Academic Systems

Academic systems vary widely throughout the world. The country where you are studying may have a very different approach to higher education than what you are accustomed to at GVSU. It is recommended that you research the differences in the academic systems of the United States and the country where you will study to prepare for your study abroad experience.

The differences can include aspects like:

  • Class structure
    • Students may be expected to be more independent in structuring their study time
    • Final grades may be based off of one or two projects or papers
    • There may be fewer opportunities for group work
  • Attendance policies
    • Students must pay attention to the attendance policies for each course. Instructors may be less flexible in making up coursework or assignments.
  • Instructor-student relationships
    • The relationship and interaction between students and instructors can be more formal where students are discouraged from asking questions of their instructor during class
    • The relationship and interaction may also be more casual with frequent social gatherings outside of class
  • Methods of evaluation
    • Students may be evaluated based on unfamiliar methods related to testing and research
    • Students may not have access to as many resources as they are accustomed to at GVSU
  • Appropriate attire for the classroom
    • Acceptable dress for class may be more formal
    • Generally, flip flops, exercise or active clothing, running shoes, slippers, and pajamas are not acceptable attire to wear to class