Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

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blaurebell
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby blaurebell » Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:55 pm

Ingaræð wrote:I still dream of escaping the UK though (I'm jealous of family even flying over Russia), so studying abroad in the future is hopefully one option for me. I had no idea there were so many Russians in Düsseldorf/Cologne! I'd agree about those being good places to learn German, if only because my Familie are all in NRW, and none of them speak English. :lol: I would certainly appreciate your language-school recommendation.


The school I was thinking of was the IIK in Düsseldorf. They are somewhat connected to the university, but not quite part of it as far as I know. One of my best friends runs their social program taking out the students for night's out and that sort of thing. She studied Linguistics, Japanese and French herself, so even the part-time non-teaching stuff is qualified. All the students I met from that school were happy with it. 5h of German style language classes is very intense, but definitely effective! By the way, send me a PM if you plan on visiting the area, I'm there about once a year for university purposes and maybe we can meet up one day!

In NRW you won't find the Russians as ghettoised as in Berlin - Charlottengrad -, but they are there. You just have to know where to look! They seem to accumulate in maths, physics and computer science degrees and among the tango dancers :D And when you meet one, of course they know all the good places in the area and take you where you can meet more Russians! They really have a tendency to stick together, whereas I avoided Germans like the plague in England! And although they speak excellent German, they always speak Russian with each other too, none of that "politely sticking to a common language". It's really very helpful for practicing.

Such a shame that your stay in Heidelberg was academically useless! It's a nice place and a good university, you probably missed out on some good lectures. One of my flatmates in England was a German major too and she was in no position to understand university lectures when she left on her year abroad either. It seems to be a common state of affairs at English universities. This is not the case for Erasmus students coming from German universities. I originally wanted to do my year abroad in Italy and due to admin issues I didn't get into the course that would have allowed me to take the B1 test I needed for Erasmus. I was furious, because I could have made B2 easily before leaving but well ... it's Germany, the rules are the rules are the rules. Most people leave with a solid B2. My friends who went to France and Spain came back with some pretty solid achievements (and some riot and burning cars stories from France :D )! In our case we could use the grades from our year abroad if we wanted them. I actually got some firsts on some philosophy papers that were very useful!
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Atinkoriko » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:12 am

I also had the same problem with French prosody/pronunciation a few months ago, and I fixed it with Pimsleur Level I -III. I did no other French study at all during that three month period, so I can safely say that Pimsleur bears the credit for that.

Also, I find that there's something to be said for Pimsleur at the intermediate stage. I'm working through it for German now, currently on Lesson 16 of Level III, and I find that having a near 100 percent prior knowledge of the grammatical structures and vocab really allows me to move beyond the memorisation/SRS aspect of Pimsleur and focus on my accent as well as overlearning the aforementioned grammatical structures. I'd say my automaticity during my Skype conversations with native speakers has vastly improved since I am now able to just repeat the structures from memory, adding or removing vocab as needed.

It's deadly boring but I think it does work
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Mon Mar 20, 2017 2:24 pm

Atinkoriko, I totally agree with you about Pimsleur! The last lesson I did yesterday evening was 9, and something's definitely starting to click with the prosody. :D One thing that I think has really helped is repeating the French as many times as I can in the pauses provided. I don't mind repeating Pimsleur because for now, at least, it's acting as a good replacement for native contact. I'll probably revisit Pimsleur German when I get back to that language.

I also don't understand why some people complain about the parts where a guy is persistently trying to ask out a woman for a drink or whatever, and she doesn't want to. I've witnessed a female tourist having to deal with this, so why would people not want pratice for this under their belt? It might not make for fun learning, but isn't the point of any language-learning programme to enable you to deal with real-life situations..?

---------------------------------------

So, yesterday I eagerly checked out the IIK (which looks pretty good), and then this morning I remembered why it's highly unlikely I'll return to formal study: the artificial lighting that is now legally required in buildings in the EU stops my brain from functioning properly. (In school, I would drop several grades in any classroom that had mainly artificial light.) Bugger. :( Oh well, at least I can still go on a 'Russian hunt' the next time I'm in NRW! :lol: It would be cool to meet up with you blaurebell, if we ever happen to be there at the same time. :)
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Xenops » Mon Mar 20, 2017 4:16 pm

I apologize in advance for the continuing of the thread-hijacking. :) As an American considering going for an advanced degree in Europe, I find the news that the UK's education system is inferior to the German education system most interesting. I suppose it would be hard to know if this trend also follows with medical professional degrees (medical doctor, medical laboratory science, etc). Would you say that the education in France and Italy is also better than the UK? What about the Republic of Ireland?

