Tyler Korponai is a English major at Southern Connecticut State University, LJMU’s transatlantic partner. He is studying on the English programme this semester. Here, he shares his advice to Southern students planning to study English abroad at LJMU.
As a Southern Connecticut State University student investigating the English program at Liverpool John Moores University, there are some distinctions between these two universities’ programs of which you should be conscious.
Before beginning classes it would be to your benefit to prepare yourself for a different orientation and style of teaching. You should attempt to contact lecturers, who are akin to professors, module leaders, who are essentially directors of an individual course and communicate with lecturers, and finally your Learning Technology Officer, who would be in charge of connecting you electronically with faculty on Blackboard. If all has been done properly before your departure, the names of your modules, lecturers, and at least one contact in the English department should be in your possession.
Being connected early and getting module information will make the first week of class much more manageable. Not only that, but, your lecturers will be looking forward to meeting you! Lecturers have been very accommodating to the inclusion of Southern students in the program, and they will be happy to help you find your way and provide you with any resources they can. Remember that students usually address lecturers by their first name in England, as at west coast universities in America.
Of course, you will also have to secure course materials on your own. As back in Connecticut, you can find copies of materials online or perhaps a local library, but the bookshop, News From Nowhere, located on Bold Street, will have the course materials required for your modules in stock.
Hopefully by now you’ve made contact with the necessary faculty and have obtained all your module materials, so you should be ready for your first LJMU lecture! Most lectures are held in the John Foster Building, located on Mount Pleasant; though, you will often take class time to visit galleries and have opportunities for similar enriching experiences. A quick word of advice, most lectures won’t start until 10 AM or later, but giving yourself extra time to arrive to campus would be wise, especially during the first days of your stay as you’re acclimating to Liverpool and may find an entirely foreign urban environment difficult to navigate. Furthermore, as preparation is a virtue, confirming classroom numbers, as modules may change rooms, could prove beneficial, and a brief walk around the John Foster Building, which can likewise prove to be disorienting, could also be helpful.
Okay, the real reason you’re at LJMU— studying! On the English programme most modules, if not all, will be divided into two components. The first piece is the lecture, and all students enrolled in any given module will be together. For roughly 50 minutes to a full hour, a lecturer will give a presentation on material, theories, and any relevant information pertaining to the topic at hand that week. It is only to your benefit to be attentive and take notes. ATTENDANCE WILL BE MARKED, and is recorded electronically, either by entering your student ID number or swiping your student ID card on a tablet passed around the lecture theatre.
In contrast to the lecture, the duration of a seminar, which is closer to the typical Southern classroom environment, will be in the neighborhood of an hour and a half. This is the opportune time to ask questions and engage with professors and peers. As with the lecture, attendance will be marked. The seminar provides an opportunity to apply your reading and lecture material to a discussion that will only facilitate your understanding of texts or concepts and how to use them.
Week to week, you won’t have assignments to complete and turn every class session, in the way you would at Southern, but keeping up with your reading, which is arguably more demanding at LJMU, is pivotal.
For each module you will have to write either one or two essays, as well as give a presentation on an assigned topic. As there are no other graded assignments, the completion of these essays, and a proper diligence to their quality and thoughtfulness, is likewise imperative to succeeding academically at LJMU. Most of these assignments will be due late in the semester, and you should also have some idea of what the assignment will require and ask of you well before its due. Excluding particular and unforeseeable circumstances, you should have plenty of time to complete these assignments. Furthermore, a professor will meet with you in the concluding weeks of the semester to ensure you’re on track with your essay and have a grasp of your task.
Some concluding remarks, if you’re wondering how to conduct yourself, ask how you would, or perhaps should, behave in class at Southern. Spending an entire day of lectures and seminars on your phone, for example, is counterproductive and, much like it would be at Southern, will do nothing for your education and sends a poor message about Southern students. If they have to be used, you should be courteous on your phone. Finally though, you should take this opportunity to enjoy yourself and be immersed in another culture. Now is the time to be bold and adventurous. Don’t be shy, you’ll find that your classmates and faculty members to be very warm, and some may very well be international travelers themselves! Enjoy your time at LJMU and exploring England and the English language!