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 American Dimensions 

Submitted by Björn Deh on Fri, 01/21/2011 - 00:30

We have now been in Athens for almost a month and have experienced so many different things that I don't even know where to start. Since this is a blog at one of the American Studies pages, I will first tell you about the work and course load we have to manage. Let me tell you: It's different!!!

If you started to study to earn a good old "Diplom" (like I did), you were used to one big test at the end of your semester. Professors didn't really care whether or not you participated and did any coursework as long as you passed the test. This system had its flaws (learning like crazy the last 3 days of your semester), but it taught you how to manage your work alone. 'You are an adult, you should learn how to act and study like one' seemed to be its basic motto.

Then I transferred to Leipzig, shortly after the Bologna reforms where put into action, and the more Americanized Bachelor was now the goal of my education. You get used to the PVLs after a while and it's kind of nice to have one's work examined every once in a while. If you don't like that you certainly won't like the American way. I have quizzes every week in my management class additionally to two tests and one final exam. You have to show up to class or 1% will be deducted from your grade every time you miss the class. You have to participate in class or else: points taken off of your grade. 100 pages to read and 5 pages to write? Not unusual. The good news is: The grading seems to be less strict than it is in Germany.

Adding to this workload is my internship which I basically started this week. I'm an intern at TechGrowth, and I help with two different projects. One is to find funding for a local company which had a great idea that could revolutionize geothermal energy usage. The other one is to do research on a TechGrowth project concerning a rural economic development project. The people I have had the pleasure to work with so far have been really nice and helpful. My internship is worth 4 credit hours (which is around 12 normal hours), so with my classes it adds up to 16 credit hours. The maximum a student is allowed to take is 20 hours, so I will have plenty to do this quarter.

But college life is not all about studying. Every university has several different sports teams that are very competitive on a national level. OU is not any different. If you didn't make it into a team, it's no problem because OU has a huge recreational center called PING: 5 basketball courts, 2 for indoor soccer, 2 for volleyball, 12 meter climbing wall, 2 huge weight rooms, and you can participate in all kinds of courses for free. When I was playing volleyball at Ping Center, one of my teammates asked me if I wanted to try out for the men's club team which I successfully did. My first game for OU will be next weekend at a tournament at Ohio Northern University where we will face different teams from Ohio and Michigan. I think I can officially kiss my social life goodbye!

That's all folks!

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