Ingaræð, I feel your pain about the slow progress in a language: let's jump start together and make fantastic progress! :mrgreen:
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Elenia » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:06 pm

Xenops wrote:I apologize in advance for the continuing of the thread-hijacking. :) As an American considering going for an advanced degree in Europe, I find the news that the UK's education system is inferior to the German education system most interesting. I suppose it would be hard to know if this trend also follows with medical professional degrees (medical doctor, medical laboratory science, etc). Would you say that the education in France and Italy is also better than the UK? What about the Republic of Ireland?

Ingaræð, I feel your pain about the slow progress in a language: let's jump start together and make fantastic progress! :mrgreen:


I think this depends on what you want to study. It's impossible to say that all the universities of one country are better than all of the universities of another - I found the French university where I studied far inferior to my English university, for example, but I am sure that others (the Sorbonne, for example) would have been much better. It also depends on how you like to study. Higher education, even at masters level, seemed much more restricted in France and Belgium than in the Netherlands in terms of how much control the student has over their study path and module choices.

I don't know what the cost would be for you as an international student, but for anyone coming within the EU I would recommend studying in mainland Europe just because the fees in the UK and even ROI are so high.
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Xenops » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:33 pm

Elenia wrote:
I think this depends on what you want to study. It's impossible to say that all the universities of one country are better than all of the universities of another - I found the French university where I studied far inferior to my English university, for example, but I am sure that others (the Sorbonne, for example) would have been much better. It also depends on how you like to study. Higher education, even at masters level, seemed much more restricted in France and Belgium than in the Netherlands in terms of how much control the student has over their study path and module choices.

I don't know what the cost would be for you as an international student, but for anyone coming within the EU I would recommend studying in mainland Europe just because the fees in the UK and even ROI are so high.


Thank you for the input. I have noted that the courses in the mainland are much cheaper for international students than on the islands.
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby blaurebell » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:59 pm

Xenops wrote:As an American considering going for an advanced degree in Europe, I find the news that the UK's education system is inferior to the German education system most interesting. I suppose it would be hard to know if this trend also follows with medical professional degrees (medical doctor, medical laboratory science, etc).


Actually this very much depends from subject to subject. Computer science: Germany is much more thorough if you want to go into research in Foundations of Computing - quantum computing and that sort of theoretical stuff - it's rubbish if you actually just want to work in industry though. Hardly anyone I know even passed computer science in Germany because the maths is really unnecessarily high level. For just becoming a programmer with a really decent education in how to program, an English university will be much better and they focus on skills that an employer might actually find interesting, rather than knowledge that might help you in cutting edge research.

Humanities in Germany are generally really badly organised and there is still quite a lot of freedom so, you might come out of a degree knowing nothing or just very strange bits of information because you happened to pick the most obscure courses. You can also pass some humanities degrees with barely reading anything, it's really strange. In England they make sure you actually get a good overview and they put you through a lot of reading, easily 25,000 pages a year just during term time. The workload at English universities was always insane for me, whereas at my German university I was so bored I studied two degrees at the same time. In general I would say that if you choose a top ranking degree at a university in England you can't go wrong, unless it's languages. In Germany it depends very much on your specific professors, your own attitude and your own ability to organise yourself. In Engineering and everything technology related you can also find good German universities, everything else kinda sucks a little with the exceptional department here and there. On the other hand it's free and if you do it right you can also get a really cheap really good education out of it - especially in languages and engineering. Not MIT perhaps, but if you go to Aachen it's not actually that far behind in computer science and robotics. They are very conservative and automation oriented there though, I wouldn't have liked it there.

As for medical degrees - I don't know, German doctors have had a really bad track record with my own diseases and I was actually diagnosed by an English GP whereas German doctors - even specialists - only ever told me that they couldn't do anything for me, I should go see a shrink! It might be the education or just that the NHS is better at keeping their doctors up to date, it's hard to tell. My university is one of the medical universities - University of Düsseldorf - we always had to listen to the very unappetising and morally questionable conversations of the medical students in the cafeteria. You can't choose where you go if you choose medicine - it's centrally organised, you have to be very very good and then they might send you to a place where you don't really want to spend 9 years of your life - that's how long it takes to obtain a medical degree in Germany. They then put you through 9yrs of bootcamp where you become a medical dictionary and it's supposed to be incredibly hard. And it kinda ruins doctors as "people". German doctors are just damn rude, dehumanising and terrible at reassuring patients.

In the end ... don't look at the country, or even the university, look at the specific degree program and the lecturers in the program. Look them up on Google scholar. If the professors have a really short list of publications all written in the local language, go look somewhere else. What you want is professors with a whole lot of English publications, otherwise you might end up 10 years behind in your education. This is especially important for anything science related. In humanities ... who cares about cutting edge?! Most of it is navel gazing in one way or another anyway. If you like it, that's fine and it can be lots of fun, but it's also full of politics. If you want to actually teach at university level one day, stay far far away from Germany.
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Ingaræð
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:21 pm

Xenops wrote:I apologize in advance for the continuing of the thread-hijacking. :) As an American considering going for an advanced degree in Europe, I find the news that the UK's education system is inferior to the German education system most interesting. I suppose it would be hard to know if this trend also follows with medical professional degrees (medical doctor, medical laboratory science, etc). Would you say that the education in France and Italy is also better than the UK? What about the Republic of Ireland?


