7 Things I’ll Miss About Studying Abroad In An American Liberal Arts College

May 20, 2015
7 Things I’ll Miss About Studying Abroad In An American Liberal Arts College

As the semester draws to a close, there are a lot of things that I’m going to miss about studying in a small liberals arts college in North America. Loyola University is located in Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. It has 2,946 undergraduate students, while my university back home, the University of Birmingham, England has 19,000.

Liberal arts colleges put emphasis on the liberal arts and sciences, such as Environmental Studies, Art, Music, and Theatre, and students are required to take a common curriculum studies that gives them a broad knowledge of different subjects. At Loyola, I have friends who majored in Mass Communications who also took drawing classes.

This contrasts with most British universities, where students generally only take classes in their specialist subject. Now that I’m returning back to the UK, here’s what I’ll miss:

7 Things I’ll Miss About Studying Abroad In An American Liberal Arts College

Familiar Faces

It’s been amazing getting to know lots of people in New Orleans in such a short amount of time. Walking around campus and seeing people you know definitely makes you feel like you’re at home when studying in a new city.

Meeting People From All Over The World

Through the International Student’s Association and Loyola University’s inBUS programmes, I have met students who have studied abroad and students who are currently studying abroad. Some of my friends have been from Colombia, Brazil, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, France, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Japan and South Korea. I hope to show some of them around the UK, as well as visit them when I have the opportunity to go travelling again.

Not Having Compulsory Lectures

In the UK, we have lectures several times a week with around 200 students. I much prefer seminars and smaller classes. At my Liberal Arts College, none of the lectures are compulsory. Instead, we have guest speakers from all over North America, who give engaging talks, such as the anti-racism activist and writer, Tim Wise.

Getting To Know Your Professors

The professors at small liberal arts colleges take the time to get to know you. One of my professors asked our class to fill out a survey about ourselves so that she could get to know us better. They always have time to meet with you and help with your work. In comparison, I imagine that some of my lecturers in the UK would not recognise me in the street and others have refused to write me a reference.

7 Things I’ll Miss About Studying Abroad In An American Liberal Arts College
I enjoyed the close connection with professors at Loyola.

Extra Credit

If you need to make up for missed work or your grade isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, professors offer extra credit assignments. They sometimes even allow you to suggest your own assignment for extra credit. This is a great way to boost your grade.

Revising Papers

Certain professors will allow you to hand in several drafts of the same paper until you are happy with your grade. This relieves a lot of stress. In the UK, the majority of your grade for one class will rest upon one essay or one exam. If you have been putting a lot of work in all year, it may not be reflected well with this grading system. In North America, certain colleges will allow you to re-sit, repeat the year, or take extra classes during the summer to ensure you get the results you want. I wish we had the same opportunity in the UK!

Free Food On Campus

There is always free food on Loyola’s campus – Dat Dog hot dogs, Hansen’s Sno-balls, Lebanon’s Middle Eastern food, pizza, popcorn, cookies, donuts, and more. Most events will feature free food, for instance, free King Cake every Friday afternoon during Mardi Gras season in the Study Abroad office. There is also free use of the college gym and pool, so you don’t have to feel too guilty about all the extra calories!

7 Things I’ll Miss About Studying Abroad In An American Liberal Arts College
Sports at Loyola

About Ciara Cohen-Ennis

Ciara Cohen-Ennis is an English and Drama student at the University of Birmingham, England. She is currently on a year abroad at Loyola University New Orleans. Ciara loves travelling and experiencing other cultures having previously lived in Senegal, worked in India and visited China. You can find more of her articles on her blog.

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