Lady Bison Abroad: Differences in Universities


Teyonna Ridgeway is studying abroad in London.

Teyonna Ridgeway is studying abroad in London.

When I was preparing to study abroad, I was eager to see what the classes would be like and how the school that I attended overseas would differ from my home university. I am currently enrolled as a study abroad student at Richmond, the American International University. I knew that Richmond would be different from Howard since it wasn’t a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) but I didn’t know what to expect.

I have learned that there are quite a few things that differentiate the universities. While Richmond is a great school, I wouldn’t attend it if I wasn’t a part of the study abroad program. It is a fairly small university and doesn’t offer the opportunities that I am used to. The programs, events and even the student elections are on a much smaller scale than Howard and the quality of education isn’t as enriching.

From an educational standpoint, the universities grade distinctively different. At Richmond, most of my courses have one or two papers and a final. One of my finals is 50% of my overall grade! Not all professors have a midterm exam, so there is not much to weigh your grade on. At Howard, I am used to grades for participation, class assignments, homework and sometimes even attendance. In a sense, the extra grades provides students with more opportunities to recover from mediocre grades but it may also make them feel too comfortable with the bare minimum since there are other grades to consider.

Based on my experience at Richmond, the professors at Howard are more approachable and care more about the students as a whole. Many of them are Howard alumni so they are more than educators, but networking contacts as well. This is not to say that the professors at Richmond do not care about students because I believe that they do. However, the relationship that I have with my professors at Howard is much different than the connection that I have with the professors at Richmond.

I am a bison at heart so I would definitely choose my home school over any university. However, it has been interesting and challenging to attend another school that is so drastically different from what I am used to.


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