Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Adjusting To College Life At the Universidad Nacional De Cordoba

When I started attending La Universidad Nacional de Cordoba’s language school, I thought I’d pick the worst college to go to, but I’ve had a week to immerse myself in the college life in Argentina, and I think I may have had a change of heart.
The Language Building at UNC
I’ve enjoyed getting to know my fellow classmates. Since my arrival, I’d been virtually isolated at home. Now, I think I may have made a few potential friends. We’ll see. I’m also glad to get back on a daily routine. Since I haven't had any luck finding a job yet, the very least I can do is go to school. 

Don’t get me wrong. I still think that the English courses should be taught by native English speakers, but at least some of the professors are open to suggestions and corrections when necessary.
The picture on the wall is of Che Guevara - a famous Argentinian resistance fighter
My biggest struggle right now is with the Castilian course. I feel completely lost in that class. The professor is wonderful, but I don’t understand Spanish grammar. I have a terrible time keeping up with the professor. We did a dictation this week. I added an "h" to words that didn’t need them, and I failed to add them in words that needed them. I couldn’t figure out where the accents were supposed to go either. It's these lines on top of letters, similar to an apostrophe that tells the person where the emphasis of the pronunciation goes, so I just added random lines on top of any syllable I thought could use an accent. I also called a female horse a “caballa” instead of “yegua”. I always assumed that the word “yegua” meant a lady of the night. I guess there are two meanings for the word. The official meaning for a female horse is “yegua” according to the professor and the online dictionary.

During the Castilian/Spanish test, I left about 80 percent of the questions blank. I think I would have had a better chance if the test had been multiple choice, but nothing at the university seems to be multiple choice. 
Outdoors lunch area for students. It's extremely well lit at night
Overall, there is still room for improvement at the UNC. For instance, the university could use a career/major advisor department to advise their students on the best way to map out their college curriculum. Unfortunately, I’ve been advised that students have to figure things out on their own at UNC. I’m not sure if this is because the university is free or not, but that kind of sucks.
They could also add native English speakers to their language school, or at the very least, educate their professors better before hiring them. Their attempt to enunciate English words with a British accent is unintelligible, unacceptable and in most instances, laughable. I know it sounds awfully harsh, but it's also the painful truth. 
I know some of the students think I’m full of crap, and I can’t blame them for feeling this way. They don’t have the knowledge, the discipline, or the experience that I have from the States. I can only hope that there is some way that I can influence a change at the university so that it can benefit other students in the future.

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