I can’t believe it’s already mid-April and we’ve already started period 5 😮. Time really flies! And this is especially true when you’re learning a lot and, of course, also having lots of fun 😋.
The academic year at my home university isn’t composed of 4 periods but of only 2 semesters, so having shorter terms here made me feel like period 4 was over in the blink of an eye.
Period 4 was very challenging, but I’m happy to say that I overcame all those challenges 😀. First of all, the PBL system is completely different to the teaching method at my university. The students in my university hardly never participate or give their opinion during class, and we just seat and listen to the teacher for 2 hours. This made it very difficult for me to speak during the first tutorials even though I had read the materials and knew the answers, just because I wasn’t used to participating in class. Fortunately, it didn’t take me too long to get used to speaking up, not only because I didn’t want to get a poor grade for class participation, but because the tutors would create a friendly atmosphere in each tutorial. The tutors in the two courses I was taking were very comprehensive since the beginning and would always encourage everyone to participate. I really appreciated that.
Another difference with my home university is that we hardly never give presentations or facilitate sessions, and I have to confess that I was really scared when I heard that I had to give an individual presentation and speak for 20 minutes in my Strategy course. During all my university years (and that’s a lot because I’m a senior year student, and we study 5 years to earn a bachelor’s degree in Peru), I’ve only had very short presentations and they were so few I can count them on one hand, so this was a big deal, not only because I really don’t like speaking in public, let alone for such a long time, but also because this was the first time I was giving a presentation in English. Nevertheless, I wanted to do a great job, so I put a lot of effort on it, and as I’m a perfectionist, it took me more than 3 days to get my slides and presentation done but it was totally worth it. I managed to give a good presentation and it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it was going to be, in part because everyone in my tutorial was very friendly and it was very easy to speak in front of them.
After my individual presentation, it was way much easier to prepare for the group presentations and facilitations in my two courses. Everything went smoothly, everyone was proactive and it was very easy to coordinate with my teammates. None of us felt that was put aside and all our ideas were taken into consideration. This is especially important for me as an exchange student. Some of my exchange student friends told me they didn’t have much luck with their groups and were either a little bit disregarded when they worked with regular students or had teammates that wouldn’t do absolutely anything, leaving all the work to them 😕. However, I think there will always be a possibility to encounter people that aren’t as cooperative as we would want them to be, be it at school or at work, and even if it’s impossible to stop thinking that this is unfair to us, we can also try to make things better and rather than keep complaining about that, we can also think of it as an opportunity to learn how to deal with different kinds of people.