By: Angela Arnold
A deep dive into one of my study abroad courses: I began virtual classes at Artevelde University in Belgium about a month ago. I am enrolled in two courses which are People Management and European Business. Of the two, European Business has been my favorite thus far. My professor has had an extensive career working in many European businesses and at the European Parliament. She is also quite an inspiration as she speaks 8 languages and has 2 small children at home. European Business only meets once a week and the majority of the class is lecture based. At the middle and end of the class every week we meet with other students in random breakout rooms to discuss the topics and our relevant experiences. Since these courses do not assign homework, a large part of our grade is based on the work we do in our semester team assignment. We were assigned to groups of 6 and as a team we will work throughout the semester to provide a research paper and presentation on a European business sector. My team has chosen the real estate sector and the research that we have completed thus far has been very dynamic and interesting, especially the variances by location.
Another difference is with the class setup. As I said we do not receive homework, so our grade is based fifty percent on the team assignment and then fifty percent on the final exam. This is a big shift for me as I am used to the U.S. course structure of having multiple quizzes, tests, and a midterm exam. Since U.S. based educational institutions generally do not teach students about European businesses unless they specialize in it, I came in with a limited background of knowledge. What I knew came from reading the paper or watching the nightly news, so compared to my European classmates I had somewhat of a disadvantage. Within the first week the professor gave us website resources focused on European business and current affairs which I read at least twice a week now. Some of the topics that we have discussed up to this point include institutions of the European Union, the single European market, competition policies, European Union consumer rights and how to contact the European Consumers Centres (ECC-Net). We also spend the first half hour of class discussing current affairs in order to understand the impacts they could have on business and trade.
In comparison to classes that I have taken at Millikin, I have noticed that courses at Artevelde are much more relaxed. They are focused on ensuring that you understand the content and take good notes rather than piling on homework assignments. I am so used to having homework every night that I feel like I’m missing something or that I have forgotten to do my homework. I compensate for that feeling by taking thorough notes and reading European news articles often. For future students interested in studying at Artevelde, I would absolutely recommend it because the pace is much different. I also suggest taking European Business and perhaps a language course if you’re interested in the Dutch, German or French languages.