When I decided to visit Ireland to Study Abroad I honestly didn’t think about what classes I would take. The determining factor for me was the idea of rolling plains, sheep roaming around the streets, and the kind people. Not once did classes play into my decision.
This was a mistake. When it comes down to it there aren’t a lot of classes for people in the Study Abroad program to take. European classes take an entirely different approach to their university years. When you get accepted into a university you choose a major and then you stick with that major until you get your degree. If you decide to change then you start all over again. From the beginning.
When I was told this I was pretty confused because I’ve known people that have changed their major multiple times and are still almost guaranteed to graduate on time. Although I’ve noticed that this completely changes the dynamic in the classroom.
Other students in my classes are locked in. They know that everything they learn while in university will have some sort of significance in their careers. Everything they learn builds onto the next idea. They don’t have “core” classes where they learn the ideologies of other religions when they’re Engineers or Mathematicians. They learn the main philosophical questions if they’re philosophy majors.
Now, I’m a firm believer in the idea of a rounded education and I’ll always prefer the Socratic style of higher education that I have received at John Carroll, but it’s because of that learning that I started out having troubles here.
Our teachers expect us to know what the first semester teacher taught. In my Philosophy of Religion class we went to tutorial and were asked to recall an idea that was taught by Aristotle. However, in my Philosophy 101 class back home I only learned Socrates. That’s it. I wasn’t given any other ideas. While a lot of them are overlapping I was never taught the overlapping sections.
Myself and the other Americans in the class sat dumbfounded in the front row wondering what to do and when we were asked if we had learned this we had to say no. We were then asked what we DID learn. We all learned different things. Three different American classes, all Philosophy 101, all different material covered.
While I love John Carroll and the Jesuit style of teaching, it’s doing me no favors here.