensive library with most the books in that you need for your course available to borrow, at UBC you are expected to buy the books you need for a course. There are many ways of doing this though with a second hand bookstore, UBC bookstore for new books and the possibility to buy a used book of another student.

Overall UBC is academically quite different but it is very easy to adapt to and is not a negative difference, it’s just not what you’ll be used to. I hope this has helped and provided an insight into academic life at UBC!

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