Thursday, February 18, 2010

Start of Classes

This post should have gone out a few weeks ago.  Classes started the very beginning of February.

We started classes this week and the schooling system is very different here than back home.  All classes are discussion-based but it's not a "discussion" like in Berkeley where the GSI/Professor would just teach to the kids.  The system is called PBL (Problem Based Learning).  Every class we have a case-study with a business theory/model/topic that it covers.  A different student is the discussion leader every session and leads the discussion about the cases to see what we should get out of it.  We talk about everything amongst the students with the professor contributing very little.  Any part of the case-study we don't understand, or need to learn more about, we go home and look up in the readings or online.  Then the next session we have a post-discussion on that same case... and then start talking about the new ones.

The system is also a block-schedule here... so I'm taking 2 classes for the first 7 weeks, then another 2 classes for the last 7-weeks with finals right before spring break.  My classes have a bunch of presentations too.  Both individual and group presentations on different business-related topics.  Those should be fun; I haven't given a presentation to my class since high school.

Good thing about the block schedule: I have very little class time (technically 8 hours a week but they usually end early).  One of the bad things though is that the classes pick up pretty quickly and I already have a presentation to give on the 2nd week of school.

For some reason the business school at Maastricht has many more German students than Dutch.  In one of my classes there is one Dutch kid, two other exchange students, and the rest Germans.  In my other class it is me and 100% Germans.  I'm gald that I'm taking classes with many full-time students though because it's hard to meet them otherwise.  I live with all the internationals so I don't need to take classes with them.

Overall I haven't made my opinion on the school system yet, but I definitely like my classes, professors and the other students so everything's going well.

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