Tuition fees in England/Wales are about £9000 per year for a home student, regardless of the quality/standing of the institution. Unless you're planning on studying somewhere like Oxbridge, the cost alone means you'd probably get more value for money in Mainland Europe (and better weather :lol: ).

Unfortunately, education in the UK has been dumbed down by successive governments since the 1960s. I have my mother's German O-level paper (sat at age 16) from the mid-1970s, and it's more difficult than the A-level paper (age 18) I had in the early 2000s. My comprehensive school forced everyone to sit an inferior-level science GCSE (age 16, late '90s)). When I returned to college about 5 years ago to study A-level Maths, Physics and Chemistry, I already knew some of the 'new' stuff being taught. The lab technician told me that things he did for A-level Chemistry (I'm assuming in the '70s, maybe '80s) are no longer even taught at bachelor degree level! I'm afraid I can't offer anything specifically about medical degrees, but as science A-levels are the 'feeder' qualifications, there has to be a knock-on effect...

Someone on HTLAL posted a link to a 2006 paper that considers where French qualifications attained in the UK should sit within CEFR levels. As one conclusion, it questions whether our degree students are actually 'ready' for a year of study abroad.

I agree with Elenia that you can't objectively say all of country X's universities are better than country Y's, but there may be a general trend within certain subjects. There are are a growing number of universities on the mainland offering degrees taught in English, and probably with better language-learning opportunities on the side.

I hope at least some of that might have been of use to you. :oops: I guess Cavesa might be able to give you some specifics about medical degrees in France?

EDIT: I second blaurebell's advice about researching individual programs, not just universities as whole institutions.
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Ingaræð » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:33 pm

blaurebell wrote:As for medical degrees - I don't know, German doctors have had a really bad track record with my own diseases and I was actually diagnosed by an English GP whereas German doctors - even specialists - only ever told me that they couldn't do anything for me, I should go see a shrink! It might be the education or just that the NHS is better at keeping their doctors up to date, it's hard to tell.


The NHS is pretty good if you need emergency care (heart attack, broken bone etc.), but for everything else it's usually crap. The doctors are, in general, very bad at keeping up to date with treatment guidelines, let alone new research. The entire thing effectively operates on a 'postcode lottery', so I think you just got really, really lucky.
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Re: Ingaræð's Yellow Brick Road (DE/FR/RU...)

Postby Xenops » Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:19 pm

Ingaræð wrote:
Tuition fees in England/Wales are about £9000 per year for a home student, regardless of the quality/standing of the institution. Unless you're planning on studying somewhere like Oxbridge, the cost alone means you'd probably get more value for money in Mainland Europe (and better weather :lol: ).

Unfortunately, education in the UK has been dumbed down by successive governments since the 1960s. I have my mother's German O-level paper (sat at age 16) from the mid-1970s, and it's more difficult than the A-level paper (age 18) I had in the early 2000s. My comprehensive school forced everyone to sit an inferior-level science GCSE (age 16, late '90s)). When I returned to college about 5 years ago to study A-level Maths, Physics and Chemistry, I already knew some of the 'new' stuff being taught. The lab technician told me that things he did for A-level Chemistry (I'm assuming in the '70s, maybe '80s) are no longer even taught at bachelor degree level! I'm afraid I can't offer anything specifically about medical degrees, but as science A-levels are the 'feeder' qualifications, there has to be a knock-on effect...

Someone on HTLAL posted a link to a 2006 paper that considers where French qualifications attained in the UK should sit within CEFR levels. As one conclusion, it questions whether our degree students are actually 'ready' for a year of study abroad.

I agree with Elenia that you can't objectively say all of country X's universities are better than country Y's, but there may be a general trend within certain subjects. There are are a growing number of universities on the mainland offering degrees taught in English, and probably with better language-learning opportunities on the side.

I hope at least some of that might have been of use to you. :oops: I guess Cavesa might be able to give you some specifics about medical degrees in France?

EDIT: I second blaurebell's advice about researching individual programs, not just universities as whole institutions.


First of all, thank you for allowing me to hi-jack your log, and to ask questions about the education, and for patience for my terrible question (I should know better than to assume generalities for an entire country). And thank you again for your information regarding British education. In the U.S., there is a trend toward Common Core, where the standards are lowered so everyone "succeeds", rather than bringing the suffering students to higher academic standards. Would you say that the case in the UK is similar, or different?

I have communicated with Cavesa already, thank you. :D I have found her feedback most useful, as well as the info people have provided on your log here. I'm just trying to research and ask questions when possible.

Thank you again for allowing me to invade your space. :mrgreen:
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