International students surprised at UM’s workload

When thinking about spending a year in Miami, there are certain images which come to mind such as palm trees and beautiful weather or the glamour of South Beach.

So when international exchange students choose to spend their year in the United States at the University of Miami, they hardly picture spending it inside of a library.

Yet for Claire Phillips, from Sussex University in England, her year in Miami has consisted of long nights of studying and days full of work. Spending more time in the library than ever before, Phillips is not the only international exchange student who is shocked by the heavy workload.

“The focus is on quantity, not quality here,” said Alice Hodgson, an exchange student from the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. “I feel it’s the opposite in England. I’m not used to having so much work.”

The workload is not only stressful on international students, but a burden as well. The high amount of assignments sometimes means that work quality must be compromised.

“Because I have less to do at one time, I spend more time on one individual thing. Therefore the work I hand-in in England is of a higher standard,” Hodgson said.

Jens Skoglund, an exchange student from Uppsala University in Sweden, was another student surprised by the amount of assignments he received this year. Even a class he took on stretching, one he thought would be relatively simple, consisted of a final performance in which he had to choreograph and present a routine to music.

“You do more stuff here. It’s more time consuming, but it’s not any harder,” Skoglund said.

Although exchange students were told before they came that work levels would be stepped-up in an American university, some students feel that the warnings were nothing compared to the actual experience.

“We were told there was going to be more work, but that we would be capable of doing it,” said Kat Maher, from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. “But we never realized that you had so much.”

Nina Markowitz may be contacted at

April 28, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.