Call me crazy, but I love exams. I love prepping myself for upcoming tests. I love studying. While I might not do fantastic on every exam, I see exams helping me recognize what I need to focus more on. In addition, exams are a way to help me see how much I have learned in my classes. My parents always encourage and support me when it comes to my academics; however, they never put pressure on me, and when I say I got an A- and pout about it, they just laugh and say that I am the only one who is putting the most pressure on myself. Guess I owe a thank you to my competitive personality! Here in Sweden, though, there is no pressure or emphasis on grades. Is this a good or bad thing?
Well, for me, it has been both a good and bad thing. While it was easy to adjust to the academic culture in Sweden, it has been not easy in one aspect regarding grades. Since my grades factor into my GPA back home at Wofford, I put long hours into my work. My professors rarely put grades in because it is the Swedish way to not worry about grades. Stressful for this Wofford girl! Luckily though, my two professors of the courses that factor back into my majors have put in grades thus far. While I see this unawareness of my grades as annoying, I have come to accept that when in Rome, do as the Romans do or, in this case, when in Sweden, do as the Swedes do. Another Swedish aspect that is not incorporated back home as often as it here is in academic settings is discussions. We are meant to bring our ideas and questions to the table. This opportunity has opened my eyes to others’ opinions and has allowed me to voice my own.
I am very fortunate that while I am here in Stockholm at DIS, I am getting credit towards my graduation for all four of my courses. Two of those courses also count towards my majors. My Forensic Psychology course is going towards my Psychology major, and my Nordic Contemporary Art course counts towards my Art History major. My classes are small and very similar in size to those at Wofford. My smallest class here is my Nordic Contemporary Art class which consists of three students, including myself. Going to school in another country is very similar in that scheduling and class topics are the same as if we were back in America; however, it is very much hands-on learning here. We even get to take field studies with our classes, which allows us to visit other institutions and places related to what we are learning about in class. Additionally, these field studies help us see the surrounding areas of our home here in Stockholm!