Tuesday, 7 June 2016

How's studying in British uni different to the University in Russia?

Hey guys! So today I wanted to talk a bit more about how different the university education in UK is compared to my home country universities. As I left school after 9th grade, I didn't have a chance to witness the whole university application process, however all of my school friends successfully went to a variety of universities in Russia. So with their help and with the help of my Russian friends here in UK, I've made this list of things :)

1) You get to actually apply your knowledge to practice. 

Education in Russia is very theory-based. You get to learn a lot of complicated theory without getting a chance to see how this theory applies to the real world. The things are dramatically different here in UK - everything you learn will be supported with the real life examples, case studies and application exercises. This applies to all of the subject areas - management, economics, mathematics, architecture, engineering, medicine, education... Everything! I think that this is one of the best advantages that English university education offers.




2) You get to do a lot of self-learning. 

The education here is based on the assumption that you are interested in what you are doing and that you would enjoy learning more about it. You are expected to go home or to the library and read around the topics you learnt and discussed on your lectures and seminars. The ratio of teaching and self studying is around 3/8.




3) It's impossible to cheat or get away with not studying for your subject

The system here is build to actually assess your knowledge as well as the understanding of the subject. All of the exams are marked anonymously so your assessors or lecturers can never judge you by their personal preference, you will be judged on your work. And unlike in Russian universities where you can get away with learning only half of your topics by pulling "the lucky ticket", here you will most likely have a written assignment or an exam that would assess all of the topics you've studied. 




4) You are allowed to use your calculator even on your exams and for the assignments!

For me, as a Russian, this was a huge surprise because in our education systems calculators are prohibited and you have to calculate everything on paper. However here you are allowed to use your calculator even for the simplest of the question. This point is not my favourite though, my maths skills deteriorated significantly after I moved to UK :) 



5) The concept of the library is very different here.

Here in UK, library (especially university library) is the place with an enormous amount of resources that would assist your studies: books, magazines, articles, maps.. Anything! You can get all of those for free and you don't need a subscription or anything like that. Another thing is that the library here is a perfect working place. You get group rooms, study spaces, silent study areas and computers all over the place. A couple of libraries here in Sheffield Uni also work 24/7, they have 24/7 working cafeterias in them as well as the showers and soft sofas ;)  meaning that you could actually have an all-nighters there when you really need to concentrate of working. That's why all of the libraries become super-busy around the exam times!

The Diamond 
Information Commons
The Diamond

So yeah, those are the main differences that I noticed :) 

Let me know if you've noticed any others in the comments below!

Take care, 
Polina - International Office Ambassador Russia

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