I am not doing an internship this semester in London, but I am taking 12 credits of regular classes! I am taking a history course, a gender, sexuality, and women’s studies course, an English composition course and a business economics course.
My history class is titled Modern Britain and focuses on Britain in the 20th century, as it moved from imperialism during the tail end of the Edwardian era to globalism and multiculturalism at the end of the century. It’s been amazing as we go on many field studies to museums such as the Victoria and Albert and the Imperial War Museum. My GSWS course is titled Feminist Britain and focuses on exploring activism in the city beginning in the mid-1700s through to the present day. I’ve already read some incredible academic pieces and primary sources from specific campaigns and activists. My writing course is titled Writing the City: London. I’ve never taken a creative writing course before. Though very new, I appreciate the opportunity to study something outside of my comfort zone. My final course is a business course on International Economics. I enjoy this class as it grounds me in the familiar knowledge base I’ve built at Pitt but consists of entirely new content.
Some key skills and strengths needed for success in this academic environment are time management, proactivity, and a global perspective. Taking less than 15 credits has helped me free up some space in my schedule, but strong time management and planning skills are still needed to balance exploring London while finishing all my academic work. Proactivity ties into this as well. A global perspective is necessary because many of my classes don’t analyse things, whether feminism or economic models, from the American perspective I’m accustomed to using. Keeping an open mind and actively looking from different perspectives is essential to doing well.
I know that the culture is very different between American colleges and British uni, down to what we call it. However, the academic culture of the program isn’t too different. Some of my professors even use the American grading system, and they’re not all English. The biggest change has been the length of the classes. Classes are over 3 hours long. It takes real effort to stay attentive despite interesting content, which I’ve never had difficulty with before. I’ve also had to adapt to writing in British English. But other than an overuse of the vowel U and a distaste for the letter Z, it’s not been terribly different. Overall my classes have been great so far, and I can barely wait to delve deeper into them!
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