International students assess SDSU

by Nicole Sazegar, Staff Writer

American high school seniors spend a year choosing the perfect college to attend.

They consider education quality, professors, classes and location for their decision. Other factors, such as parties, Greek life and social life, play a part, as well.

In Germany, Australia and England, however, students have it different. SDSU students from each respective country said people tend to choose the school best fit for their majors, usually in their hometown, and they don’t give too much thought to social life.

ANJA KOELLEN

Social work senior Anja Koellen attends Fachhochschule Münster in German and Münster University of Applied Science in English in Münster, Germany.

Her university does not have dorms or hold school or sport events.

In Germany, students do not need to take general education classes, so they finish their degree in three years as opposed to four, she said.

Her classes only require a final exam and a paper.

Koellen finds it strange the professors at San Diego State are not paid well, compared to the professors in Germany, which she believes contributes to the quality of the education.

Though she appreciates the school spirit evident on campus, she believes SDSU still has room for improvement.

“The school is spending so much money on things that aren’t necessary,” Koellen said. “It should try to find a way to give students a chance to have less debt by the time they leave.”

LAURA HOGAN

Psychology junior Laura Hogan attends Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia.

Like Koellen’s school back in Germany, Hogan’s classes only require a final exam and two major assessments.

Her classes are either lectures or tutorials.

The lectures are discussion classes of only 15 students and the tutorials are lecture classes with over 200 students.

Hogan believes the smaller class sizes and few assignments in Australian universities are more advantageous for students, as opposed to the multiple homework assignments and midterms in U.S. universities.

“My professors back home are a lot more strict on assignments, which forces me to try harder,” Hogan said. “The information tends to stick with me more when I have a big lab report. The class sizes here make it hard to succeed because I feel like, if you’re struggling, you can easily slip through the cracks.”

Hogan also said the student-professor interaction back home is less formal, thus it’s easier to approach professors.

“I would call my professor by his or her first name back home,” Hogan said. “I would more likely email a professor back home than here.”

While Hogan felt a culture shock when she started school here, the sense of community at SDSU made her feel welcome.

“I like the sense of community,” Hogan said. “I like the friendliness. I like how people get involved.”

KIRAN NAGRA

Psychology sophomore Kiran Nagra attends a university in Birmingham, England.

Her education in England doesn’t differ much from the education Koellen and Hogan are obtaining at their schools.

Nagra said her classes focus more on writing assignments, short presentations or group work and exams.

The required work varies depending on the major, she said.

While Hogan and Koellen believe the required homework assignments and midterms can be detrimental to a student’s education, Nagra said this type of curriculum is beneficial.

“I like the way there is a lot to go toward your grade, meaning there is less pressure when taking your finals,” Nagra said.

Because the legal drinking age is 18 in England, school events focus more on alcohol, which Nagra said is the main difference in social life between her school and SDSU.

Because her school’s student union plans parties, students have more opportunities to socialize.

Nagra enjoys being able to go to the beach, attend football games and go to college parties, which are all opportunities she can’t do year-round back home.

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