Monday is a good example of my average weekday at an Australian university.
On Monday I have only one class, a lecture from 2pm-3:50pm. I know what you must be thinking, or at least what I was thinking; “one hour and fifty minutes of lecture?!” Yes, that’s one week’s worth of lectures all fit into one session. I have two other lectures of this length and one three-hour lecture each week — one for each of my different classes. There are pros and cons for this system. The major pro being that you attend one lecture a week!! :D! The major con being that you attend one lecture a week, which means an entire week of information that you have to pay attention to, think critically about, and take notes on, for two whole hours. D: …
Since my Monday lecture begins in the afternoon, I have all morning to work on my assignments (or sleep) and prepare for my tutorials on Tuesday. Tutorials last for one hour, and are similar to discussions, but sometimes feel more like highly shortened labs, and coincide with my weekly lectures. I have three tutorials on Tuesday, so by Monday night I try to finish a simple worksheet for one, and prepare an argument for another. I do nothing, ever, for my third tutorial.
When 1:40pm comes around I usually (sometimes) get my supplies together and (maybe) leave for class. My class is located in a giant lecture hall, as most lectures are, and my professor is French. He is very charismatic about his subject and covers a general definition, background, and application of the material; however, I feel it isn’t until my tutorial on Tuesday that I really learn what is important for the class. Because no lectures are mandatory and no attendance is taken and each is recorded and put online for students, it makes for an even more flexible schedule and causes me to wonder why attendance is ever as good as it is.
My after-class routine varies by week. This past Monday I went straight from the classroom to the bus stop on campus and caught a bus to the Indooroopilly Shopping Centre. The shopping center is essentially a mall that includes several full grocery stores and other shops that I assumed would usually only be found in their own buildings. And it’s always good to head to the grocery store with a backpack and maybe some canvas bags so you don’t need to carry ten different plastic bags home with you on a crowded bus (lessons learned).
After picking up the essentials, I caught the bus going back to campus and stopped home to make dinner. Usually on days like this I wait until 7 or 8pm and then walk over to the campus fitness center for a workout. Unfortunately, you have to pay for a membership at the gym, but as long I live so close to campus and so far from the many other gyms in Brisbane, I just got my membership here. Unlike gyms at home, where you usually clean the equipment with a spray or wet wipe after use, here you have to carry a towel with you and place it on the machine so your gross sweaty body never actually touches it. And if you don’t have a towel, you must purchase or rent one, or you cannot use the gym.
Usually after an evening workout I spend the remainder of the night either watching lectures online or watching Netflix until I go to sleep. As far as Monday’s go, mine at UQ are pretty good. Generally, I get to choose exactly how productive I want to be and my schedule is extremely flexible. It is hard to say if all classes are as lenient as mine when it comes to attendance, because I am mainly finishing up my easier general education courses, but studying abroad is a good time to take lighter coursework anyway.
Thanks for reading!