Some CET programs offer students the chance to choose direct-enroll courses. These are courses offered by the overseas host institution, not by CET. Some direct-enroll courses are aimed at international students—they are taught in English or at appropriate levels of the host language. Other direct-enroll courses are aimed at local students—they are taught entirely in the host language for a native-speaking audience.
Direct-enroll courses offer exciting possibilities in study abroad because they get you as close to an authentic, local academic experience as possible. Imagine learning about Brazilian history from a Brazilian professor next to Brazilian undergraduates! Because of this, direct-enroll courses can also be quite challenging…and not just academically. The entire course experience will be different than what you’re used to, and will most likely call into question your expectations about what a college course should be like in the first place. Some of the differences you can expect in a direct-enroll course include:
- Your syllabus. The course syllabus may be less comprehensive than what you are accustomed to, and your teacher may not follow it exactly.
- Your contact hours. Your university might calculate contact hours using clock time instead of class time. Whereas in the US, a one-hour class might meet from 1pm to 1:50pm, a one-hour class overseas might meet from 1pm to 2pm…give or take.
- Your schedule. Your professor may make last-minute changes to class meeting times, assignments, or due dates.
- Your grading rubric. The bulk of your grade may come from one final paper or project, and throughout the term, you may receive less detailed input or feedback from your professor than what you’re used to.
- Your autonomy. You may find that your professor expects a level of self-direction and initiative that is not the norm in most US university classrooms.
We think that direct-enroll courses are an outstanding learning opportunity…we wouldn’t offer them if we didn’t! We also have full faith in our host university partnerships and, in fact, choose to work with overseas institutions that furnish the academic excellence our students need. But in study abroad, flexibility is everything. Keep an open mind, recognize that learning comes in different shapes and sizes, and you may find that your direct-enroll course is the most fulfilling part of your time overseas.