Jana talks about how she has been a student (and teacher) in three different cultures.
- Audio Slideshow
Jana: Yeah, that's right. Well, I did my undergraduate degree in Prague, in the Czech Republic and as a part of that I did an exchange program in Madrid for one semester and after that I moved to Sydney in Australia and I did my master's there and now I teach in Japan. So, yeah, you're right.
Peter: Wow, that sounds really interesting. I'm curious about the student life in these different countries. Do you think there are big differences in these countries in terms of student life?
Jana: Well, I haven't been a student in Japan, but I can sort of compare from my experience. Yeah, I think it is quite different. In Prague, it was a very serious study environment sort of thing and a lot of my classmates were a bit older as well, so they were like really interested in the subject they were studying, and it's more like autonomous learning. So everybody spends a lot of time in the library researching and reading and that sort of thing and the teachers were really good in their subjects, but they were great experts, but maybe they were not really good teachers.
Jana: So at that time I didn't really enjoy that environment. I felt it's too advanced for me. I would have preferred some, a bit more guidance maybe. But, yeah, Sydney was different too because there's so many international students, so it was a whole different experience, not just about study but meeting people from different countries. And I guess Japan and Spain might be a little bit similar in a way.
Peter: Really? How come?
Jana: I felt in Spain it was more teacher-fronted style of teaching so students taking notes and perhaps not participating so much and I guess it depends on the student, but maybe some of them were not that interested in the subject.
Peter: I see.
Jana: And it's a similar kind of feeling I get in Japan.
Peter: OK. How about studying in Sydney? Was that, in that way was it really different? Were people more active and participating students?
Jana: I guess it depends on the student. Some students were more active than others, but I suppose they were there by choice. You know, they wanted to experience studying in another country and expand their horizons, so I think they were a bit more active.
Peter: You said about that people in Prague were really serious students. How about the students in Spain and in Sydney, Australia?
Jana: Right. Well in Spain I actually found it difficult to meet, to become friends with local students although you would think that, you might think that Spanish people are really friendly and open but actually it was quite difficult to get into the local life so I, most of my friends were other international students too to be honest. But I think they all had, you know, part-time jobs and their own activities outside of school that they were interested in.
I did my undergraduate degree in Prague.
Your 'undergraduate degree' is the first university degree that you complete. It usually takes about 3 to 5 years to finish. Notice the following:
- It took him almost 6 years to finish his undergraduate
- What are you studying for your undergraduate degree?
As part of my studies in Prague, I did an exchange program
for a semester in Madrid.
An 'exchange program' is like a study-abroad program, except that there are two schools that send students to each other. Notice the following:
- We are hoping to get at least three new exchange
programs started by next year.
- Our school has a great exchange program in Italy.
In Prague, it's more like autonomous learning.
'Autonomous learning' is done independently. Maybe each student is responsible for his own studies. Notice the following:
- Some classes are too structured. I prefer more
- This is a course to teach students the value of autonomous learning and how to motivate themselves.
I would have preferred a bit more guidance, maybe.
In this case, 'guidance' would be like supervision or advice. Notice the following:
- Some teachers are very good at giving guidance for
decisions about the future.
- His parents gave him a lot of professional guidance.
In Spain, it was more of a teacher-fronted style of
A 'teacher-fronted style' of teaching would be a class where the teacher is leads the discussions and does most of the talking. Notice the following:
- She's used to more of a teacher-fronted style of
teaching, so it's strange to her to participate so much in
- I get bored in classes that have a teacher-fronted style of teaching.
The students wanted to experience studying in another
country and expand their horizons.
When you 'expand your horizons,' you learn new things or have new experiences because you expand your comfort area. Notice the following:
- I decided to expand my horizons and try skiing.
- He is trying to expand his horizons and try new foods.
Did you have to rely on other languages that you speak when
you were studying or just English?
'Rely on' is the same as 'depend on.' Notice the following:
- She relies on her husband to do almost everything for
- University taught him not to rely so much on his parents.