Hello again everyone and welcome to the newest, super exciting edition of my blog! Today we will be discussion the joys of taking midterm exams in a foreign country. While to most this may seem a somewhat mundane and uninteresting topic, to those of you considering studying abroad in Peru, hopefully this post will be of interest and give you some valuable information and a better idea of what to expect whilst abroad. While there are certain differences between how we handle midterms in the USA and how they do it here, overall, they are both pretty much the same. You get to listen to all of the little freshman and exchange students freaking out for the duration of exam week, you spend long hours in the library, become a connoisseur of all types of local caffeinated beverages, and enjoy listening to everyone telling everyone else why they are the most stressed student on campus. Then comes a few short 1 and a half to 2 hour examsessions and everything returns to normal, at least until finals. Despite all of these similarities, there are, however, some noticeable differences.
(Midterms: 75% faith, 20% balls, and 5% knowledge)
First and foremost, due to the way that most of the classes here are structured, midterm exams are highly important to your grade, much more so than at IU. While most classes that I have taken at IU have involved a number of essays, group projects, worksheets, and busywork in general that often times serve to pad your grade should you do poorly on an exam, here in the developing world, there are no such luxuries. In most of my classes my entire grade consists of my midterm, one essay, and my final exam. Therefore, it is much more important here to be prepared for your midterm exams than it is at IU (though it is still, obviously, important at IU as well).Also, the week before midterms you might not have class. This is because during this week all of the classes that have a field work component all head out and do said field work this week. Therefore, most classes do not meet because the professor will most likely be out of town guiding students through their field work or simply using the week as an excuse not to have class. Therefore, you have plenty of opportunity to study for your midterms (or travel or party or really anything else) before you must take your exams.
Some things that, as an American made midterms a little more difficult are as follows. First off, some of the courses that I am taking, such as cinema, involve highly abstract concepts related to various avant garde movements within the cinematic community. It was somewhat difficult to remember the Spanish vocabulary to discuss all of these ideas during my exam. Also, in other courses there is a lot of technical jargon that is used, which can also be difficult. None of the tests had any multiple choice, short answer, or true or false sections, they were all in essay format. Also, just because you are a foreigner do not think that upon receive your exam the next week that the professor will not call you out in front of the entire class for any humorous grammatical, factual, spelling, or vocabulary errors that you should be so unfortunate as to make. Though, on the bright side now I know how Hester Prynne must have felt.
Until next time,