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A Levels and German Abitur equivalent

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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    Can someone that actually enjoyed their Year Abroad please post?! You're making me doubt my degree choice! :nooo:

    What you say makes a lot of sense though. I really sympathise.
    I haven't found anyone who feels this way, so we may indeed be a tiny minority. There is nothing else online about this, so I thought I might just be the one person to get like this on my year abroad.

    Don't have any doubts about choosing Modern Languages, the past 2 years of my life have been more than I could ever have imagined. This is tough for me, but use it as advice; choose carefully and plan yours to really suit you. There are parts of this experience that I will never forget, but I should've been more aware of just how big a step living abroad alone is.
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    (Original post by Dusty12)
    Can someone that actually enjoyed their Year Abroad please post?! You're making me doubt my degree choice! :nooo:

    What you say makes a lot of sense though. I really sympathise.
    Without meaning to be disrespectful to the OP's feelings, on the whole I have loved my Erasmus year so far. I'm also in France (although I'll be going to Heidelburg in Germany for the second semester in March) and it's been such a challenge finding my feet ineverything but at the same time it's been loads of fun.

    I have to say though the most frustrating thing has been the lack of interaction with proper French students. There's really a huge gap between Erasmus students and French students; literally every other Erasmus student I know here mixes only with other students from their home country or with other Erasmus students, save for the odd French student here and there.

    I think the whole education system here is to blame, people go up from lycée to their local university as a standard procedure, much like we would go from primary to secondary school, and so they stay amongst their old group of schoolfriends, their old interests, etc. For us it's a major step in life where we get to truly learn to be adult and independent, but I get the feeling that in France it's basically like going to school as in you live at home, go to lessons in the day, go back home, etc. There's no student community, no societies, no student union, no support structure like there is in the UK. With hindsight I would definitely have made more of an effort to break into exisiting friendship groups even if it felt like I was being too forceful and rude at the time, as often I would wait and let people in my class introduce me to their friends or initiate conversation - which they never did. Otherwise people will just ignore you as the new international student.

    (Original post by Anonymous)
    I ask because I am also on an erasmus year abroad and I find myself counting down the days til I can fly home. I was in a different country last semester, where I got very, very low and I can feel myself slipping back into the same mindset this time.
    I think the best thing to do is just throw yourself in there. You don't want to go back at the end of the year and regret not getting as much out of it as you could have done. Plus like I mentioned above you've been through it once already so now you know what mistakes to avoid making this time around.
    #1

    (Original post by cactussed)
    I think the best thing to do is just throw yourself in there. You don't want to go back at the end of the year and regret not getting as much out of it as you could have done. Plus like I mentioned above you've been through it once already so now you know what mistakes to avoid making this time around.
    On the face of it, or lets say, as Facebook tells it, I am having a good time. I have friends, we socialise, go shopping, go out on trips to the surrounding area and I'm always in the town centre looking for something new. I will happily chat to anyone on my course and they are friendly enough. But after all that, I always feel like I can't face another day. I'm sick of the niggling feeling, the ache of not wanting to be here. And I'm mad and upset at myself for making myself feel this way, if that makes any sense. Why am I doing this to myself? I'm tired of crying. I don't think there's a lot left I can do to make myself feel any better. If I haven't figured it out in 6 months, I'm hardly going to find it now.

    I am still trying to make the best of what I feel is a bad situation and who knows, it might turn around in the end. I'm not happy to know that there are other students who feel the same way I do, but it is actually comforting to see. Whilst everybody else around me is having the time of their life, I often feel like it must be just me, my fault why I feel the way I do. It's great you're having a good time and I'm glad you've shown the opposite side too.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    On the face of it, or lets say, as Facebook tells it, I am having a good time. I have friends, we socialise, go shopping, go out on trips to the surrounding area and I'm always in the town centre looking for something new. I will happily chat to anyone on my course and they are friendly enough. But after all that, I always feel like I can't face another day. I'm sick of the niggling feeling, the ache of not wanting to be here. And I'm mad and upset at myself for making myself feel this way, if that makes any sense. Why am I doing this to myself? I'm tired of crying. I don't think there's a lot left I can do to make myself feel any better. If I haven't figured it out in 6 months, I'm hardly going to find it now.

