Remarks On School and Other Such Musings

Emily Bernstein
March 2, 2017

It’s odd to already be turning my calendar to March. The time is, for lack of a better word and I promise there is no pun intended, marching forward very quickly. If I were at home, I’d be gearing up for midterms, and subsequently, Spring Break. Here, though, I’m writing papers, reading lots, and spending a lot of time trying to make travel plans.

When school began, I was unquestionably excited. I still am. I’m that kind of person that gets excited about school. But, for some reason, I was so worried about my schoolwork (read: exceedingly worried, as I’m always just plain worried about school).

My literature classes demand at least two or three hours on Saturdays and Sundays so that I can, at the very least, begin to read the novels and pieces of literature that we’re reading for the following week. It is a lot of reading and the stack of books in my room looks quite aggressive and daunting. But they’re just literature classes. What was stressing me out about them?

I thought maybe it was because my law class terrified – and still is quite scary and confusing – me. My law class is for third year law students because, in Europe, students enter straight into law school. My peers in that class are my age but they’re gearing up to take a few exams this summer and this fall and then begin their work as solicitors (or at least their interns – these students aren’t being thrown straight into the courtroom). Add on the fact that we’re studying a political system in which I do not partake, and to say that the lectures confuse me would be a vast understatement. But human rights law is the law that fascinates me the most, so I’m struggling, but trying to manage.

I’ve just turned in my first law paper, and I’m gearing up to write three literature papers for the next two upcoming weeks. And they’re just papers. My lit papers are being written in MLA format – a format I’m so familiar with I could do it in my sleep. The books we’re reading are just literature, able to be analyzed and looked at in the same way I look at books at home. I can research to understand my law class (that’s what Google is for, right?).

It’s taken me, now, a month and a half to come to this conclusion: studying abroad is just school.

It might be silly, committing a whole blog post to this. But it’s something that a few friends have remarked upon as well. Until we all really settled in to work, school was something that we didn’t really think about. We went to class, listened in lectures, etc., but I think we all expected school to be so different here than it is at our home universities. And while the classes are run differently, school is just school. 

I don’t have much to say that’s more than this, but just a personal note to remember (and for future study abroad students).

Slainté. 

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