10. July 2017 Jan Krajník

First year beaten!

I spent a lot of time on thinking about how to write the last blog post of this year. Mainly, because I knew that all my classmates will be re-evaluating and describing what the first year has brought. It is no wonder that I did not come up with anything special and therefore I will attempt to valorise my experience in a manner that would be useful for those who consider studying at University of Aberdeen or abroad in general.

Aside from that, I was also thinking about how to concisely describe life of a foreign student. I came up with the idea that life of every student consists of social and academic life. In my prior blog posts, I suggested how I experienced the two spheres, however only now I feel like I can objectively evaluate them.

There were a lot of things that surprised me at the University of Aberdeen. I already mentioned some, however I never mentioned the difficulty of the course I am taking. In my opinion it is puzzling that the first year was, in comparison with IB programme and Czech Maturita, fairly easy. The assignments that were given to us were less time demanding and simpler. It can seem startling but it is the truth. If a person invests at least some of his free time into studying there should not be any obstacles during the examinations. Another thing that contributes to this notion is the fact that the grading system is benevolent to the point when you only need around 45% to pass the exam, which is not common in Czech Republic. It seems like the Scottish universities are, as opposed to the Czech ones, trying to keep their students. On the other hand, the difficulty of the courses leaves more time for the students to learn how to live by themselves or even decide whether they would like to change their degree, which I find great.
    
As I already mentioned in my previous posts study life was not a big obstacle to me. Social life on the other hand could have been compared to pole jump without a pole. This struck me even more considering that I am an outgoing extrovert who never had any problems finding friends. The following factors are in my opinion the reasons why I could not find any soulmates.

1)    I slept through the Freshers week
For those who do not know this, Fresher’s week is a tradition, where during the first week of the year, all the students make unwise decisions by drinking enormous amounts of alcohol. As you can see I am still not supportive of this habit however, it was not smart from me to spend all of the first week talking with my Czech friends on Skype. Since, as I found out, sometimes things that are not strictly wise or sober can lead to new friendships.

2)    English language
English was not a problem for me when it came to studying. I encountered the real problem while talking to my peers. I could understand everything they were saying however, only later I found out that my charisma and sense of humour does not come hand in hand with English. Sometimes I even wished that I could be worse in English, so that I could justify my social incompetence with it.

3)    Cultural shock
Life in multicultural society has also become somehow complicated for me, even though I studied at school that prepared me for it. In Scotland people are more open to unending variety of thoughts, ideas and ideologies, on the other hand they are bound by a lot of rules. It was not a problem for me to respect the opinions of others, but I found out that it is more difficult to find people who would have the same mind set, especially when you take in account that all of my friends were part of the Czech Beer Culture.

Despite all these stumbles I came to realize, that I do not regret that I am studying at University of Aberdeen a wee bit. The whole year was an immersing experience. I tried what it is like to live on your own, I found that the mutual respect does not mean the same to everyone, especially when it came to my flatmates. I realized that you can spend you free time differently than just talking online with your friends from Czech Republic. Additionally, the fact that I learned so many things about Psychology, Spanish, Programming and Christian Theology should not be overlooked. The first year in Aberdeen was enlightening and I am looking forward to the next one, which I will be partly spending at University of Oslo, thanks to the Erasmus programme.

Ultimately, I would like to mention that nothing of this would have happened were it not for the financial support of the Kellner Family Foundation and the moral support of all my friends and family. My deepest thanks belong to you.

Life in Scotland was difficult for me, but as Scots say, sometimes it’s a fair ficht for half a loaf, on the other hand, sometimes it’s a lang road that’s no goat a turnin.

 

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