Anglo American University – (little more than) first third behind me

It seems unbelievable how fast it flies; the second semester of my studies is nearing its conclusion; summer is in the air and I decided to repeat what I did after the first semester and take a moment to look back at what happened, what did I do and what I accomplished during the Spring semester of 2015.

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The Student Council organised parties always offer a lot of room to continue in the academic discussions beyond classrooms .-)

Intensive classes

As a matter of fact, I didn’t just finish fall and spring semesters, I also took a class during the 3 week intensive semester. The class covered topics of management and marketing specific to services and it belongs to the better (if it is not one of the best classes) I took at AAU. A lot of the concepts I studied there have a me a head start in the classes I began taking in the Spring semester. This class is relevant to my degree as one of the business electives.

 

One of the things we did in the Student Council was to clean up and refurbish the studentt lounge. On the picture here you see the SC members discussing specifics of the interior design :-)

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The four hour sessions which were taking place three times a week were intense but feasible. In fact I want to take more of these intensive classes during the two week sessions after the end of the Spring semester. I will spend the entire span of June studying which may seem crazy at first but I will benefit from having the requirements full filed first, so I can either focus on the more challenging classes better or for example get an internship.

So my standing after the Spring semester of 2014 is that I will have completed 13 classes of the required 30 with a relatively high GPA and a merit based scholarship. At this pace, with a bit of luck,  I could be getting my degree at the end of next year. But I don’t think I am going to rush it as I want to get an internship while I study and because of my upcoming exchange student adventure.

Spring Classes

This semester I took Intro to Macroeconomics, Financial Accounting, Intro to Law, Business Info systems and Intro to Marketing. The range of topics of I am covering in the classes is reflective of the range of topics the degree program is dealing with. That’s what I enjoy, the presence of both quantitative and more social sciences, the fact that it lets me jump between different topics and it gives me space to synthesise, build bridges and look for analogies.

The SC organised workshop was so mind-blowing that even the workshop host was left perplexed.

 

Financial Accounting

The most challenging class was without a doubt the  Financial Accounting class. Fortunately though, the teacher made a lot of (mostly successful) effort to teach us effectively and make the classes enjoyable for all of us. So, my carefully worded comment on the class is that “I hated the subject; loved the class.” Spending hours and hours in front of Excel preparing some spreadsheets was not my favourite part of this semester.

“This is a teapot… When you tilt it, tea comes out!” :-)

 Intro to Macroeconomics

Macroeconomics was a class which I think everyone should take because it really helped me to understand many of the thing which are being discussed in media. The topics covered as a part of the class were abstract and hard to comprehend, especially for people who haven’t taken Microeconomics prior to enrolling in the Macro course. However, a dent class, covering useful material which I am glad I had to take.

 

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Homemade Iranian food on the International day. Hundred ways to get problems with digestion in one room :-)

Intro to Marketing

Intro to Marketing was a class which I didn’t appreciate at first because all the concepts seemed just like common sense put in fancy words. But when I talked to a friend who is starting a company and saw how he constructed the marketing offer and promotion, I realised that the way in which this class shaped my common sense is extremely valuable. These concepts belong to the most used ones out of what I have learned this semester.

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And some more international food… this is the Ukrainian team.

 

Business Info Systems

Business Info Systemswas an amazing class. Taught by Czech researcher from Math and Physics faculty of Charles University. It gave me a chance to leverage and expand my understanding of information technology and databases, the role programers and managers play when developing an information system. The keystone project was to design a database with Microsoft Access. I really enjoyed that. 

Intro to Law

Intro to Law was a class I am purposefully putting towards the end of this list. I admit that the topic is not easy to cover because Anglo-American University in a country of continental law tradition with students with the background of both major traditions of law with even students from some exotic countries who are not a costumed to either one of the main traditions… That represents a challenge for the lecture in terms of choosing what topics to cover and from which perspective. The lecturer in who’s class I was didn’t cope with the challenges too well. Other issues I had in this class included that the grading included some elements which I didn’t find fair. Bu still, I learned a but in the class. And it was a required one.

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Baroque music concert in AAU library

Soft Skills

One of the things I would like to emphasise, which I didn’t do at the end of the first semester, is the fact that a big portion of our grades comes from group assignments. They are not the favourite thing to do for many people. In fact, if you ask a random person at the university, the chance that you get told that group projects are the worst is really high. What those assignment teach is to work in a group of people you haven’t worked with before. And quite often they are people with different mindset, background, perception of lateness tolerance to cheating etc. It is many times painful, but it is a learning process which prepares us quite effectively for the future in the so-called real world.

My advantage is that by working with the Student Council and having to deal with many, many people every week, I have grown in this aspect more than I otherwise would have.

Speakers on the forum on the Ukrainian crisis.

Speakers on the forum on the Ukrainian crisis.

Student Council

This brings me to the topic of the Student Council which I am a member of from September 2013. After this time I know how to work, who to turn to with what kind of request and which people to rely on both within the Council and in the school overall.

I have been acting as a technical support and the marketing guy. Preparing posters, graphics, emailing, taking photographs, etc. Overall though, the SC was a great learning experience. I learned and grew while producing some useful results for the AAU community. That to me, is the right way to learn. Photos of some of the events we organised are scattered throughout this blogpost.

Cheating

As part of the SC membership. I had also been active with the activities of the newly formed anti.cheating committee. Which was founded after we have been contacted by a student. However, I wasn’t able to work with the team in the committee, so after trying to call several meetings with no noticeable effect, I dropped my membership.

The reason I am mentioning this is that I know that these articles get discovered by prospective students, who sometimes contact me. So I thought bringing up this “feature” of the school community could be interesting for those readers.
One of the things which comes as a consequence of multicultural communities such as the one at AAU is a occasional cultural clash. For example we see a clear pattern of rising tolerance for cheating, plagiarism with the students of eastern countries. The anti-cheating policies and measures not being upheld as much as they are needed to be upheld. And this really bothers me, I study quite hard for some of the exams. The fact that the student sitting next to me scores the same grade by skilfully copying my answers not only demotivates me as an individual… imagine the consequences on the value of education and the morale of the diligent students

Accepted for Hawaii!

From the very beginning of my university studies, my goal was to get on a exchange program. i worked really hard both academically and in other ways to make myself a good applicant. I took time to write my motivational essay, updated my resumé and submitted those documents. I could have indicated up to three universities I am interested in going for exchange to. I didn’t really believe in that I can be possibly accepted to the Hawaiian University, Well, I was. I will be going in Spring 2015, one year from now. I hope you can imagine how excited I am.

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Do you have problems with you fellow students? Invite them to paintball and hope for the revenge to be sweet…