Last week we wrapped up Physics I and right now we’re just getting the ball rolling with Physics II. Most of our time here in Cyprus is mostly spent in lecture, lab, or the coffee shop studying. Since class takes up the bulk of our trip I thought I’d break down our class schedule and take you through what it’s like to be a physics student at UNIC.  

Our week is made up of three different schedules, lecture days, lab days, and a combination of the two. We have lecture days every Monday and Wednesday, lab days on Tuesday, and on Thursday we combine the two 

Lecture Days 

Most of my days begin at 9:15 am when my alarm goes off for class. We begin lecture every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday at 10 am, and even though it doesn’t seem early it feels super early. When we were staying at the Altius hotel we would all convene for continental breakfasts in the lobby. However since we’ve moved into the apartments most of my breakfasts consist of yogurt, granola and some cereal. Since UNIC is only a five-minute walk from the apartments forty-five minutes is plenty of time to prepare for the long day of physics ahead. 

Breakfast at Altius

After breakfast we make the short trek to class. En route to class is everyone’s favorite dog, Cow. Cow lives in an apartment near the university and mostly everyone stops to say hi to her before we get the day started.  

We begin lecture at 10 am and end around 1 pm. We usually get a ten-minute break in between the hours depending on how quickly we’re going through material. Lecture is very similar to lecture at UCLA, except the classroom is more intimate and there are only 30 other students. The low-key setting is really nice since the pressure that comes with asking questions in class is alleviated. The hardest thing for me was getting adjusted to such a long lecture and learning how to stay focused but right now I think I’ve somewhat gotten the hang of it.  

After lecture we have a one-hour lunch break until workshop. Most of us get lunch at the cafeteria right underneath the lecture room but some groups make the journey to the restaurants on our meal vouchers. After lunch we have a two-hour Workshop until 4 pm. Workshop is dedicated to problem solving and asking the professor application or theory related questions. It’s similar to a discussion at UCLA, except it’s led by the professor. During workshop we work on Problem Sets, go through confusing concepts from lecture, or finish up whatever material we didn’t have time to go through earlier in the day. Workshop is nice because it has the one on one elements of a discussion but the feedback is directly from the professor. I’ve learned that stamina is the most important part of these days, it’s hard to be involved with the material after 5 straight hours of class, but paying attention in Workshop is a really integral part of tackling the Problem Sets.  

Insert pic of classroom  

After workshop we’re finally free from classes! Except we’re not. Since each day is dedicated to absorbing new material it’s really easy to get behind, and so after class most people head to the library or Coffeeology, the Kerckhoff of UNIC. The library closes at 6 pm, so only two hours after class ends but is a really ideal place to sprawl out and study. Lecture days usually end with dinner at a meal voucher restaurant, and then finalizing the lab reports due the next day.  

Lab Days  

Tuesday is Lab day and is the most relaxed of our week. Labs take place in the RT building, a little off campus, and so Global Semesters has arranged a bus to take us back and forth. Lab lasts about three hours and is led by a TA and two lab assistants. Each lab consists of doing experiments and projects in small groups to apply the concepts learned in class and develop a better understanding. It’s usually set up so that different groups do different experiments within one lab section, and so the lab assistants really bounce around trying to explain each experiment to everyone. Performing labs are easier when we’ve learned the concepts in class beforehand, but sometimes we have to do labs on material we haven’t touched yet. Initially it’s pretty tricky, but it helps when the professor goes through the material later in class.  

Lab Days and Lecture Days 

Thursday is when our long week concludes and our long weekend begins. It also happens to be the hardest day of the week. We have two hours of lecture in the morning before heading off to lab in the afternoon. Time in between is usually spent eating, cramming in the library, or trying to fit in a quick nap. Even though Thursdays are stressful, we end the day preparing for the long weekend which makes it all worth it.  

Right now we’re prepping for our last midterm next week! See you soon! 

Arisa Dhiensiri studied abroad in Nicosia, Cyprus, in summer 2018: