Here’s the answer to the number one question everyone is asking me these days:
I go to French class in the mornings, Monday through Thursday. The class is small, and we were all tested to make sure we’re on the same level. The course includes vocabulary and grammar, but so far, we’ve basically just talked a lot – which is good. On Mondays and Thursdays I take classes in economics and politics, including a class on the upcoming American presidential elections.
On Wednesday nights (until 9:30 PM!) I have journalism class. Somehow I ended up in a course that requires students to already have taken a journalism class, and well, I haven’t. But halfway through the first day, I was having too much fun to really notice. I bought a journalism textbook last semester on impulse, and I’m glad I did. Otherwise, words like "spin" would have confused me. The teacher is a reporter, and he expects us to bring the International Herald Tribune to every class. In fact, that newspaper is required reading, so I need to look into getting a subscription. For next week, I already have three assignments: a press release about myself, a 250 word article on "AUP: Mac or PC?" and an idea for a feature about some press-related topic. The teacher asked if there were any Scandinavians in class, because he wanted someone to write about the press in a Scandinavian country, so I have a pretty clear idea of the topic for my feature already. And I just found out that writing for the AUP newspaper The Planet will give me extra credit in the class, and I was thinking of doing that anyway. I suppose the danger here is that I spend all my time writing, and no time reading for other classes.
AUP is a small university – 1000 undergrads and 17 students per full-time faculty member. I haven’t been in classes this size since elementary school. Compared to U of O, there is less required reading, but more strongly recommended reading, including articles handed out in class, websites we’re expected to check, and a general understanding that we all follow the news like "news junkies" (plus check the polls for the US primaries regularly). Unlike in the Norwegian system, the final exam is just one of several tests, and class participation counts. I plan to check out the library tomorrow or maybe tonight after class, since I don’t like studying at home. If I don’t like studying in the library either, there’s always LaSource, the closest café, where they have free wireless and waiters who recognize me already.
Image via Heidi.