Matthew Benczkowski is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A molecular biology major at the University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
In this week's post, Matthew takes a look at CAPA's core values and how they fit into practice during the study abroad experience.
“CAPA’s core values are personalized learning, cultural engagement and academic rigor.”
As I have blogged about before, studying abroad is not a breeze: a common misconception in today’s society. I am taking five classes currently, and balancing the workload is pretty easy for me, only because I am a biological science major back home, and am used to a heavy schedule. However, unlike back at Pitt, the classes here are small, personalized, and reliant on participation – something very unfamiliar to me, regarding my own classes. The projects are all due close to each other: when it rains, it pours.
Small class sizes and personalized learning is something I am very familiar with, as throughout high school and grade school my class sizes were quite small. In a transition to my freshman year of college, having 350 people in a lecture feels natural because it is like that in just about every class. After a while, you just get used to being surrounded by 100s of people. However, at CAPA I am taken back to my high school days, where the classes are small, the teachers care, and participation is critical. I have experienced this personalized learning while aboard because my smallest class has only seven people, and my biggest has maybe 22. Regardless, the teachers know your name, and you are able to constantly be in contact with them.
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