This is the first week of classes in my university!
I have two classes in Spanish and two in English, and the majority of my classes are with Peruvian students.
Although, the classes taught in Spanish might be more challenging, I am already reaping the rewards of further emersing myself in Spanish as I am noticing that my ear for the language is picking up meanings and words much more quickly- and after only a couple days of class! Also, the professors are more than willing to help international students in their classes and are very understanding of the language-learning curve.
I have noticed some differences in the university setting:
- In Peru, classes are longer (3 hours), but then might only meet once during the week
- The majority of Peruvian students work while attending school. For this, they typically take their classes very early in the morning or late in the evening. Many of the classes are offered until 11 or 12 at night.
- One thing that I noticed in all my classes with Peruvian students is there is a LARGE cultural difference with punctuality (and even the importance of attending class in general). My first class began at 9 in the morning. The class was from 9-12 and attendance is taken at each hour during the class. There are 12 students enrolled in my class, and by the time 9am rolled around, I was the only one in my classroom (teacher included). By 9:02, my teacher entered the room. By 9:15am there were 3 students. A few more shuffled in within the next 5 minutes, and the teacher took the first roll call. At this point, there were 6 of the 12 students present. By the second roll call at 10 o clock, 3 more joined the class. And for the final hour of the 3 hour class, 2 more students showed. In total, only 11 of the 12 showed up. And all, except for me, were at least 15 minutes late.
The policy at my university is that students must attend near 60% of their classes.