Tips and tricks : [email protected]
Leuven For all international students
Orientation day 23/09/2015 Based on PPT ‘Study Advice Service’
Video : Study Succes @ KU Leuven (www.kuleuven.be/studysupport)
Themes • • • • • • • •
relationship student-professor study method time management cultural differences in the study approach different kinds of courses and assignments writing papers exam expectations practical information
Relationship student-professor • not too familiar • email: Mr/Ms/academic title + surname • asking questions to the professor? o o
in class : relevance for others after class : ‘argumented’ question
• respecting the hierarchy • professors appreciate : o o
critical cooperating independent
Study method • Is taking notes necessary? student course books? (see ECTS) • What to learn and how? o text book (marking, reading, analysing) o exercises (familiar and new) o notes • Memorizing literally? o to know – to do o
• • • • •
own examples, counter examples comparisons exercices applications critical point of view, …
Time management • Hours of studying • When to begin? • Where to study? Room o Library • Study planning • What does the academic year look like? o
sept oct nov dec jan feb mar apr may jun
Cultural differences in the study approach • Selection before or after studying? Passing the admission in the beginning ≠ passing the exams at the end? • Exam expectations (see ECTS & TOLEDO) • Independent thinking and studying o courses and assignments o
(Academic) culture • Power distance
• Individualism • Masculinity • Uncertainty avoidance
• Pragmatism • Indulgence http://geert-hofstede.com/countries.html
Power distance This dimension deals with the fact that all individuals in societies are not equal – it expresses the attitude of the culture towards these inequalities amongst us. Power Distance is defined as the extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organisations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally. With a score of 65, Belgium scores high on the scale of the PDI. It is therefore a society in which inequalities are accepted. Hierarchy is needed if not existential; the superiors may have privileges and are often inaccessible. The power is centralized in Belgium. It might in the near future not be centralized in Brussels anymore but the Walloons and Flemish will each have their own point of centralized power from where administration, transports, business etc. are managed. In management, the attitude towards managers is more formal and on family name basis (at least, in the first contact, the information flow is hierarchical. The way information is controlled is even associated with power, therefore unequally distributed. Control is normal, and even expected, but considered as formal and not key for efficiency.
Individualism --The fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s selfimage is defined in terms of “I” or “We”. In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty. At 75 Belgium scores very high on the Individualism index. This means that the Belgians favor individual and private opinions, taking care of themselves and immediate family rather than belonging to a group. In the work environment, work relationships are contract based, the focus is on the task and autonomy is favored. The management is the management of individuals and the recognition of one‘s work is expected. People can voice their opinion, but towards power holders a less direct style is preferred than amongst peers. The Belgian culture (together with the French culture) houses a “contradiction”: although highly Individualist, the Belgians need a hierarchy. This combination (high score on Power Distance and high score on Individualism) creates a specific “tension” in this culture, which makes the relationship so delicate but intense and fruitful once you manage it. Therefore, the manager is advised to establish a second “level” of communication, having a personal contact with everybody in the structure, allowing to give the impression that “everybody is important” in the organization, although unequal.
PD Belgium 65 Spain 57 8 Belgium 65 Italy 50 15 Belgium 65 Netherlands 38 27
M 75 51 24 75 76 -1 75 80 -5
UA 54 42 12 54 70 -16 54 14 40
LTO 94 86 8 94 75 19 94 53 41
82 48 34 82 61 21 82 67 15
INDU 57 44 13 57 30 27 57 68 -11
Masculinity A high score (Masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner / best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organizational life. A low score (Feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A Feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (Masculine) or liking what you do (Feminine). With 54 on average, Belgium has an intermediate score on this dimension. Balancing in the middle of this dimension contradictions can be found. A confrontational, win-lose negotiating style (typical of the US and Anglo countries) will not be very effective in Belgium. Belgians strive towards reaching a compromise, winning a discussion is generally less important than achieving mutual agreement. The Northern part of the country (Flemish) and the Southern part (French) show a difference in the Masculinity value. The Flemish is at 43, and the French at 60. This certainly explains partly the difficulties the two communities experience.
