Here is a summary of what I’ve learned at Dalhousie University during the past week:

-Student texts and books are ridiculously expensive, so much so that it feels there is a conspiracy going on to prevent you from buying your books.

-a lot of the work is done on-line, and you need about sixty different IDs and passwords to login to all the different sites and access all the registration and stuff.

-Canadian profs are as fond of Iranian profs of being flattered and chased around. They are humans, after all. I had to go and visit one prof three times before I could register for his class, and then he still forgot to give me access to the on-line material, and I had to go a fourth.

-They do not, however, consider themselves the fountain of all knowleldge and wisdom, and in fact say “this is not in my area of specialization” pretty frequently, unlike Iranian profs. 

-You have to do a certain amount of actual continuous studying  to stay in the game, again unlike most arts and humanities courses in Iranian universities, where you can spend more or less most of the term on a tanning bed so long as you cram the last couple of week.

-Most graduate classes are in a seminar format, where the students are expected to most of the talking and are marked based on their particpation. The prof calls him or herself a `facilitator`. This kind of scenario is meaningless in Iranian universities, where drawing too much attention in the class can draw heavy sarcasm and otherwise backfire in your face.

-In classes where boys outnumber girls (eg political science classes), girls remain typically silent- remarkable after all this progress in equal rights and women`s lib etc.

-Even overlooking the fact that I do not have flat yellow-browny hair and un-made-up round blue eyes, I speak and dress very differently from my classmates.

-Having small children is really prohibiting when it comes to socialising….


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