Written by Maja Kušćer
When deciding to go study abroad, you have to have in mind that every country has different education systems.
Before coming to France, I was aware of some similarities and differences between the French high education and the Croatian one. However, some practices surprised me.
- Different grading systems
Both Croatia and France use the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) that helps students study in other countries.
However, the grading system in Croatia doesn’t look like the French one at all: the grading scale ranges from 1 (insufficient) to 5 (excellent). To pass an exam, you have to obtain a 2 (sufficient).
The French grading scale is larger, from 0 – 9 (insufficient), to 16 – 20 (excellent). However, the students don’t usually receive a 20. On top of that, the grades over 14 are rarely given, and, usually, the best students in the class have scores over 12.
In Croatia, a 5 is very often given to the students who show that they learned the curriculum the most; that’s why the best students are those who receive mainly 4 and 5.
|Croatian grading scale||French grading scale|
|4||Very good||14-16||Very good|
- Attitude towards (international) students
Having passed one year studying in France I experienced many situations dealing with the faculty staff, both good and bad.
France is a very multicultural country, so it has more experience in dealing with international students than Croatia.
Even though the Master’s in France was in English, many professors didn’t have a good grasp of English, and explained some materia in French. Since I speak French, I could understand them, but most of the international students didn’t speak it.
Moreover, I didn’t like that we had to communicate with other faculty staff exclusively in French. The professors were distant, and we had to wait 2 months for the results of our exams.
In Croatia, the lectures are given by both professors and assistants, who also correct exams, and, because they have a bit more time, the students can always come to see how they did and why were they graded the way they did. The results are given, usually, the next day, or in a maximum of 1 – 2 weeks.
Also, the Croatians always appreciate when someone comes to their country. If the classes are held in English, the professors never speak Croatian, even with Croatian students. Still, most of the official websites are in Croatian, so you have to rely on the kindness of strangers to help you out.
What I don’t like the most in Croatia is that the higher education is more theory-orientated, than practice-orientated.
For instance, the studies of Economics don’t include an obligatory internship, while, in France, the internships are very important and they are part of the curriculum.
Doing an internship prepares students for their future career, as they have the opportunity to try different types of jobs and see what they want to do in the future.