Uncertainty avoidance The dimension Uncertainty Avoidance has to do with the way that a society deals with the fact that the future can never be known: should we try to control the future or just let it happen? This ambiguity brings with it anxiety and different cultures have learnt to deal with this anxiety in different ways. The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in the score on Uncertainty Avoidance.
At 94 Belgium has one of the highest scores on the UAI Index. Their history of frequently being ruled by others partly explains this score. Certainty is often reached through academic work and concepts that can respond for the need of detail, context, and background. Teachings and trainings are more deductive. In management structure, rules and security are welcome and if lacking, it creates stress. Therefore planning is favored, some level of expertise welcome, when change policies on the other hand are considered stressful. Both communities North & South share this score on the dimension, which makes it very painful when negotiating a new set of rules, called a Constitution!
Long Term Orientation This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future, and societies prioritize these two existential goals differently. Normative societies, which score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honored traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture, which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future. With a very high score of 82, Belgium scores as a decidedly pragmatic culture. In societies with a pragmatic orientation, people believe that truth depends very much on situation, context and time. They show an ability to adapt traditions easily to changed conditions, a strong propensity to save and invest, thriftiness, and perseverance in achieving results.
Indulgence One challenge that confronts humanity, now and in the past, is the degree to which small children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “human”. This dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called “Indulgence” and relatively strong control is called “Restraint”. Cultures can, therefore, be described as Indulgent or Restrained. Belgium scores 57 on this dimension, which marks it as Indulgent. People in societies classified by a high score in Indulgence generally exhibit a willingness to realize their impulses and desires with regard to enjoying life and having fun. They possess a positive attitude and have a tendency towards optimism. In addition, they place a higher degree of importance on leisure time, act as they please and spend money as they wish.
Different kinds of courses and assignments
exercise session - integrated practical (compulsary, permanent evaluation)
Writing papers • Goal : personal, independent synthesis of literature • What is plagiarism? Copying or paraphrasing (articles, sites, …) without acknowledgment. • Referring and citing : some misconceptions • Consequences at KU Leuven : o http://www.kuleuven.be/plagiarism/ o
Exam expectations • Examination forms o o
Oral Written • Open questions (structure) • Multiple choice (guessing : -1/3 for wrong answer)
o o o
Paper (plagiarism) Presentation (not only content) Exercises
• Always bring your student card! • Consequences of copying / cheating?
• Only 1 chance (unless you come back in August)
Exam expectations • Deliberation criteria o
Bachelor: KU Leuven students can “tolerate” a 9 or 8 under certain conditions Master : zero tolerance (exception : >68% + 9/20) Erasmus : Transcript of records sent to home university Double degree students: same rules as for KU Leuven students (“toleranties”)
• Marks are only final after deliberation – not possible to communicate them earlier • Ombudsperson ([email protected]
% of succesful
Exceptional, additional analyses, additional information
17 16 15
Own examples, counter examples, comparisons, critics, application, exercises
Memorizing literally, basic understanding
Lack of knowledgecomprehension
Practical information • Registration Student number + passwords for Toledo and ISP • Start classes : Monday Sept. 26th 2016 • ISP = Individual Study Programme o Erasmus coordinator fills in the ISP on the basis of your LA o Contact the coordinator with your final choices! • Toledo : toledo.kuleuven.be o
Information session ICT • Tuesday 27 September, 12:30 – 13:30, room 2.19
Student services Anouk Van Dongen (1.14) • Wed-Thurs-Fri sport – culture
Tim Bleukx (1.14) • Wed – 10:30 till 13:00 Finances, housing, advice on study related and other problems september 2016
Student counselors & ombuds persons Wim Schramme (4.14) – psychologist Karolien Bogaert (4.14) - psychologist room 4.14