Some people believe that college all over the world is a universal experience; it's not. Universities in different countries have completely different structures so I thought it would be interesting to compare American College to Australian Uni:
1. Course structure
In American universities you may have a lab, lecture based, or a more discussion based class. You will have it once to three times a week at the same time each day, splitting up the credit hours. In Australian universities you will have one lecture class(lasting around an hour) and a tutorial(lasting two hours) The lecture is your typical big class having anywhere from 50 to 200 students while the tutorial is a small discussion based class that can have anywhere from 8 to 20 students. The Lecture and The Tutorial also held at two different times a week. For example, I have my creative writing lecture from 6-7pm on Wednesday but have the tutorial 10-12 on Friday morning. This is very different from having Philosophy On Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 11-11:50.
The Grading System is also quite strange...Rather than the ABCDF(0-100) system I am used to, the Australian's use Fail, Pass, Credit, Distinction and High Distinction all with their respective +/-.
A huge part of the "College Experience" for American kids is moving out of the house, away from home, and living in a college dorm. Not to mention the shenanigans that goes on in dorm... Most people may even elect to go out of state to get far away from their hometown. In Australia most people commute-they live at home and drive to class each day(even if it's a two hour drive). There are a few apartments around campus that you can choose to live in, but most people still elect for a campus close to home.
In American College life, especially in movies and bigger universities, Greek Life is all the rage-its where you meet the most people, it's how you get invited to parties, and most importantly, it's how you develop your best friendships. There's nothing remotely close to that anywhere in Aus. There are Uni clubs, but nothing on the scale of Greek Life.
For Sports, academics, clubs and otherwise, each American university comes with its unique prestige on something. Each campus usually has a store dedicated to buying fanfare or memorabilia for the college. People will come home from college visits with branded Duke sweatshirts or UC hats. If you so much as dare to wear something for your university's name on it here, you will have committed social suicide. No one has pride in their Uni and it's completely surprising after the uproar of "Alabama VS Auburn".
5. Clothing for School
I am personally more of a dressy person...I function better when I look nice and feel prepared for the day. In American we are bound by a sweat pant culture, chained to hoodies and yoga pants because we roll out of bed to get to our 8ams. In the warm weather paradise here, everyone looks super cute all the time. It's kind of crazy because everyone looks cute and casual all the time. I love it.
The average cost for a year of college in the States is around $30,000, this includes room and board. Even with scholarships to cover some of it, it's still a ton of money, especially if you have to take out loans that can haunt you later in life. On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, a year here on average can cost $5,000(American dollars) but this does not include room and board. One great thing you can do here is wait to pay back your fees until you are making a certain salary that it does not hinder or haunt your credit scores for life.
7. Culture on campus
The drinking age for Australia is 18, which means there's a lot less illegal parties going on. There is also just less to do here. The student guild may hold activities but they aren't constantly being organised for the masses to get involved.
Last week I showed up to my Friday class and there were two kangaroos(a momma and a baby Joey) just chilling in the quad. Just wild kangaroos eating grass. It might me normal to see squirrels or birds or maybe even lizards in the middle of campus, but kangaroos? Completely different. The University of the Sunshine Coast is also inland in the bush so there's lots of birds too. Specifically lorikeets. They are beautiful birds that poop all over campus and love to scream at dawn and dusk(luckily I am a deep sleeper).
In the states there is a struggle, a constant working to get scholarships to pay for and go to the school you want, in Australia there are scholarships but very few people care about them or strive to achieve them. Also the school may only award one if at all. You are there working yourself through class, not having to worry about losing your scholarships.
This is something that completely confused me at first. You can't go into Australian university with an open degree; You have to go in knowing what you want to do and you have to apply for that specific program, rather than applying for just the university and declaring your major/minor. There's no "general studies" to help you figure out what you want to do. The dean also allows you to ONLY take 4 classes per semester. No more than that. Depending on if you're a full time student and the type of degree, without the gen Ed courses, you can finish anywhere from 2-4 years.
Australian Universities and American Colleges both have their perks and downsides-but comparing the two definitely shows how different the two ways of life are.