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05/23/2011

Taking Classes at Universidad Carlos III - Madrid: Some Pointers

06 Alcazaba
CIEE Madrid Fall 2010 students at the Alcazaba in Málaga, Andalucia: (Joe Corsello is second from left)

Taking Classes at Universidad Carlos III - Madrid: Some Pointers

By: Joe Corsello (Brandeis University)

It is difficult for me to gauge the true differences between classes here and classes in American Universities because I am not taking any direct enrolled courses.  However, I will try to explain some useful points to understand before walking into the classroom.

 Just like in the states, it is important to attend class.  Every CEH course takes attendance, and the classes are small enough so the teacher will notice your absence.  None of the CEH courses are big lectures where it is easy to fall asleep; the classes require your full attention, especially if you do not want to miss a beat with the Spanish! The professors understand the topics, and usually give a weekly homework assignment that they collect.  However the language class assigns practice every evening.  Participation is a component of the grading system, as are tests and the final exam.

As far as classroom etiquette, it is similar to that of schools in the USA.  Be respectful and take notes.  The most substantial difference is in the grading system.  The university grading system is on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being superb work.  An average grade is between 6-7, while a passing grade in Spain is a 5.  On some homework assignments, they give letter grades like B(bien), R(regular), or M(mal).  The professors are friendly and accessible; if you have any questions, feel free to contact them directly, normally after class or via e-mail.

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