    I am still trying to make the best of what I feel is a bad situation and who knows, it might turn around in the end. I'm not happy to know that there are other students who feel the same way I do, but it is actually comforting to see. Whilst everybody else around me is having the time of their life, I often feel like it must be just me, my fault why I feel the way I do. It's great you're having a good time and I'm glad you've shown the opposite side too.
    I know how it hurts. I've been there. Feel free to PM me if you need to.
    #1

    (Original post by sunfowers01)
    I know how it hurts. I've been there. Feel free to PM me if you need to.
    Thanks sunfowers, I'll bear that in mind. It's just a bit embarrassing I suppose :blushing:
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks sunfowers, I'll bear that in mind. It's just a bit embarrassing I suppose :blushing:
    Don't feel embarassed. There's nothing to be embarassed about.
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    There is this bayerische formula you can use to convert your A levels into the Abitur.

    It has been published by the Bezirksregierung Duesseldorf which is responsible for the Bundestland Nordrheinwest falen.


    x = 1 + 3 (Nmax-Nd / Nmax-Nmin)


    where,
    Nmax is the maximum UCAS points you could get. (140)
    Nd is your actual score
    Nmin is the minimum UCas points you could get.

    So for example for me, I am doing A2 Biology, Chemistry, Maths, German and AS psychology.

    The UCAS tarriff points for A levels are A*=140, A=120 B=100 C=80 D=60 E=40

    For AS it starts which A=60 and goes down by 20 for each grade aswell.

    So lets say you have Bio A, Chem A Maths A German A* and Psychology b.

    SO Nmax=620 and Nd=540 Nmin = 4x40 + 1x20 = 180

    Putting that into the forumula gives


    x = 1 + 3 (620-540) / (620-180)

    x= 1,545454...

    So my Numerus clauses e.g Abitur Durschnitt = 1,5.

    The first 2 figures are your Numerus clauses, and any number afterwards are not applicable and not rounded.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Thanks to everyone to replying, it's comforting to see I'm not alone. The place I am in is beautiful and I although french universties are ridiculously unorganised, I have managed to find classes fairly quick, so I am hoping I can settle into a routine and just try my best to get through it. I can see how I take my friends for granted in the UK, plus it's hard to talk to the friends I have made here about the way I feel, because they are still in 'oh god, be cool and make as many friends as possible' mode. They go out drinking a lot, which doesn't interest me and I do feel left out, but I know I'm perfectly at liberty to suggest something we do as well.

    I was in such a state before I came, my mum nearly didn't let me come. I think she could see I was slipping into a depression. But the thing is, I don't feel I can tell her how I'm feeling now. As far as she's concerned, I'm settled and happy, but if I tell her this, she'll be so worried and I don't want to burden her

    I look back on last semester and have little to say about what I enjoyed. It was so hard. I thought this time may be better, but I just seem to feel so sad all the time. I know I'll be home in a matter of months and I know I'll be back at uni with my best friends in September, but that just doesn't encourage me. There's no way I'm going to give in and go home, but until that time comes, I guess it's moaning on TSR.
    Hi, this is not Megan-x - but her MUM!! I've been doing a little research into studying/working abroad, cos my daughter will be starting her French degree this year. In 2 years time she will spend a year abroad, and i am already worrying...
    Please don't hide the way you are feeling from your Mum - that is exactly what would worry me as a Mum I hate the fact you're having a bad time, and i so sincerely hope it gets better for you.
    there is also nothing unusual about not enjoying being away from home - many young people i know wouldn't consider it. You are brave and i admire you very much, but PLEASE PLEASE tell your Mum how you feel!!!!!! Roll on September when you can be with your friends again xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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    (Original post by Dark92amaury)
    I'm french, a strong french accent and I will be studying in the UK for 3 years in a country that's not mine. Although I have been living in the uK for 3 years now, I'm thinking my experience will be like a never ending Erasmus programme : I hope english people, unlike frenchies, are happy to welcome someone in their group that is NOT english...
    Some might not, but many will.

