Hey all –
This past week in Leeds has been quite interesting.
I signed up for an Astronomy class at the University of Leeds to fulfill a lab science requirement at UNT. I heard from a friend that Astronomy at UNT is a fun class, where you learn about the properties of the sun and stars, and get the chance to view them on telescopes. I signed up for the class at the UoL thinking it would be similar. When registering for the module, it had listed – Prerequisites, A Levels in Math and Physics. At the time, I didn’t know what A Levels were so I signed up anyways.
Fast forward three weeks into classes – I’m sitting in my astronomy lecture, and my professor asks the class to calculate the total flux of the sun and stars and I don’t even know what else. They all quickly pull out their graphing calculators and respond with the answer in less than 30 seconds. I don’t even have a calculator, let alone know how to plug in the numbers that my professor just told us. It was that day that I realized that the class was way above my head. I went to Jo Fairley, my music tutor at the University of Leeds (who, by the way, is incredibly helpful and kind) and she informed me that A Levels are something that UK students do in high school. They choose four subjects to do advanced study in, so the students in my astronomy class have had two years of advanced study in both Math and Physics, while I have only taken elementary statistics. With the help of UNT and the University of Leeds departments, I was able to change classes, but I write this to inform those who are studying abroad to make sure you research what different phrases like A Levels can mean so that you don’t end up having to switch classes three weeks into a semester. All is settled now and I can look forward to looking at the stars next semester when I’m back at UNT.
In other news, I went to Ilkley, a town close to Leeds and only costs 6 pounds by train and saw the beautiful English countryside. In the UK, you do more private study hours than in class lectures, so you have more time to travel. Make the most of your time!