Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Adjusting To College Life At the Universidad Nacional De Cordoba

When I started attending “La Universidad 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’ve had a bit of an epiphany.

The Language Building at UNC
I’ve enjoyed getting to know my fellow classmates. Until now, I’d been virtually isolated since my arrival in Argentina. 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 can’t land a job, at the very least, I can 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.
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 the 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 suppose to go either, 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” was a profanity in Castilian, meaning whore. 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 a 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 UNC. The university could add 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 it really 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 in a British accent is unintelligible, unacceptable and in most instances, laughable.
The grammar textbooks were designed from pieces taken from legitimate British English books, which were probably plagiarized, despite the claim on the book that they gave credit to the original author. Portions of the material are probably written by the professors at the university as well. I know this because it’s wrong. A British textbook wouldn’t make the mistakes I’ve seen.
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, discipline or 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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