    Just in our hockey team at the University of Leicester we have a German and a Belgian and their are well integrated into the whole squad.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    France.
    To enjoy France you need to have a good knowledge of French (GCSE won't cut it). I have been through both the French and UK education systems and yes there are differences but that should not exclude you from anything and as for not watching the same TV that is BS, there is as much American TV in France as there is in the UK and for French shows you can easily go online and watch them so you have an idea of what they are talking about.

    What are your real problems as those are not problems... well language is a real problem if you are not up to a decent level but the rest is not as much. Surely you share other interests with the French people you know?
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    (Original post by amaybury)
    I was an aupair in France for a month in the Summer Holidays of Lower 6th. It was really good, the family were charming, and my job basically involved persuading the two boys to go outside and do stuff, which I'm good at, so yeah it was great. I'm going to uni in France next year, and I was thinking about working as an aupair or something. But I reckon it'd be quite a lot of work doing both. Did you want to work as an aupair during the holidays, or term-time aswell? If the latter, you might have difficulty finding a family who'd be happy for you to do part-time - aupairing is usually quite full on, or else you get only weekends off, which doesn't leave much time for study.

    Hope this helps
    Thanks a lot, that's really helpful! Sounds great and that's a nice idea to do it over summer, I'll consider that! The baby-speaking site looks good, I'm just on it. Did you do it through a company? Wow, what Uni are you going to and what will you study? I'm not sure when I would like to be an au pair but as xmarilynx said it seems it really would be too much to do both at the same time.

    My idea was that then I could cut down living costs as I would be staying in their house and working for them, to pay my rent sort of thing. Where are you planning to stay when you go to Uni there?

    I'm not sure what it is I'd like to do at Uni yet, and I don't want to waste money, so maybe I'll take a gap year and do some au pairing then!

    Thanks again
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    An easier way to earn money would be probably to give English lessons to French lycéens. Or do a whole year as Au Pair to reach a higher language proficiency. I don't know if there exists something similar in France, but I know it also "the other way round". --> Living with old people and help them some hours out during the week with tasks like shopping, talking, gardening and in return to live with a very low rent. (But I haven't a clue, if that exists in France.)
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    This will help you. It gives you a formula to convert them too.
    http://www.brd.nrw.de/schule/schulre...rkblatt_GB.pdf
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    A lot of German students who did their AS Levels ins Britain in their 11 grade without having been before in the UK did very well, thus it is very fair for the ones, who can't be sent off to boarding school, to be treated the same. And you don't need to have 8 A*, just 5A* for Abitur and just 3A* for fachgebundene Hochschulreife, so you can't really complain. I e.g. had 10 traditional subjects plus an extended essay plus 4 examinations over the whole two years without any possibility to retake. I don't complain and enjoyed the education I got, but you should really rethink your argument it would be unfair because A Levels are way harder.
    And no you a B in Germany isn't lower than a B in the UK, you are twisting your arguments to your side, denying the possibility to use the same arguments on the other side.

    Sorry, I hate these discussion, who has the higher level, but your claims are "ridiculous".
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    (Original post by timelordess2)
    ...
    But from what I heard it is also a little bit a Paris thing, that you have to make twice an effort as elsewhere in France. (Of course I also know people, who had a very nice time there, but in general I heard it is harder and you have to be more able, to do things on your own.)

    I also think, that some students put themself under a lot of pressure: It shall be the time of their life! This is as true, as University is an all the time happy partying with friends time. It simply isn't. On the other hand on reason to go to a foreign country is to learn to cope in an environment, where everyone else is already integrated (it is not first year freshers fair) and thus also to get a feeling, how it is to be a stranger, which leads to a better understanding of the foreigners coming to the UK with problems, who might have not understood otherwise.

    There are the ones who are really happy throughout their year abroad and at university, the ones who aren't happy at both, and those in between. Some people profit to change the environment and not all of some really left something behind, they miss.

    To the original poster: You are saying you have a lot of contact to other people, may it be that the problem isn't so much the being abroad thing? (I mean, perhaps it is just not your year?)

    Maybe it is extra-hard for students coming for universities, where they are cared for all the time, to be thrown in an environment, where every student is used to be his own Master, than the other way round: a student which is used to fight for everything and is self-reliant, coming to a university where timetables are served on a plate and societies are even compulsary to join. (I don't say it's the case here.)
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    (Original post by The Student World)
    Hello!

