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now that classes are over and i only have one exam left, i am trying to let my right brain out to play a little. still no sign of my muse anywhere.
spending this last semester here has truly made me realize how poor the education system in american is. there are quite a few things different about european, particularly central european, universities that demonstrate this:
fields of study: in undergraduate programs, students concentrate on their field of study only, other than chosen electives. there are no math courses, if you are liberal artsy. there are no english courses if you are science. why, you may ask? isn't it better to have a well rounded education? well, yes. but by the time kids here get to university they have the equivalent of our first two years at university. those well rounded classes we take when we start university, they have already had in high school. i was talking with a student who studied at UNO last fall. she took a freshman/sophmore class because she found the topic interesting. she was amazed how uneducated (actually, i think she said "stupid") students in the first year of university in the states are. by the time students here are ready to enter high school, their academic futures are already planned. they will either enter a technical high school or a university high school. they already know at least two languages.
study structure: one needs an incredible amount of self discipline compared to the states. you don't get tests or quizzes every few weeks to see how you are doing. while there may be a paper, and most likely a presentation, the majority of your grade will depend upon the exam at the end. there are three weeks between the end of classes and exams. the exams are not easy and students, for most classes, are given a second or third try to pass. exams are mixed with short answer and long essay.
classes: there are not as many hours for classes as in the states. each class is once a week for about two hours and run about 15 weeks. they are seminars - that is the professor talks and you write. interaction is little and not encouraged. this, i believe, is a remnant of the communist era - listen, learn and don't think outside the box. it is changing though and younger professors will elicit feedback. you learn the first couple of classes if you should open your mouth or just write.
grading: pretty damn subjective. you'd better try and find out what the professor wants for essay exams even though the question may seem quite broad. i learned to talk to previous students and grill the hell out of them. instead of A - F, grades are 1 - 5, respectively. This just makes so much more sense than letters that you have to translate to numbers for gpa anyway. no privacy with grading either. you can expect your final grade to appear on the professors door right next to your name.
books: there are no textbooks and here even less information in english. the web has been my life link. there is a library where course textbooks live, but you don't buy them anywhere. you go to the library and copy the pages you need. some books you can check out for one day, one week, or one month. but, these aren't english books. english books are too expensive to leave the library. so lots of copying. very often, the textbooks are written by the professors.
attendance: people don't attend class on any regular basis. there were people i saw the first week or two of classes and then didn't see again until writing exams.
sociology at charles u: europe is the heart of sociological theory. i love theory - any kind. there is something about theorists that inspire awe in me. to come up with these new ideas and back them up with thoughts that were, at the time, rather abstract, knowing you undoubtedly will face stark criticism earns my respect. the king of sociological thought at charles is lazarsfeld. in the political science department, it is huntington and modelski. you can't go wrong writing about any of these in essays.
charles is also very well respected so we get some awesome guest lecturers and seminars from visitors.

and, i am about to dump a year and half of thesis work for a new subject....i think. if so, my brain won't be on vacation at all this summer......

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don't fear death
melissamuse
melissa muses (or maia, you choose)

Roma

wandering does not make you a "gypsy."
why would you call yourself
after those who have no home?
long skirts and hoop earrings
do not make you a "gypsy."
why do you call yourself after
those who have no clothes?

"gypsy" is pejorative. please don't perpetuate the stereotype. educate yourself on what it really means to be a "gypsy" in this world.

Who are the Roma?

Decade of Roma Inclusion

Dženo Association

European Roma Rights Centre

Roma Balkans

Roma National Congress

Romani World

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Soros Roma Initiatives

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