Australian Education by Maddie Melotte

A big difference I experienced while abroad was the education system. While in America university classes consist of lectures and sometimes labs, Australian classes consist lectures, sometimes labs, and tutorials. Tutorials are once a week and are usually led by a teacher’s assistant, where the students are able to go more into depth with the material by working through exercises with other students and the teacher’s assistant. Typically, Australian Universities expect a higher degree of independent student work. This means that lectures are usually not mandatory. At the University of Sydney, where I attended, all my lectures were also recorded and posted online, so physically going to campus for lectures was not always necessary. The professors allowed for the student to make the decision about what works best for them. This differs from school at the College of Charleston as typically lectures are required and you will be penalized after a certain number of absences. With this structure, more personal responsibility was needed, as no immediate consequences would occur for getting behind on lectures. This was especially true as there were not as many graded assignments. The majority of the grade came from a big mid semester project and the final exam. There are typically not many quiz or test grades throughout the semester that keep you accountable for keeping up with the content. Another difference in the education system is the time of the semesters. Rather than an academic year being split between two calendar years, the academic year follows the calendar year. This means that semester 1 begins near the end of January, consists of 10 weeks, then a two week break in June before the beginning of semester 2 in August, followed by a 6 week summer break in December / January. 

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