    Wow what a decision to make! I haven't done either but I do know of an event which might provide you with a little more insight about studying abroad. The Student World is kicking off on Saturday 17th March and you can speak to people who have done it and got the t-shirt and meet lots of international universities to ask them your questions. It's free to attend so I hope you can make it - good luck with your decision making!

    http://www.thestudentworld.com
    Brill, thanks a lot I'll have a look!
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    (Original post by xmarilynx)
    I tried this and can tell you that, unless you have a magic ability to be in two places at once, it's very, very difficult to do.

    Au pairing is around 30 hours per week, which in itself would be manageable (albeit tiring) but the real problem is the way the hours are spread out. 99% of families want you to pick the kids up from school (usually around 4pm ish), when you would probably have lectures at university. Even worse, as French kids don't have school on Wednesdays you would be expected to work, and again, there's no guarantee you would be available during this time. I can't even imagine how I would have kept both up during exam time...

    University in France is great, au pairing (if you have a nice family) is great. However, both at the same time is very difficult to manage and as you don't receive your university timetable in advance you run the risk of finding yourself in my situation : part way through my degree, reluctant to give up but really, really struggling financially after it didn't work out with the family.
    Ok, that's all really helpful thanks a lot. The Uni that you went to, what was the cost like in comparison to over here in the UK? Thanks!
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    (Original post by Nathanielle)
    An easier way to earn money would be probably to give English lessons to French lycéens. Or do a whole year as Au Pair to reach a higher language proficiency. I don't know if there exists something similar in France, but I know it also "the other way round". --> Living with old people and help them some hours out during the week with tasks like shopping, talking, gardening and in return to live with a very low rent. (But I haven't a clue, if that exists in France.)
    Good ideas, I'll look into them. I especially like the idea of teaching French students. Thanks very much!
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    Hi there, I hope that the OP now realises that the problems they're having aren't unusual. Myself and most of my friends spent our Erasmus in different countries across Europe (Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, and Sweden) and, at various times, we all had those difficulties. It's not strange that it has happened to you.

    Personally, I think there's a issue with the 'packaging' or advertising of Erasmus. It's sold to students as The Best Year Of Your Life. Ever. And it isn't always explained to students that they might have problems - timetables might be all over the place, lecturers might smoke in their face (and tell them they're stupid), housing might be ridiculous. Because none of us know what we're getting ourselves into when we decide to move abroad, we try to think of the positives and this can lead us to having crazy expectations. And problems hurt more than they should because you think that no one else in the history of Erasmus has ever had them. Don't worry; they have.

    It's neither your fault or the fault of the university. People just do things differently. It's not that some of us are mollycoddled at our universities and other aren't - traditions, cultures, ways of socialising happen to be different. Students from the country probably aren't trying to be mean. They probably have their own friends and problems and it hasn't popped into their head to chat to the Erasmus student in the corner. How many of us talked to the Erasmus students when we were at home? Here's a blog that talks about the same type of idea.

    Some advice I'd have is
    * stay in contact with people at home but set out a timetable for it. It'll do you no good to spend your Year Abroad on Skype. Explain this to people at home.
    * DO turn up to lectures/ work! Even just to have those five minutes waiting for the lecturer to turn up when you can chat to someone.
    *Whatever you do on Erasmus is very unlikely to get back to your home uni. So, if you make a fool of yourself trying new things it doesn't matter.
    *Look out for stupid posters or signs - go to events that are on in town.

    I'm saying this as someone from Ireland who spent Erasmus in Sweden and is now living in Spain and hoping to move to the UK next year. It's a lot harder than it seems. All the 'Best Year of my Life' photos can hide it but it's best to tell people about it.
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    (Original post by Al04)
    ...
    Okay, but you have to admit, that your last post sounded a little bit differently.

    And one hint: There are universities in Germany, where you don't need perfect grades for Medicine, maybe not Heidelberg, but...

    Hm, but Germans aren't the only ones, who don't know the concept of predicted grades. But maybe it calms you, when you know, that German students have their problems, too, with applying abroad and that the number of 1.0 students differs greatly from school to school.

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